What is a Channel Crossing?
As of August 2017, Ocean Dimensions are now diving & snorkelling in the Unesco Biosphere Reserve in the Baa Atoll at Kihaa Maldives – the closest resort to Hanifaru Bay. We hope to see you there!
If you have dived in the Maldives you must have heard about channel diving but what exactly is a channel crossing? The Atoll formation in the Maldives is rather unique and one of the few places in the world were channel diving is possible. A channel is an opening into the Atoll. This opening allows water to flow in and out of the Atoll on high and low tides. Depending on how big this opening is, it will have an influence on the strength of the current. If a lot of water has to go through a small channel the current will be strong, if the channel is wider the current will be less. The current also brings a lot of nutrients which is food for the population. More food results in a higher population. This population varies and starts with small fish and ends with the big pelagics which we all would love to see! With some channels the outer reef leads to a corner and then continues like an alley way into the Atoll. You start your dive somewhere along the outer reef, drift towards the corner, hang around the corner for a while and then drift into the alley way. An exciting drift dive. With other channels the outer reef will also lead to a corner but then does a u-turn which means once you drift into the channel there will only be sandy bottom no more reef. In this case you have to do a channel crossing! You start at the outer reef, get to the corner and here starts the tricky bit, you usually dive cross current along the channel edge towards the other corner of the channel! If you manage to stay just slightly in front of the channel edge you will encounter the least resistance. Going along the channel edge will be most rewarding in regards to what you can see – schools of jacks, barracudas and eagle rays, big napoleons and groupers, stingrays and different kinds of sharks! It can be challenging and you have to learn a few tricks first – stay close to your buddy, stick with your guide who knows the conditions, don’t use split fins, be fit, have a low air consumption, carry a surface marker buoy with you – are just a few. In our detailed dive briefings we will explain the conditions of the day and the procedures. In the Laamu Atoll we have 5 channels were we can do this kind of a crossing. Will you join us on your next visit?