What dive conditions can we prepare ourselves to when scuba diving
Dive conditions make a huge difference on the total dive experience. There are some basic factors we shouldn’t ignore and should check before scuba diving that can improve your experience, comfort and safety and make you dive memorable.
Most dive conditions such as tides, water temperature, and currents predictable and can make a factor on your decision on choosing a dive destination even before getting there.
1. Water temperature, surrounding temperature.
Water temperature may vary significantly between seasons, and may require you to prepare different equipment for your dive, such as a different exposure suit. Water temperature may also influence the marine behavior and abundance which we’ll go through in a few moments.
Surrounding Temperature accounts for what you’ll feel like after the dive, when all wet and probably cold.
Match the exposure suit to the water temperature with this simple exposure suit guide here
2. Water visibility
Some places vary seasonally in visibility, some change during the day due to water movement , clouds, and sun angle. Consult the local dive center about the best season for diving, and about the best time to dive at the site.
Water currents are one of the oceans way of distributing its wealth, as it delivers nutrition and disposes of waist. Therefore, places that have strong currents may also be characterized by an abundance of marine life. Currents are strongly affected by the tides, and are mostly easily predictable though local tidal charts.
Tides and the difference between them influence the oceans currents. Tides are affected primarily by the moon. Full moon nights are normally characterized by high seas and strong water movement due to the difference between high and low tide. During black moon time, you’ll normally find smaller tides differentials, less water currents and water movement and generally better dive conditions.
5. Waves, surge.
Two major factors affect these two: water movement, such as currents, and wind. The stronger and constant the wind is, and as it blows over a bigger body of water, the bigger the waves are.
Currents, tides and wind are all pretty predictable, and although the sea may always surprise you, you should know what to expect before scuba diving.
6. Sun angle.
Sun angle is an important factor often ignored when preparing for the dive. It’s very important when planning on snapping some underwater shots, and even more important when wall diving, or cavern diving, where sun angle can make a difference on the whole experience. For example, take the Blue hole in Dahab, a magnificent wall dive. Facing the wall you’re looking west. Early afternoon hours are still very bright and warm on land, but diving at the wall you’ll notice it turns dark already and visibility deteriorates.
7. Seasonal marine distribution change
Many marine animals don’t spend whole their lives at a specific spot. It’s always important to know what to expect, and when to come dive to see this creatures. For example, imagine you missed Utila’s seasonal whale shark visit, Costa Rica’s Sea turtles as the come to lay their eggs, or South Africa’s spectacular Sardine Run, simply for not doing your homework.
Check out our greatest seasonal marine phenomenons here
8. Seasonal marine creatures’ behavior changes
– as mentioned earlier, the ocean is a dynamic environment, constantly changing and forcing behavioral changes on the creatures too. You can find out when key creatures are mating, that may lead to more predators. Some marine creatures are more aggressive when mating, for example the Trigger fish, notorious for his bad temper when nesting and should be aware off.
9. Water salinity.
Water salinity affects your buoyancy and should be considered when estimating the right amount of weights for scuba diving.