Last updated on
November 25, 2019.
November 25, 2019.
Ever since I saw the TV series with French sea explorer Jacques Cousteau, I have been intrigued by the underwater life that he showed to the world. For years I wanted to be able to swim freely underwater as well and observe the life forms there with my own eyes. In the early nineties I got acquainted with diving with compressed air in a swimming pool.
In a holiday resort somewhere in the Netherlands where we stayed, there was the opportunity to get a diving lesson against a small fee. This lesson took about an hour or two, and the last ten minutes we were allowed to swim freely through the indoor pool. I can still clearly remember how that felt; great!
Many years later during a holiday that I took in 2003 in southern France, at le Cap D´Agde, again there was the opportunity to dive, this time at O2Mer l´école de plongée. And in open water this time, in the open waters off the Mediterranean Sea to be precise. This was a totally new experience and quite different from the one in the pool. Here there were waves, there was current and there were fish shooting away in all directions. This was the real deal.
The down side was that my guide was hovering above me and held on to the compressed air bottle with which he basically dragged me from point to point, showing me around. The reason for this action was that I was not yet qualified to dive by myself, so my guide held on too me tightly. After having done this for a couple of times, being dragged around got really boring, not to mention annoying. I really wanted to move about freely and not being dragged across the ocean floor anymore.
(As off March 2013 the divebase of O2Mer has been closed for business)
In 2007 I held my holiday on the Island off Gran Canaria. Before we went there I had already looked around on the internet for a scuba diving training facility. I was determent to get some licence that would allow me to dive freely without the previously mentioned hassle of being dragged along.
I was trained at the dive base off Blue Explorers in Taurito Playa, and as of August 2007 I am the holder off a PADI "Open Water License" which allows me to dive with compressed air. During the holidays off 2009 I went back to Gran Canaria and did a second course for the "Advanced Open Water License".
As off then I was able to dive freely without the hassle off being dragged from place to place. When I enter the water and descend into the blue, it is the closest thing to space travel that exists on the planet. It is a sport that I can recommend. Even if you´re not into scuba diving, then try snorkelling. It will allow you to see the wildlife close to the shore. Even that is worth seeing.
As of December 2011 I have my own diving gear, and I dive as frequent as I possibly can. This time also in Dutch waters which are considerably less transparent then the ocean around the Canarian Islands. A visibility off fifty feet (those are good conditions) was getting used to at first.
Having started on the Canarian Islands, I have continued my diving education back in the Netherlands at Dutch Scuba Divers at The Hague. Now I can also appreciate the Dutch underwater world as often as I see fit. And there is plenty to see down there, both animal and plant life. For this reason I am a frequent visitor of the underwater world of Vinkeveen near Utrecht.
As of January 2012 I have enrolled in several SSI specialties like Deep Diving, Stress and Rescue, Navigation, Science of Diving and Dive Guide. I then decided to take diving to the next level. I enrolled in the Dive Control Specialist course that prepares you for the Instructors levels. In the capacity of a Dive Con you learn to teach skills under indirect supervision and manage groups.
In December 2014, I enrolled in a two day equipment maintenance course called MARES Lab Program. This involves the disassembly, cleaning and assembly off MARES first and second stage regulators and other products.
During the week I frequently give SCUBA dive introduction sessions (Try Scuba) to people who have (in most cases) no prior Scuba experience what so ever. Often people are somewhat nervous and apprehensive about breathing under water. At the end of a session when people have overcome their fear there is a real positive vibe in regards to their newly gained experience.
In addition to this I also teach Snorkel classes and Open Water classes and evaluate diving skills during Scuba Updates. It is a great way to learn how to take charge of groups and manage them. These Open Water classes also allow you to sharpen your teaching skills.