Photoshooting the cliff diving event is always a challenge for me, and when the main star is World’s most famous athlete Orlando Duque it is even more exciting. Very special thanx goes to Todor Spasov for taking us to the amazing locations in Bulgaria where we made some great shots and had a wonderful time.
Red Bull Cliff Search project dived in Bulgaria starting from bizarre Wonderful Rocks by Tsonevo lake and ended up at the north shore of the seaside, by breathtaking Cape of Kaliakra and the Stone arch by Tulenovo.
Orlando Duque, 9-time World Champion and Guinness World Records holder, accepted the invitation of his friend, Bulgarian diver Todor Spasov and tried his new jumps just before new competition season kick off.
Early June offered to adventurers tempting sunshine but tricky weather forecast – lazy afternoon silence was spreading over the dark waters of Tsonevo lake when divers reached its shore. Just by the bridge passage, like ruins of ancient castle, The Wonderful Rocks were waiting for conquerors. These strange formations of crumbly limestone are both stunning and challenging for any climber or diver – more than dozen stone “needles” (from 14m to 25m high) are pin on the shore edge and offer a real adrenaline boost for brave hearts.
Orlando and Todor tried some awesome high dive combinations, managing to climb over some of the highest “needles”.
“Water is sweet and therefore more “thick”, shared Todor. “After intensive snow melting now it’s far away from being limpid – basically there is no visibility under water but also, this makes the surface like a mirror – now the lake reflects the cliffs and jump is really scary, feels like dive in quicksilver…”
Weather gods didn’t give more chance for divers and crazy storm hit the lake shores in the late afternoon – thus the journey went on to the east reaching Black Sea coast. The crew stayed over the night in picturesque small town Balchik and left by boat at the sunrise.
Northern coast of Bulgaria is also famous as “kingdom of the winds” which was experienced by Todor and Orlando in next two days. Sudden gusts of the wind, quick weather changes, freezing cold water… and breathtaking landscape with million nuances of blue… Stone arch by small village Tulenovo was first stop of the trip – less high but far dangerous, as divers stated.
“There are underwater cliffs – you have to be really precise in jump and get into the water in a very right place. Here even centimeters count!”, explained Orlando. “This is definitely dangerous but makes you even more eager to do it! Sudden wind is also hidden monster – you have to control everything. And to feel each million part of the moment. My best dives come in similar conditions.”
True, Orlando’s best performances were born here – perhaps inspired by birds and dolphins, could be blessed by invisible deities haunting the ancient wild cliffs of Bulgaria…