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:
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.
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.
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.
"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!
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. 😲
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! 😂
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.
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 ...
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 ...