At first glance, these photographs seem to show a scuba diver exploring the depths of an underwater world. But if you look more carefully you will see a tree, a bridge and even a park bench. In fact these incredible images show a diver traversing an Austrian lake (Tragoess) that floods every year, covering everything in the surrounding area.
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Set among the snowy Karst mountains, the Green Lake in Tragoess, Austria, is normally only one metre deep. For most of the year, visitors to the beauty spot can leisurely stroll around the picturesque lagoon, enjoying the stunning landscape from one of the benches set near the water’s edge. They can wander down several footpaths and cross one of many small bridges. But every year when the snow melts, the lake floods and submerges everything surrounding it. Around twelve metres of water covers trees, footpaths, benches and bridges. Gallons of clear, 7°C water doubles its size from 2,000sq metres to over 4,000sq metres.
Diver Marc Henauer, from Perly, Switzerland, heard about the natural phenomenon and came to explore the lake for himself. The 39-year-old said: ‘When I was underwater, it felt like I was swimming in a magical world, it was so beautiful. Swimming over the green grass, flowers, paths, rocks and trees was like being in a fairy tale. ‘We were lucky that the sun created fantastic light rays through the water. My wife and I stayed there for seven days and we did three dives every day, spending one hour on each dive.’ Mr Henauer, who works in central purchasing in Geneva, was thrilled with the set of photos. He added: ‘All pictures were taken in natural light without a flash. I am very delighted with the result because we had a lot of problems with the heavy rain, thunderstorms and wind. ‘We only had a very short time to take images when the sun was in a perfect position. Diving is possible only for a month in the spring. Throughout the year the depth of the lake is too low. The visibility is just incredible. Usually you only see water like that this in tropical seas.’