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Strong currents in Palau

Discussion in 'The Pacific Islands' started by chris1801, Jan 27, 2008.

  1. Tomeck

    Tomeck Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Switzerland
    I dove in Palau and I didn't have a problem with current, because the dive shop knew very good tides schedule to avoid strong currents.
  2. Travelnsj

    Travelnsj Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Temecula CA
    The first time I went Diving in Palau I had 50 dives under my belt and they were all in Cold no Current waters and I was not a good diver. We went to the New Drop off (like the Blue corner), pulled up into the surf....I immediately started to get seasick, I could not even finish the briefing I had to jump in....I did so....the current was ripping.....made it up to the buoy line and then my weight belt fell off I'm holding on to the line at about 30' flying like a flag...Looked out and saw about 20 big Grey reef sharks in the Blue and everything else swimming around me....WOW....finally the DM showed up retrieved my weight belt...had only about a 22 minute dive on a 100 tank....22 minute dive, seasick, lost my weight belt.....I would do it all over again without a second thought...Go to Palau.
  3. Cacia

    Cacia Divemaster

    JB had 10 dives

    Mike V told me to take him anyway

    I was worried, he did okay just because he does not worry, is in good shape, and follows directions flawlessly. I had been five times and of course, thought I knew everything.

    was it smart? dunno

    I told him what to do and he pretty much did it. Except for getting too low on air and hanging on my camera. He did a lot of diving on my long hose. (At least we didn't inflict ourselves on other buddies) I did not take him to the Temple of Doom or Chandelier Cave, however. In fact, I kept that hush.
  4. liberato

    liberato Solo Diver

    I think 100 dives would indicate adequate experience to try Palau. As others have mentioned there is some variability in the currents there but the only way to get experience is to do it. It is one of the classic must dive locations and the sooner you go the better (from a reef life expectancy standpoint). I dived Palau with approximately the same number of dives as you and did not feel in over my head at all save for Peleliu which can be so overwhelming that all one can do is abort the dive. It was all I could do to hold on to the reef hook and watch my air consumption skyrocket. I actually would have enjoyed letting loose and going on a warp speed drift dive with the boat following but that would have had to have been coordinated before hand with the whole group else people would be spread out miles apart. The Aggressor I was on even attached transponders to everyone. I say go!
  5. liberato

    liberato Solo Diver

    Inflight refuelling? The ultimate buddy!
  6. Geoff_H

    Geoff_H Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Tokyo
    I went to Palau with a group last year - everyone coped fine... the least experienced diver had 40 dives and hadn't been in the water for 2 years. By the end of the week she has 65 dives and a huge grin on her face.

    With 100 dives, I would tell the OP to jump in and enjoy it. The guides will help anyone inexperienced in current, they cope with this every single day.
  7. fernfraz

    fernfraz Guest

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Sydney Australia
    hey Chris,

    I am actually from Palau. Worked at the Dive Shop in Palau (Sams Tours), on weekends & school holidays for 6+ years now. Palau will be fine for you! Your first dive will be a check-out dive. When you go with a group, it isn't more than 8 divers more guide. And no more than 10 divers per boat! If your dive guide thinks you need more assistance, then you will get it. I have had MANY MANY beginner/young/inexperienced divers on dives before... and they are in good hands. You won't be taken to a place where you won't be comfortable.

    There is an area in Palau w/ fast currents, which is Peleliu. If you aren't comfortable with high adrenaline dives, then don't go there. There are still A LOT of dive sites in palau for beginner/intermediate divers. I, personally am a lazy diver, because I have done almost all of my dives in Palau... lazy because you drop down and drift... no kicking... just drift... and then you come up... take off your gear... and it's done! Nothing too advanced about it!

    The underwater diversity is AMAZING!! It's absolutely worth!

    Do let me know if you have any specific questions. Or need any recommendations!


    Fern :eek:)
  8. marpacifica

    marpacifica Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Once upon a time in Micronesia, but now bubbling i
    I dived Palau several times when I lived in the area, and the current can change at any minute at any dive site and may even be different where your buddy is. The best thing I learned there is to expect and know how to respond to the danger situations that I have seen EVERY trip (though not every dive):

    1) regulator ripped from your mouth in a strong current because you turned your head to look at something.
    What you can do: before your dive, or better yet take a refresher course, know how and practice retrieving your regulator by finding where the hose attaches to the 1st stage then snaking down the hose. The "extended arm backstroke" retrieval method just won't work properly when the hose is behind and possibly flying above you. Also practice using your octupus if that's closer/easier.

    2) down current coming over the shelf of the reef and pushing you down 40-100 feet in a few seconds.
    What you can do: if you're in a blue water safety stop, the quickest way to know this is happening is the building pressure in your ears. Always watch your depth gauge/computer when doing the safety stop. I've had down currents happen to me twice during safety stops and flip me upside down -- try to orient yourself toward the surface, and kick so you rise safely -- your bubbles may be going down so that's not a good reference to watch. If kicking doesn't work, you may have to inflate your BC, BUT AS A LAST RESORT AND BE READY TO DUMP AIR AS SOON AS YOUR DEPTH GAUGE SHOWS THAT YOU'RE RISING MORE THAN A FOOT A SECOND. If the down current hits you when you're near the reef, get as close to the reef as possible and hang on if you can't stop going down even with fin kicks. I've seen divers having to crawl up the reef to get around the current. Not advisable to touch the reef usually, but if your safety/life is at stake, unusual circumstances require unusual responses.

    3) mask filling up or ripped from your head in strong current.
    Practice your mask clearing and replacement drills, and the best is to avoid looking sideways in a head-on current. Face the current when clearing and replacing your mask, or you may have to repeat what you just did.

    4) difficulty detaching from the line of your reef hook because you clipped or securely fastened it to your BC.
    It's pretty hard to unclip your reef hook line in a ripping Peleliu current, so try not to clip/tie/fasten it to your BC in the first place. Shops sell reef hooks with handles that look like a small water skiing rope handle. If you ever need to unhook in an emergency, just let go of the handle. If you are tied in to your reef hook and can't get unstuck, keep your dive knife handy and ready to cut.

    That said, you may get pleasant conditions on 95% of your dives in Palau. Know your equipment and how to find things with your eyes closed, and that will help you keep your calm so that you can THINK and respond if a situation does occur. I think Sam's Tours does a Blue Corner dive specialty certification, which will teach you how to use the reef hook, inflate/deflate BC so that you "soar" above the reef (actually quite fun) and other techniques for diving that site.

    Your mileage may vary. Find a good instructor in Palau to dive with. But it sounds like you have enough experience to at least try Palau.
  9. dmorus

    dmorus Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Near Cleveland, Ohio
    That was the best advise I have seen! Nothing is predictable. Knowledge is the key!!
    Thanks fort he tips.
  10. chris1801

    chris1801 Garibaldi

    Thanks a lot, again, for your comments and advice. I think a refresher course is actually a very good idea to get some practice on how to deal with 'danger situations', which I am not too used to.

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