Sweetlips. Otdima, Raja Ampat. Indonesia, July 2012.
Gaterins at the Otdima site. Raja Ampat, Indonesia, July 2012.

Unforgettable dives in Otdima

  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 Ampat, in West Papua. I have only one desire, go back to explore the extraordinary underwater world I 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'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.

Sweetlips. Otdima, Raja Ampat. Indonesia, July 2012.
My favorite picture of the gaterins in Otdima! (Raja Ampat. Indonesia, July 2012.)

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.

Sweetlips. Otdima, Raja Ampat. Indonesia, July 2012.

Sweetlips. Otdima, Raja Ampat. Indonesia, July 2012.

Sweetlips. Otdima, Raja Ampat. Indonesia, July 2012.

Sweetlips. Otdima, Raja Ampat. Indonesia, July 2012.

Drift diving

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!

Otdima, Raja Ampat. Indonesia, July 2012.

Otdima, Raja Ampat. Indonesia, July 2012.

Otdima, Raja Ampat. Indonesia, July 2012.

Otdima, Raja Ampat. Indonesia, July 2012.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.

Glass fish. Otdima, Raja Ampat. Indonesia, July 2012.

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.

Otdima, Raja Ampat. Indonesia, July 2012.

Otdima... Unforgettable!


Some links

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… 😉

All the posts published about this trip in Indonesia, mixing Alor and Raja Ampat, are here:
→ Alor + Raja Ampat - Indonesia - July 2012

Travel Indonesia: Alor and Raja Ampat - July 2012

All the posts concerning only Raja Ampat, on 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 it's only diving at Raja Ampat that interests you, 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

  Indonesia: Alor + Raja Ampat - July 2012

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  1. Bright, colorful, aerial, no, underwater, Otdima and its fish is fascinating! Tying to the coral, with a rope, like a peaceful pirate of the underwater world, is not lacking in charm, the last photo is striking! Bravo! 😉

    1. @Ysbilia: yes, the hook is an essential accessory, Raja Ampat, to better enjoy some sites. Delighted that this restitution in photos pleases you ...
      For the last picture, imagine me floating in the same position as Julia, held by my rope, but maneuvering in addition my big box to take the picture... Acrobatic!!! 😀

  2. Waooh! For diving 5 times (I think) in the Strait of Dampier, I have no memory of a site called Otdima. But sometimes the names vary according to the clubs. Chicken, Sardine, Melissa Garden ... are spots that, to my knowledge, are "listed" and have the same name from one club to another. I remember diving on "Blue Magic" (and it was really magical) and 10 days later with another provider, the name had changed. But Otdima ... .. never heard that name. We'll have to go back, and if there was need for excuse, here's a good! Hum, the dives in Raja Ampat ... the best. But shhh ... do not say it too much!

    1. @IsaM: Otdima is a long reef in the middle of the strait, not far from where you were staying, I think... 😉

      Not easy to spot as a site, when the sea is a little agitated, because you have to be able to distinguish a little background to know where to drop divers. Perhaps this is a "well-known" site immersed by the people of Papua Diving? In any case, it's the kind of spot that does not immerse in small committee I think ... It seems unimaginable or quite complicated, to drop there, at the same time, a large group of divers.

      With Papua Diving, I have also dipped several times on Cape Kri, not far from the Sorido Bay Resort, where there is another spot to gaterini, but a little deeper, in the 38-40 meters: there, while down, at the foot of the coral slope, there is a giant bench, a huge yellow ball of fish, really spectacular in their number, as I had never seen (photos to come).

      I don't know how many dives I total in the Dampier Strait, with the two stays I made there, but not far from 40 or so, I think. Among the famous spots in this region of Raja Ampat, Blue Magic and Sardines are my two other favorite sites... 🙂

      But shh ...

  3. I can imagine how hard it must have been for you to photograph these gaterins... you can literally "see" that there was plenty of ,ouvement in the water 😉 It's gorgeous!

  4. It's beautiful, really, subjugated !!! O. I'm not very dive, me it's more tunes, but waah, frankly, at sea there is more to discover and to be amazed how nature is made. I love, thank you for sharing.