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The Joy of Drift Dives

Drift Dives in the Bahamas - Dive liveaboard Aqua Cat picking up divers after doing the drift dive Washing Machine in the Exumas.

Who Doesn’t Love Drift Dives? We Know We Do!

There are slow drifts, swift drifts, and all kinds of drifts in between. Some of the most memorable dives I’ve ever done were rapidly moving drift dives where I felt like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz experiencing the tornado scene.

How to Get the Most Out of Drift Dives

Our tip for enjoying your drift dives the most is to listen to your dive briefing. The dive professional giving the briefing is intimately familiar with the dive, so they speak from experience and will give you the best information to enjoy the dive.

The briefing will detail procedures for entry, timing (we’ll pick you up in 30 minutes), and weight suggestions, if any. In most cases, you’ll want to be able to get to the correct depth quickly without going astray from the group.

Negative entries are often important to get below the strong surface currents down to the useful drift that will control your dive. Adding some extra weight to sink quickly, and then adding a little air to your BCD to stay buoyant once you’re down there is often the best way to handle your entry.

Imagine being underweighted and drifting away on the surface, which may be flowing at a different rate than at depth. It makes for a very unfulfilling dive, and you may have to be picked up before you even start.

Once you’re briefed and geared up, make sure your buddy is comfortable and ready. Then jump in and go with the flow. These can be high energy, adrenaline-pumping, fun, fluid, and exciting dives. Or they can be slowly flowing dives where you cover a lot of reef and take everything in while exerting little to no energy. It’s like taking a stroll through an underwater park.

divers aboard Blackbeard's Bahamas liveaboard

No fighting currents, no swimming back to where you started, and little navigation guidance is needed. It’s pretty relaxing to know that, instead of having to navigate and swim back to the boat, you can just enjoy the dive and get picked up where the current takes you.

Where to Try Drift Diving

Most of the descents conducted on our Indonesia and Philippines itineraries are drift dives, so you’ll get lots of practice in destinations with phenomenal diving. While some currents can be unpredictable and inconvenient, drift dives actually use the current as an advantage.

Kick less and see more? Yeah, it’s pretty cool.

There are even a few select sites on the Bahamas trips where you’ll get to try drift dives – one in particular, called the Washing Machine is one of the most memorable dives on our guest surveys – right up there with the shark dive.

The Washing Machine in the Bahamas is a wild ride, spinning and somersaulting around for a minute or two gets the blood pumping! After the “spin cycle,” you enjoy a leisurely drift across a scattered coral reef. It’s the perfect way to end such an exciting dive! This dive can only be done on a dive liveaboard.

Watching for rays and sharks while gliding effortlessly along the reef is a nice change of pace from the usual kicking and swimming. That’s why the Washing Machine is one of the most famous dive sites in the Bahamas!

Not sure if you are ready to do a drift or want to get more comfortable? Why not take a drift diver specialty course or your advanced open water course either with your local dive shop or on your next trip?

Drift diving is one of the best ways to explore the ocean, so mark it on your diving bucket list to try out a few good drift sites on your next dive trip!