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Drift Diving - a Rollercoaster Ride Underwater
Juha - 6/28/2013 1:29 PM
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Speed. It has to be one of the most typical ways adrenaline junkies get their thrills, and really get their juices pumping. It could be motor racing on a track, flying a plane, or driving a speed boat, or it could be base jumping or hang gliding. What speed is not usually associated with, is scuba diving.

Scuba diving is a slow-paced, relaxing activity where you have plenty of time to take in the underwater scenery and enjoy the weightlessness of your body as you calmly glide along, mentally listening to whatever music it is that Buddha would listen to on his quieter moments. And that’s good. That’s how it’s supposed to be. But theres’ also another way to dive...

A few years back, I was completing my advanced open water diver-course. One of the specialty dives that were part of the training was drift diver. The dive centre had found a fast-flowing river where we would complete the dives. The spot was just downstream from some rapids, so the flow at the location was really very swift.

After the normal buddy checks, we went in from a small pier, dived down to the bottom of the river, and made our way to the middle of the river, where the current was the strongest. When we were all ready (hanging on to anything on the bottom we could, so we wouldn’t drift away with the current), the dive master gave the signal, and we let go and headed downstream. The current in the river was really quite strong, so we got a fast ride, just flying a few hundred yards down the river with the rapid drift.

The dive spot was well chosen. The water was clear (for a running river) and there were no large rocks or other dangerous obstacles to watch out for (I did see a couple of rusty bicycles on the bottom), so we were able to enjoy the speed of the ride without worrying too much about hitting something that could be harder than our heads.

There was an area of smooth water along the river bank behind the pier, so it was a little bit less of a struggle to swim back upstream to have another go at the underwater rollercoaster ride.

This rollercoaster drift dive was one of the most exciting dives I’ve done, not because of spectacular sights, or colourful corals, or big, dangerous fish. No, what made this dive amazing, was the sheer speed at which we flew weightlessly down the river. The drift dive was definately an adrenaline rush I won’t soon forget.

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