Indonesia: Alor + Raja Ampat - July 2012
Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text:
Otdima is a beautiful dive site, teeming with life, swept by a current of madness. One of my favorites in Raja Ampat, Indonesia.
The Strait of Dampier
Indonesia, July 2012. I am from return to Raja Ampatin West Papua. I have only one desire, to return to explore the extraordinary underwater world that I had discovered during my first stay here, in March 2012.
Among my favorite dive sites: Otdima. It is a high coral bottom, in the middle of the Dampier Strait.
There is always a crazy current on this site. It is better to be accompanied by a guide who knows the area well, in order to get into the water at the right place and not to miss the spot that all underwater photographers love, here: the "patate aux gaterins".
We can see it well on the pictures that I managed to take while approaching: fishes, particles, my bubbles... all that flies in all directions, carried away by this permanent gust of underwater "wind".
The bench of gaterini
There is no more photogenic than the gaterins, with their bright yellow livery and their taste for group life. They gather in a tight school, facing the current.
Shooting their portrait is a real challenge. The current keeps pushing me towards them. Huddled behind a small pile of coral on the sand, I hold on as best I can with one hand to my stickI always carry this iron rod with me, and I stick it in the sand or in dead coral when I need support. With the other hand, I try to hold the bulky case of my 7D.
Sometimes, the current throws me straight into the bench, causing the fish to flee in all directions.
I then had to paddle hard to get back to where I was, in front of the coral potato. The gaterins, on the other hand, are not moved by my sudden flight. They immediately formed the school again, and resumed the pose.
After a while, we have to resign ourselves to leave the gaterins and their coral potato, to explore the rest of the site...
Let's go for a long and crazy drift!
We run at full speed, in the middle of schools of small fish that wriggle cheerfully in the current.
Fortunately, we are a small team - only three divers. We make sure we do not lose sight of each other and stay close to each other, in the current that carries us away.
Huge coral tables pass under our fins. Here and there, other sponges welcome gorgonians, crinoids and thousands of glass fish.
The profusion of fish always amazes me. Otdima is really splendid and is one of those sites, in Raja Ampat, where you don't know where to look, because there is so much life everywhere. It is just spectacular, hallucinating. I open my eyes behind my mask, subjugated.
No really, even the sites of AlorRaja Ampat, where I dived a few days earlier, during this new Indonesian trip, does not compare. Raja Ampat outclasses, by its richness and diversity, all the dive sites I know, in Asia or elsewhere... It is even better than Komodo, better than Sipadan.
To admire the spectacle, and not to drift too far, we allow ourselves some halts. That also allows me to make some pictures.
A sign from one of us is enough. Each of us then takes out his hook and ties himself to a piece of dead coral. We float like little flags, hanging on our lines.
Want to know more about this trip? About diving in Indonesia? About Raja Ampat? I'm compiling below some links to articles already published on Small Bubbles of Elsewhere… 😉
All the posts published about this trip in Indonesia, mixing Alor and Raja Ampat, are here:
→ Alor + Raja Ampat - Indonesia - July 2012
All the posts about only Raja Ampat, during this July 2012 trip, are here (more articles coming soon):
→ Raja Ampat - Indonesia - July 2012
The articles about my very first stay at Raja Ampat, in March 2012, are here:
→ Raja Ampat - Indonesia - March 2012
If you are only interested in diving in Raja Ampat, all the posts are here:
→ All my dives in Raja Ampat
Finally, all the articles about my dives in Indonesia (Bali, Borneo, Pulau Weh, Sulawesi, Flores and Komodo, Raja Ampat...) are gathered at the end of this link:
→ All my dives in Indonesia