Walter Drechsler floats in the infinite blue of the sea, weightless, almost like an astronaut.
He wears flippers on his feet and a compressed air cylinder on his back, and a hose leads from there to his mouth.
He holds an underwater camera in front of him, with which the Haimhauser will later capture one of his most memorable moments as a diver.
- Drechsler senses that something big is approaching from below: a humpback whale calf.
The big little one carefully studies the diver, swims past him and pats him with her fin.
Awe flows through Walter Drechsler.
The mother of the baby whale is always close by.
It's a scene that very few people in the world are allowed to do.
For Walter Drechsler it is an experience that has accompanied him to this day.
The Haimhauser retiree is a sports diver, diving instructor and underwater photographer.
The passion for it caught up with him in his youth, when he was fascinated by the work of the two underwater documentary filmmakers Hans Hass and Jacques Cousteau.
A first diving course in 1983, a 14-day diving safari and a passion for photography did the rest.
Since then, Walter Drechsler has been traveling to coastal locations around the world to capture the underwater world and marine life in his photos.
From nearby lakes like the Echinger Weiher to distant waters like around the island of Tonga in the South Pacific, where he got the whale calf and its mother in front of the lens.
“I think I've already traveled to around 40 countries,” he says.
Whale watchers: Walter Drechsler also encountered humpback whales near the South Sea island of Tonga.
Tonga has been his furthest journey so far.
It took him three days to get there.
His name is known in the diving scene, Drechsler is repeatedly invited to diving events and has contacts around the world.
His wife Linda is at his side, even if she is not with him every time he travels and dives. "She is very good at diving, but it is no longer her passion," says Drechsler. If she does come along one day, Walter Drechsler affectionately calls her “my model” and photographs his wife in the midst of the water. Otherwise he has many friends who go diving with him.
The divers used the time of the Corona crisis and took a closer look around the lakes in Bavaria. Drechsler recently visited Walchensee - a particularly clear and cold mountain lake in the Bavarian Alps. As always, it was important to put on the right diving clothing and put the right lens on your camera. The camera device is extremely heavy on land and resembles a sphere with the camera inside, with two side handle arms and lights. It loses some weight in the water.
It is important to wood turner that he does not disturb the underwater inhabitants with his photos and that he gives them space.
“You have to give the animals time,” he says.
“My experience is swimming slowly and giving the fish the chance to get used to me.” Then it can happen that the fish simply pull away.
Drechsler takes this very seriously.
“If he doesn't feel like it, then let it be.” The diver from Haimhausen doesn't want to touch anything in the water and tries not to stir up any sediment with his fins.
Among other things, so that he can take good photos.
On average, Drechsler makes 110 dives per year, and if it hadn't been for Corona, it would have driven him further away in the past few months - to show people once again how fascinating the underwater world actually is.