A shark, two sharks, three sharks ...

  Indonesia: Flores + Komodo + Bali - July 2011

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: 

In the remote Komodo archipelago, in Indonesia, there is a dive site with the beautiful name of Castle Rock. Its particularity? Sharks love to hang around there... I even made a little video of it.

Diving in Castle Rock

For divers, this is THE site not to be missed, when making the long trip to Komodo. Castle Rock - also called Takat Toko - is a pinnacle in the middle of the sea, whose top is about 7-8 meters deep. In addition to the usual abundant underwater fauna that revolves around it, there is a good chance to see sharks, in high doses.

When I get into the water, with Jérôme, the diving guide of the Pascha, I do not doubt yet the profusion of sharks that turns there ... We go down quickly in the area of 20-25 meters. You do not even have to look for them. They are there.

One shark, two sharks, three sharks... I can't count 'em. They're everywhere!

Here is the ballet of the sharks of Castle Rock, in video. I've put together a one minute sequence, which gives a good idea of the atmosphere under the surface.

Many white tip sharks (coral sharks), but also some grey reef sharks. And some good-sized specimens... I am absolutely fascinated. Amazed, again.

People often ask me if I'm not afraid of sharks. But I'm not. I really am.

I have never yet been confronted with any aggressive behavior from them. The bubbles released by divers with tanks tend to frighten them more than to attract them. As soon as they spot us, the sharks prefer to deviate slightly from their trajectory and swim a little further offshore.

At Castle Rock, they pass and pass again in the blue, propelled smoothly by the lateral movement of their tail, indifferent to the furious current that whips the drop-off. Curiously, the violence of the current is not too obvious in the image.

On the contrary, my little video montage gives off a very serene impression, I think. It's amazing.

Why I started to crochet

Because if the sharks swim effortlessly, quietly patrolling along the reef, for me, it's another matter. For the first time in my diving life, I use this trick:

Hook to dock under water in case of power.

Yes, a hook. Not to scare the sharks, right. They don't care about me! But to tie me to a piece of dead coral and avoid drifting away like a piece of straw, carried away by the underwater gust. This one stretches the string of our bubbles according to a trajectory a little too horizontal for my taste - when it doesn't suddenly make them spin in all directions.

I attached the carabiner to the ring of the left strap of my stab (the stabilizing vestin the divers' jargon). The ring on the right is already occupied by another carabiner, the one that secures the attachment of my waterproof housing containing the camera, which also makes video (the Canon Eos 7D).

Violent currents

I'm not used to being hung on the end of a line like this, floating like a little flag in the underwater wind. Being held on one side only makes me unbalanced. I would have had to tinker with a system to be able to attach the carabiner to the center of my gear instead.

Fortunately, Jerome holds me with a firm grip. I am stabilized. Secure. And I manage to make a few images that don't shake too much.

What a luxury to have a guardian angel just for you... I'm exultant behind my mask, too happy that there are only two of us, and not a whole group!

For the other dives, I will regularly use the hook again. I finally adopted it. It has become indispensable for me to succeed in making images in the waters of Komodo, crossed by often capricious and irresistible currents.


  Indonesia: Flores + Komodo + Bali - July 2011