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:
Among my favorite dive sites: Otdima. It is a high coral bottom, in the middle of the Dampier Strait.
There's always a current of insanity on this site. It's better to be accompanied by a guide who knows the area well, to get into the water at the right place and not miss the spot that all underwater photographers love here: the potato with gaterins.
You can see it on the photos that I manage to do as well as I can on approach: the fish, the particles, my bubbles... all that flies in all directions, carried away by this permanent gust of underwater "wind".
The bench of gaterini
There are no more photogenic than the gaterini, with their livery bright yellow and their taste for the life in group. They gather in a tight bench facing the current.
To shoot them is a real challenge. The current keeps pushing me towards them. Tucked behind a small pile of coral on the sand, I cling as I can with one hand to my stick, that iron rod that I always have with me, and that I plant in the dead sand or coral, when I need a support. With the other hand, I try to maintain the large box of my 7D.
Sometimes, the current throws me straight into the bench, causing the fish to flee in all directions.
I then have to work hard to get back to where I was, in front of the coral potato. The girls, they are not moved by my sudden flight. They immediately reform the bench, and resume the pose.
After a while, you have to resign yourself to leaving the gaterini and their coral potato, to explore the rest of the site ...
Let's go for a long, 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 tables of coral pass under our palms. Here and there, other potatoes greet gorgonians, crinoids and thousands of glass fish.
The profusion of fish always amazes me so much. Otdima is really splendid and belongs to these sites, in Raja Ampat, where we do not know where to turn, so there is life everywhere. It's just spectacular, amazing. I widen my eyes behind my mask, subjugated.
No really, even the sites of Alor, very beautiful, where I dived a few days earlier, during this new journey in Indonesia, do not support the comparison. Raja Ampat outclasses, by its richness, its diversity, all the dive sites that I know, in Asia or elsewhere ... It is even better than Komodo, better than Sipadan.
To admire the show, and not drift too far, we agree a few stops. It also allows me to do some pictures.
A sign from one of us is enough. Each one then takes out his hook and binds himself to a piece of dead coral. We float like little flags hanging on our ropes.
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 Bubbles Underwater & Beyond… 😉