Getting to Palau and gearing up for the long-awaited diving experience of a lifetime is best done with the right equipment but there is one piece of scuba diving equipment, you might be familiar with, and therefore we would like to introduce it here: The Reef hook!
In this article we will explain more about:
- What a reef hook is and how to use it [Infographic)
- Where can you buy or rent a Reef hook
- Why should you use a reef hook
What is a Reef hook?
A reef hook is usually just that: a strong hook about 10cm in length, made of stainless steel, attached to a webbing line that is generally around 2m long and ends in a D-Ring or safety clip for secure attachment to your BCD. Fancy models come with their storage pouch and clip to be clipped to your BCD. If it does not come with a bag, it is easily stored in the pocket of your BCD.
You use the reef hook to hook yourself into the reef to stay in one place in the current. Divers are making their way to Palau for the first time often have not heard about a reef hook, although it can proof to be a very handy gadget to have when scuba diving in the strong currents of Palau, and in these parts, the reef hook is considered an essential piece of gear!
How to use a Reef hook?
The infographic below perfectly illustrates how to use the reef hook. Just find a suitable spot in the reef, which should be rubble or dead reef. Never hook into live reef or corals and please avoid damaging the reef, especially since avoiding to touch the reef is why you are using the hook in the first place!
Once hooked in, inflate your BCD until you are in a perfect position. Do not forget to deflate your BCD before unhooking, though, because otherwise, you will launch yourself to the surface.
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Where can you buy or rent Reef hook?
Most operators have reef hooks for rent or purchase in Palau, and you might want to enquire with your dive center about availability and prices. If you prefer to buy your reef hook before your departure, it is probably the easiest to check out your local dive shop or buy it online.
I prefer to have a proper look and feel of everything I buy, so my choice is always the local store. When you choose to purchase a reef hook, make sure everything looks sturdy and well attached. Check if the hook fits comfortably into your BCD pocket or if it comes with a pouch, is easy to take out and store away again. It is never a good idea to fumble with two meters of rope in a strong current trying to store a stubborn reef hook can take quite a bit of fun out of your dive.
Why should you use a reef hook when diving In Palau?
“But Why?”, You ask? Here are the top 5 reasons to go ahead and use that reef hook!
1. Use a Reef Hook and Save your air
Some of the dive sites in Palau are known for their strong currents. Dive sites like Blue Corner, Peleliu Corner, Ulong Channel and New Drop Off don’t disappoint when it comes to underwater action. And the underwater action thrives when the currents are strong. Hooking in with the reef hook allows divers to remain stationary and expend energy on being wowed and not on struggling to stay in place.
2. Using a Reef hook helps protect the coral reef
As compared to trying to hold onto the corals or potentially kicking the reef by trying to stay close to the reef and out of the current, proper utilization of a reef hook can minimize the impact on the corals.
At dive sites like Blue Corner divers are immediately fascinated by the sheer amount of fish, especially sharks, around them and want to hang out on the plateau amidst the action.
You can try to stay close to the reef, hoping your gear doesn’t take out a few coral heads or you can deploy your pinpoint reef hook on a dead piece of coral and inflate your BCD to remain suspended above the coral and stay and play! It doesn’t matter how advanced you are, at dive sites like Blue Corner, the best way to view the action without expending too much energy trying not to hurt the reef is to use the reef hook.
3. Shoot Better U/W photos using a reef hook
You can either try to snap a few pictures in the 30 seconds it takes to drift past the action, or you can stay put, have both hands free and snap photos to your heart’s content. With the reef, hook deployed you can use both hands to snap away in hopes of that award-winning shot of all the sharks and schools of fish gliding by in the currents.
4. Save the wear and tear on your gear
Split fins, jet fins or even free diving fins are no matches for some of the strong currents found at Blue Corner and Peleliu Corner. Kicking to get back to the edge of the plateau to get a better view means staying close to the reef and dodging all the fish making the reef their home.
Divers are apt to get up close and personal with the reef in the process, possibly grabbing onto the reef, snagging their wetsuit or bumping their lights against the reef. Hooking in as you drift past is the easiest way to hang out and spare your gear from the trauma the reef can inflict on it.
5. Stay with the group
Being that diver who makes the group abort the dive because they’re expending all their energy (and air!) trying to make it back to the action amongst the current is no fun. Getting separated from the group and surfacing alone and without a surface marker buoy or partner with the potential for 20 other boats to sort through to find your operator is no fun at all.
It is best to stay together as a group, hook in together and unhook and glide safely to the safety stop all as a unit. With all the boats cruising overhead and potentially unpredictable and strong currents, everyone deploying their reef hook at the same time helps the group stay together and stay safe.
Final Word of Wisdom:
Overall, the reef hook ensures your safety, the reef’s safety and simply helps you save on air and maximize your focus on all the potential action. It helps you to effortlessly get the most out of the dives you came to do in Palau!
BTW: Here at Palau Dive Adventures we have reef hooks available onboard for our guests.
Get hooked on scuba diving Palau!
Please feel free to contact us directly if you would have any questions. We love to hear from you.