France: French Riviera - July 2014
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:
The coral of the tropical seas has to be careful. The bottoms of the Mediterranean Sea are also very beautiful. The proof in flashy pink at Port-Cros.
Memories of summer 2014: diving in Port-Cros
At the end of July 2014, I was in Hyères, in the Var. And I still can't believe what I saw underwater. When the coral (of red gorgonians) revealed bright tropical hues - pink, purple, red - under my flash, I was hallucinating... 😮
Well, I admit, at first, I wonder what I'm doing here, swimming in cold water, above a monotonous expanse of Posidonia with my 7D…
I start by trying to turn my little friends into graceful shadows on a blue background. Not very conclusive.
And then the bright colors of the gorgonians and the life appeared. There are big placid groupers, which are legion in the area - we are on the site of La Pointe du Vaisseau, near the island of Port-Cros. And then some nice pink nudibranchs, impossible to photograph with a fish-eye. Small schools of bright-silver fish with yellow stripes, whose name I do not know. And even some barracudas on the move! But they are a bit too far away for good pictures...
The more it goes, the more I enjoy this new Mediterranean environment, unheard of for me - the Breton diver who fears cold water and only fins in tropical seas anymore... 😜
Even the posidonia, this aquatic plant (which is not a seaweed) that I only knew through TV reports, and that I discovered for the first time with my own eyes, became a fascinating subject, undulating with the swell. A show in its own right, very difficult to photograph...
Gaby, from the À l'Eau Plongée center (whose name has become Eco Diving), who accompanied me and Christèle, my partner of the day, even played the models for my lens near the big rock covered with pink coral! Really nice, I appreciate it. 👌
I am exhausted, but I take it upon myself to throw a few last flashes at the end of the dive.
My enemy: the cold
Back on the boat, I was shaken by violent tremors, impossible to repress. My poor worn out 5 mm (I put a shorty-cagoule over it though) and my frail body of frigid are not adapted to the Mediterranean waters of about twenty degrees on the surface at this time and barely 15-16°C in depth... 🥶
But Alain's boat, which holds the center Eco Diving (ex-À l'Eau Plongée) in La Londe-les-Maures, is equipped with HOT water showers!!! 👏 Supreme luxury and happiness. Those who never feel cold (but really cold) underwater can't understand.
Most of my short stay in Hyères was devoted to a apnea courseI only found time to do one small exploration trip with a tank in the Mediterranean waters... A first in my little diver's life, I had never dipped my fins in them before! Porquerolles, Port-Cros, the peninsula of Giens : these famous sites in the south of France are really super-exotic spots for me...
I will surely go back there, one day soon. But not before I have seriously equipped myself with a wetsuit adapted to these waters which are too cold for my taste.
Update, December 2022. Alas, the red gorgonians of the Mediterranean have experienced a massive die-off, in this summer of 2022, due to abnormally high water temperatures, caused by global warming. With great sadness, I realize that this article from 2014 is now a testament to what has been and is no more. I invite you to read this other article I just published in the evening edition d'Ouest-France on the mission "Noah's Ark of the Deep" launched by the 1Ocean Foundation, the CNRS and Unesco, to study the deep forests of gorgonians (beyond 40-50 meters) which, for the moment, have survived:
➡️ They explore the deep wrecks of the Mediterranean to save the dying gorgonians