The Washing Machine Dive Site

Everyone claims to have one, but none compare to
the Washing Machine in the Exuma Cays.

You can find dive sites around the world that are referred to as a washing machine due to fast or swirling currents. Tubbataha and Komodo both offer their own version, but none compare to the Washing Machine dive site in the Exuma Cays, Bahamas.

Divers look forward to the Washing Machine all week. When the day finally comes you’re enthralled following your briefing. You join the row of divers waiting to enter the water like paratroopers ready to launch out of a plane. The entry deck is a mere six feet from the turbid ocean surface, frothing in the boat’s wake, and the dive master counts down from ten. The hair rises on the back of your neck. You’ve anticipated this drift dive, of course, but the thrill still enwraps you. She yells “dive, dive, dive,” and you tumble in. A negative entry off the vessel will plunge into a brisk underwater current, rolling down a sandy dip and veering left to enter what the divemaster calls “the Washing Machine,” an oceanic swirl that turns divers head over heels like laundry in a coin-op washer for hundreds of yards.

After a minute or two the somersault unwinds, releasing you above a large patch reef and a gallery of sea turtles and nurse sharks nestled on the ocean floor. It’s not every day that roles reverse and a dive turns spectacle for the sea life below. You glide over the soft coral and your aquatic audience like dancers at a curtain call, capping a trip you won’t soon forget.

The Washing Machine dive can be enjoyed aboard any one of our Bahamas dive liveaboards including Blackbeard’s Cruises, Aqua Cat or the Cat Ppalu. After experiencing this site divers can join us in Indonesia or the Philippines to compare “spin-cycles”.

Sea Turtle after the Washing Machine in the Exuma Cays, Bahamas

Within Komodo National Park you will find a dive site aptly name Shotgun, aka the Cauldron. Where this site offers a gentler tumble it makes up for it with the swiftness of the drift. The dive offers a multi-experience drift from “The Shotgun” through the channel between Gili Lawa Laut and Gili Lawa Darat and the Cauldron, a slower drift through a basin that is home to massive Gorgonian sea fans, barrel sponges and megafauna including whitetip reef sharks and manta rays.

The Philippines offers a multitude of Washing Machine style dives in Tubbataha, Apo Reef and Verde Island. These dives are not for the greenhorns but should only be experienced by those who have not only completed their advanced certification but also their drift and buoyancy control specialties. One of the most famous Washing Machine dives in the Philippines is located at the tip of the North Atoll in Tubbataha. This site offers some of the best visibility and chances for big creatures like hammerheads, schools of grey reef sharks and manta rays. But divers beware as it is not uncommon to experience up/down currents that can propel you toward the surface if you aren’t monitoring your gauges and buoyancy.

Drift diving and Washing Machine dives are a blast and often offer spectacular fish life as a result of the nutrient rich water moving through. Join one of our dive liveaboards to experience these spectacular sites.

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