Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic Google translation from a post originally written in French. My apologies for the weird sentences and the funny mistakes that could have been generated during the process. If you can read French, the original and correct version can be found here:
I love taking photos underwater. But kicking with my fins, far less. I realized this while diving in Alor, Indonesia.
More than a month has already passed since my stay at Alor, in July 2012. A faraway journey to the borders of Indonesia, dedicated to what I love most: diving and taking pictures underwater.
Since my return, I continue, day after day, to sort through my underwater pictures brought back from this lost archipelago – more than a thousand photos!
On my computer screen, I rediscover the splendor of the reefs, full of huge barrel sponges, coral tables, colorful gorgonians... And I remember my dives there. Dives that are sometimes "sporty", as they say.
That's right, we had to swim hard... 😆
Strategy of the least effort
I knew, before I left, that there were strong currents in Alor. Having already tried those of Nusa Penida / Lembongan, of Komodo or of Raja Ampat, I'm starting to have some experience with this kind of diving.
But I know my physical limits and I'm also a little cluttered underwater by my 7D's bulky housing. Underwater photography involves a strategy of the least effort. Drift dives, where you just have to let yourself be carried by the current, without having to fight, suit me well. The dives where you hook yourself on the reef in the current, to enjoy the show without getting exhausted, suit me very well too. On the other hand, to swim against the current, or to follow a group that advances too fast for my taste, with big and energetic kicks, is much less my thing.
I readily admit it: I am aquatic but not athletic. I am a contemplative diver (understand: slow). I am sparing in my movements, I try to make the air in my tank last as long as possible...
As a result, the rather "sporty" dives at Alor don't always fit in with my usual strategy of the slightest effort, I have to confess...
I often find myself behind the group, because of my habit of taking pictures on the way (instead of swimming hard like my little comrades). Then, I am totally unable, physically, to catch up with the others... (What do you mean, photographers are balls?)
As a result, if I have to come back against the current at the end of the dive, I don't even try anymore, knowing that I might run straight into exhaustion. No need for that. We may as well meet on the surface, instead. Safety first, huh.
In these cases, I prefer to let my little non-photographer buddies continue to kick furiously (after all, if they like it) and I go up to a shallow depth, a little above them, just to finish my dive at ease, to take some more pictures closer to the surface, where there is more light, and to degas quietly without risking to run out of air. A sign to Gilles or Jenny of Alor Divers – always vigilant – is all it takes.
Swim or take photos? I have made my choice!!!
That said, I don't regret at all these few "sporty" dives in Alor. Or about having often hung around behind the group for shots. It was worth it! Alor's sea-beds are magnificent, full of fish, colorful...
A confirmation with the following pictures below. Click on the thumbnails to see them in large format.