Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation of an article originally written in French. I apologise for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have resulted. If you read French, click on the French flag below to access the original, correct text:
Taking pictures underwater, I love it. But swimming, much less. I realized this while diving in Alor, Indonesia.
More than a month has passed, already, since my stay in Alorin July 2012. A far away trip, to the borders of Indonesia, dedicated to what I love above all: diving and taking pictures underwater.
Since my return, I continue, day after day, to sort out my underwater pictures brought back from this lost archipelago - more than a thousand pictures!
On the screen of my computer, I rediscover the beauty of the reefs, full of huge sponges, coral tables, colored gorgonians... And I remember my dives there. Dives that were 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 (understand: slow) diver. I am sparing with my movements, I try to make the air last as long as possible...
As a result, Alor's rather "sporty" dives do not always fit with my usual strategy of least effort, I must admit...
I often find myself lagging behind, because of my mania for taking pictures on the way (instead of going all the way like my little friends). Then, I'm totally unable, physically, to catch up with the others... (What do you mean, photographers are a pain in the ass? 😈 )
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 risk getting out of breath. I don't need to. I might as well meet up at 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.
Palmer or photograph? I chose!!!
Having said that, I don't regret at all these few "sport" dives in Alor. Nor to have often hung around behind the group for the pictures. It was worth it! The bottom of Alor is beautiful, full of fish, colorful...
A confirmation with the following pictures below. Click on the thumbnails to see them in large format.