Opo the hero poses with the survivor rescued from the waters ... (Ondoliang Beach, Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)
Opo the hero poses with the survivor rescued from the waters ... (Ondoliang Beach, Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)

Opo, My Guide Underwater, A Hero

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic Google translation from a post originally written in French. My apologies for the strange sentences and the funny mistakes that could gave been generated during the process. If you can read French, the original and correct version can be found here PetitesBullesdAilleurs.fr

  Indonesia: Sulawesi + Raja Ampat - July 2017

He's such a great guy. Opo, my dive guide in the waters of Central Sulawesi, became my hero. Because I can be a real burden sometimes...

Beneath the surface

July 3, 2017. I go back to the surface quietly, after three minutes of the safety landing at 5 meters. I mechanically control my climbing speed on thedive computer on my left wrist, then I meet the eye of my guide Opo behind his mask, which goes back to the same pace, facing me.

Opo goes back to the surface, making the OK sign. (Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)
Opo goes back to the surface, making the OK sign. (Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)
Opo gathers the blocks on the beach of Tompotika, in Kampanar. (Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)
Opo gathers the blocks on the beach of Tompotika, in Kampanar. (Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)

He greeted me the day before at the nice little diving resort Tompotika, after my eventful journey to reach the village of Kampanar, on the eastern peninsula of Central Sulawesi.

At 49, he is an experienced Indonesian dive guide. Originally from Manado, he knows very well the most famous spots of Sulawesi. He has accompanied scientific expeditions, particularly to the Banggai Islands, and has worked for a long time at the Murex Bangka, where I've been to before. During our discussions, during my stay in Kampanar, we discover common knowledge ... The world of diving is very small!

That day, Opo makes me discover the beautiful site of Batu Tekek, off Kampanar. A reef full of life, where colorful soft corals and gorgonians abound. He is a patient, attentive, caring guide. He takes the time to tell me which areas of the reef are most conducive to the mood shots.

The visibility is not extraordinary (I was warned, in this season, in this region of Central Sulawesi, water is very high in particles and plankton). But I still manage to make some cool pictures under the water.

On the reef of Batu Tekek, colorful soft corals abound. (Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)
On the reef of Batu Tekek, colorful soft corals abound. (Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)
From coral to abundance, fish wagging everywhere ... Batu Tekek enchants me! (Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)
From coral to abundance, fish wagging everywhere ... Batu Tekek enchants me! (Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)
An impressive gorgon sits on the reef of Batu Tekek. (Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)
An impressive gorgon sits on the reef of Batu Tekek. (Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)
I do not know the name of this coral, which is very common in Indonesian waters. I nicknamed it "burning bush". (Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)
I do not know the name of this coral, which is very common in Indonesian waters. I nicknamed it "burning bush". (Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)
An elegant pink gorgon, deploys his polyps in front of the current. (Batu Tekek, Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)
An elegant pink gorgon unfurls his polyps against the current. (Batu Tekek, Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)
Anthias and damsels wriggle. (Batu Tekek, Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)
Anthias and damsels wriggle. (Batu Tekek, Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)

Once on the surface, we remove our equipment, move it to boatman and go back on the Tompotika boat. And it's there, when I want to check my diving parameters, that I discover that my computer is no longer on my wrist ... 😱

The boat is not very big and we are not many, there is just another couple of divers, Nadia and Akim, another guide and the boatman. Everyone helps me to look, in the middle of the fins and stabs (stabilizing vests) stored. We quickly get to the obvious: what is not on board is necessarily at the bottom of the water ...

Ball on board

Opo is sincerely sorry for me. "We will come back to dive here, we will try to find him", he promises me. Yeah, as much searching for a needle in a haystack ... I look good in front of the others, but I pester internally against my negligence. It's inevitably when I came back to the surface that I lost it, I remember very well having consulted it during the ascent and the safety stop.

As I always make the same gestures, mechanically, when I remove my equipment in the water once on the surface, I did not see that he had slipped my wrist at that time. I lacked vigilance. We must be wary of the strength of the habit, the overflow of self-confidence ... In short, I can only blame myself.

Well, it's not a tragedy either, it's just a material loss. It is replacing. But it's not exactly given, that kind of material. It makes you moan.

Opo kindly proposes to try our luck in the wake, in second dive of the day. But this time, the conditions are against us: reduced brightness with a sky that has turned gray, poor visibility under water and current that pushes against the reef, making it impossible to explore the area where the computer must have fallen ... too bad.

Opo keeps his good mood, despite the tourist ball on board ... (Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)
Opo keeps his good mood, despite the tourist ball on board ... (Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)

"We'll come back to a better time," promises me again Opo. He is really nice. I do not ask so much and I do not want to be a ball.

At the end of the day, I resigned myself to this loss and do not see the point of spoiling the mood because of it. Opo lends me a computer from the center for the following days.

The hero of the day

July 6, 2017. Three days later, I am the only customer diving in Tompotika. The others are gone and the new ones have not arrived yet. It's a beautiful day, today or never: we go back to Batu Tekek!

We drive along the peninsula to reach the Batu Tekek site. The ride at sea is beautiful! (Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)
We drive along the peninsula to reach the Batu Tekek site. The ride at sea is beautiful! (Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)

The other guide and Opo's son accompany us under the water. The plan: to immerse yourself where we surfaced the other day, go down, scan the bottom with our four pairs of eyes. "If nothing is found, I'll look a little further on my side, Opo tells me. All you have to do is stay together while diving along the reef. " 

The diving is even more beautiful than the other day! At first, I start by inspecting the bottom at about thirty meters, methodically, making U, but without much conviction. After a while, I see Opo make signs: he goes to explore the bottom a little further and tells us to stay together, following the reef.

A few minutes later, we went up to 20 meters, near the drop, when it reappears. He pretends to nothing, his arms crossed against his chest, his hands hidden, but he has eyes that shine behind his mask. And he can not resist the pleasure of showing me his find!

Too strong. 😲

Surprise! Watch what Opo brings back ... (Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)
Surprise! Watch what Opo brings back ... (Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)
My computer, recovered by Opo at a depth of thirty meters, lay under water for 4302 minutes, or 3 days ... (Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)
My computer, recovered by Opo at about thirty meters deep, lay under water for 4302 minutes, or 3 days ... And, yes, too bad for the photo, it holds it upside down ... (Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia , July 2017)

I scream in my regulator (for non-divers: it's the tip that we have in the mouth to breathe). Unbelievable ! He found my computer! He lay there, the screen against the sand, the bracelet intact and closed, for three days, 31.9 meters deep.

Opo is the hero of the day. During our surface interval, on the beautiful white sand beach of Ondoliang, I tell him his feat in front of the iPhone:

I'm a little ashamed, he was not obliged to give himself this pain, but he did it anyway. I am sincerely grateful to him. And that day, I find that the name given to foreigners in Indonesia (bule, to pronounce ... boulet) sounds really good for my little person! 😂

Ondoliang Beach

I thank Opo endlessly and we follow the memory photos, before attacking coconut and grilled fish with local fishermen. For them, the bule Boulet is a nice distraction and an exotic tourist subject to photograph on the phone. I take the pose with the group, then each one of them ...

Even without the pretext of the engulfed computer, it was worth pushing here to enjoy this beautiful beach.

The beautiful beach of Ondoliang, where we did the surface interval. (Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)
The beautiful beach of Ondoliang, where we did the surface interval. (Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)
The blue of the water almost hurts the eyes. (Ondoliang Beach, Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)
The blue of the water almost hurts the eyes. (Ondoliang Beach, Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)
The fishermen lit a fire on the sand to grill the fish. (Ondoliang Beach, Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)
The fishermen lit a fire on the sand to grill the fish. (Ondoliang Beach, Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)
Ondoliang, the perfect beach ... (Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)
Ondoliang, the perfect beach ... (Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)
And we are not disturbed by the crowd ... (Ondoliang Beach, Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)
And we are not disturbed by the crowd ... (Ondoliang Beach, Center-Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)

A good lesson

You have to learn from your mistakes. In my case, it will still take two lessons ... 😬 Yes, I admit, the same incident had happened to me, in similar circumstances, a year ago, in Egypt. My old dive computer had also ended up sunk in the bottom of the Red Sea. There we could not go get it. It had been a good excuse to offer me a brand new ...

Lesson held, this time: never again I will remove my stab like a backpack!

In fact, twice, the same causes produced the same effects: a wrist too thin and a bracelet too big badly tight on the neoprene suit. Result, the passage of the straps of the stab, the bracelet can catch and slide off my wrist without me noticing.

My first computer was yet secure with a strap. It was not enough. She had to loosen too. I will install a Velcro system on the inside of the second, to prevent it from slipping. Irony of the situation, there is precisely on my combination, at the wrist, a "universal computer holder" designed exactly for that - but I lost the part to fix the bracelet of the computer, supposed to cling to the piece of fluffy fabric underneath, so I'll have to tinker with it myself ...

The "Universal Computer Holder" system. (Photo credit: Beuchat)
The "Universal Computer Holder" system. (Photo credit: Beuchat)

Finally, on the advice of Opo, I changed my habits to decaprate on the surface. I now slowly open the clip of the left shoulder strap with the right hand, to completely release my left shoulder and remove my vest without contortion, which avoids any unfortunate collision with the bracelet of the computer ...

Thanks again Opo! Terima kasih banyak!

After this episode, Opo continued to play underwater models ... (Alibaba, Center-Sulawesi, July 2017)
After this episode, Opo continued to play underwater models ... (Alibaba, Center-Sulawesi, July 2017)

  Indonesia: Sulawesi + Raja Ampat - July 2017

  1. Super article! With everything that has happened to me since my diving debut, it really could have happened to me! But you're right we learn from his mistakes! And always congratulations for these beautiful images!

  2. Very nice article and beautiful pictures!
    It happened to me the same tile in Guadeloupe a few years ago and I never found my computer ... I console myself by telling myself that the fish that found it must have a great use!
    The beach is just beautiful.
    Nathalie

  3. Me, as I am rather distracted, I have another backup computer always attached to the stab: an oceanic BUD (https://www.oceanicworldwide.com/us/news/news-product-update-bud/). Never served, but I prefer to dive in "belt and suspenders" mode.

    I have already lost a computer, you think ... on a parking lot in Malta: it's even worse, no chance to find it 3 days later!

    Well, at the same time, in PADI, we show how to remove the stab by unhooking the left shoulder strap (it's an exercise of the Divemaster: remove and put the stab under water).

    1. @Robin: yes, the redundancy is good ... Until now, I most often removed my stab in the water like a jacket or a backpack, thinking about unhooking the left shoulder only during more stormy conditions or in case of strong current, when you have to hang on one end of a hand. In short, this anecdote is a good lesson of humility 😉

  4. Aha excellent, the story that ends well of the day! The same situation had already happened to me, but I had not had the opportunity to re-dive, nor such a dedicated Opo to explore the seabed. ps: your photos give a lot of desire to dive!

  5. have also learned to decapher well in the water. Much more comfortable, less tiring, and therefore less risky. I discover this destination in Indonesia that I do not know (know Bali, Komodo and Raja Ampat). your photos are very interesting to discover. Otherwise the Indonesian guides like Opo are great. Know some like him. A pleasure to dive with them!

    1. @Marc: altogether, much more convenient to decapher as well ... I discovered Kampanar me too, I want to go back, five days of diving only it was too short. Next time I will test another period, in "high season" (from early to October to late April), considered more favorable for visibility and I will probably stay a few days more. As for the Indonesian guides, few have disappointed me ... I know several, me too, gold guys, like Opo, really a happiness! 😉

  6. What a story 😀 Still, it was a great way to test the resistance of your dive computer, that one, you can trust him.
    A very nice diving experience that must be added to the beautiful memories you had to bring back from this destination still beautiful!

    1. @Anne Sophie : I had to reset it, the computer, of course. He did not want to dive anymore, after that ... 😀 I discovered this spot in Sulawesi and, as I write in another comment above, I think I will return. The "off the beaten track and away from the crowds" side is fine for me. The coral is beautiful and it seems that you can even see some big beasts with a little luck at the right time ... It deserves to be explored further 😉

  7. This is my first post on your blog Corinne and I wanted to thank you for the mine of info and good plans that it represents for me, I consult regularly to organize my dive trips (it's even my tool N ° 2 in this context, just after the post of "seasons of divespots" of the forum divereur.com).

    I think he's currently working at bastianos lembeh this expensive Opo (I met him there in early May), a damn diver that one, but I would reserve it for the most experienced divers only, because it is not rare to lose it for the rest of the dive when looking for something very assiduous and the conditions are not perfect .... During our week-long stay there, he found us most of the rare things we wanted to see without too much difficulty (mototi octopuss, flamboyant cuttlefish etc ...). He spent the week looking for a hairy octopuss without success for a German customer and it was finally with murex the following week that I came across a (guide eldhart, also a good one), a bluering was also part of 3m of the hairy, what a dive ... and since most of the people I talk to about this are skeptical before seeing it, this is a short version of the video for rare octopus lovers (NB: it was the first use of a TG5 to make video, without flagship or flash, so the images are not very pro, the visible lights come from cameras of other divers):
    https://youtu.be/ePSogXSf2Pk

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