Snorkeling With Current
reflection of coral reef on the surface

There’s a common misconception that snorkeling with current is dangerous, should be feared, and avoided. For those of you that feel this way, I want to share a few things that will hopefully help you look at the oceans current in a new, more positive light. 

1.  Current is essential to marine life and coral

colorful soft coral colony

Currents move around the oceans nutrients delivering them to the different reefs. Indonesia for example, has a vast network of currents and in many ways the epicenter for marine biodiversity. Compare that with the Caribbean, which has much more mild currents and a fraction of the marine life. It’s said that one reef could have more species of coral and fish than the entire Caribbean ocean. dad

2. Current makes for some fantastic drifts

Certain sites work really well with the current. Sites with long fringing reefs for example can snorkeled as a drift where we jump in the up current side of the reef and let the current do all the work of moving us over the reef. All we need to do is float and enjoy the relaxing ride. 

3. Current opens up the coral polyps and bring in the fish

If you were to snorkel a site when the current is slack, the time between the two tide cycles when the current is not doing any thing, you’ll notice a huge different in marine life and the reef when compared to the same reef when the current is running. As we learned earlier the current pushes the oceans nutrients around, and when the current starts to rise or fall all the coral polyps will open up to feed on the passing particles, making this all the corals look a lot more vibrant and alive. Similarly, the fish will also be a lot more present as they too use the current as their food delivery service and you’ll find them facing into the current snapping up all the bits of food passing by. 

large school of fish in front of orange sea fan

Current should still very much be respected in it’s power, however if you approach current the same way you would a ski slope, with a bit of caution and acknowledging the conditions, there isn’t much to worry about really. There are certainly times when the current is too strong to snorkel certain sites, in which case you might want to move to a more protected site like a bay or a drift. Basically, just because a location is known to have stronger currents doesn’t mean the snorkel sessions are going to be like a wild ride down a river, very much the opposite actually. On all of our guide led snorkeling safaris we pay extra attention to the current and with the local knowledge of the resorts we always make sure to jump in certain sites so the current is always working in our favor. 

About Author

Alex Lindbloom
Alex is a Snorkel Venture and Dive Safari Asia guide as well as the video and photo pros for both companies. Alex is also a field editor for a popular underwater photography magazine. Prior to joining Snorkel Venture in 2018 Alex lived and worked all over the world working as an underwater cameraman, with five of those years living/working on a yacht in Indonesia. Alex's images and videos have garnered many international awards such as Underwater Photographer of the Year and can be seen on NatGeo, Discovery Channel, the UN Building, and various magazines.