Sidemount course at Protec Tulum

•mei 1, 2018 • Geef een reactie

After a lot of silence on this blog I felt like adding a new story. Two months ago Saskia and I did a last-minute sidemount course in Tulum. And it was awesome πŸ™‚

Sidemount course at Protec Tulum

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Being annoyed by the dark, wet and cold weather of the last two months Saskia and I decided we could use some sun. The Dominican Republic came up first, but a lack of experience in side mount diving would prevent access to a lot of cool caves. To get a flying start and get our gear properly sorted we decided to book a course in Mexico. The caves there are a brilliant training area as they are warm, shallow, clear and infinitely numerous. Also, a lot of experienced instructors can be found in the area.

Within 48 hours of the initial idea, we had booked flights, a course, and accommodation. In three weeks we’d get our sun πŸ™‚

We left Brussels airport on another cold and rainy Saturday morning and, after the usual stress of checking in and lots of waiting, departed in our new and shiny TUIfly 787 Dreamliner. 16:00h Mexico time we touched down at Cancun, took 2 buses traveling along the 304 highway with a short stop at Playa del Carmen and by 21:30h checked in at our hotel. Finally, bedtime!

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Tech1-verslag

•september 18, 2015 • Geef een reactie

Samenvatting/spoiler voor wie het te lang lezen vind: het was fantastisch en we zijn geslaagd πŸ˜‰

day1_shop_lqTech1 – de dag er voor

Het is woensdagochtend kwart over vijf wanneer we met een afgeladen Ford Focus de snelweg op rijden richting Duitsland. De afgelopen weken waren we nog druk met (het continu verzetten van) onze Fundamentals-duiken, maar een ruime week voor vertrek was de tech-rating in de pocket. De auto was ’s avonds al volgeladen en klaargezet in de achtertuin, dus na een snel bakkie yoghurt konden we op pad. Behalve Saskia en ik, reed ook Patrick mee richting Krnica en in een tweede wagen Dennis en Kim. De komende week zouden Saskia en ik met Mario Arena als instructeur aan de slag en de andere drie hadden hun cursus bij Richard Walker geboekt. Reis en verblijf in het appartement in Krnica deden we samen. De derde buddy voor ons team is er niet meer bijgekomen.
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10 years of diving!

•juli 10, 2014 • Geef een reactie

Today I celebrate the 10 year anniversary of my diving career πŸ™‚ Ten years ago I made my first Discover Scuba dive on Gozo, Malta in the Mediterranean Sea. Steve, instructor at St. Andrews divers cove, guided me, and buddy/brother Niels, trough Xlendi Bay. I was instantly taken by the beauty of the under water world and the freedom of being weightless. For 45 minutes we were guests in this new, alien world. Four days later I was a certified ‘Open Water Diver’ and another four days after that I was already an ‘Advanced Open Water diver’. I had made 10 dives, went to 30 meters and was able to come back alive and even managed to ace the exams. I was feeling awesome. However, after a bumpy plane ride home, diving was put on hold. Why would you want to dive in those muddy lakes in The Netherlands? How wrong I was…

Fast forward for 2.5 years. Being far too busy building a solar powered racing car I forgot about diving for some time. I didn’t even go diving while I was in Australia. In 2007 a friend and study mate convinced me to take up diving again. First some pool dives to get the skills back under control, and then to the Wijthmenerplas, a muddy lake in Zwolle. Visibility was shit and it didn’t really look like fun. Thick suit against the cold, annoying cold water gloves… But 1.5 weeks later we made another dive, this time in Zutphen and visibility was actually quite okay and there was stuff to see! Fish, plants, vertical walls and garbage. Lots of it, including an ironing board, a swinging bench, and even a passenger car! It turned out this was put there for the divers. Ohw… okay. At least it attracted some fish πŸ™‚

By the end of the season I had made almost 70 dives and took a Rescue Diver course in preparation of becoming a Dive Master. A bunch of specialties and some more diving later I received my Dive Master certification. After switching organizations this became a Dive Control Specialist certification, a.k.a. ‘Assistant Instructor’. I was happy with my level of training and spend a lot of time assisting with Open Water courses at my club, ZPV-Piranha. Here I also met my great girlfriend/no.1 buddy Saskia, with whom I today have made over 250 dives with. I never really got tempted to become an instructor, and later I found out why: basic open water diving courses are put together to teach people not to die, instead of how to dive. Of course, not dying is important, but after being on a couple of diving holidays and seeing divers kick up silt, damaging coral, losing their buddy and running out of air I knew something was wrong. If my name was going to be on a certification card of a new diver, then they needed to be able dive, not just survive. This realization made me pick up technical diving. I still don’t plan on becoming an instructor any time soon, however I try learn ‘my’ students as much as possible about proper diving skills when assisting a class.

Late 2010 and early 2011 I spend most of my diving practicing skills. Perfecting trim and buoyancy until I felt in control and doing air sharing drills and valve shutdowns in the pool to make sure it became part of my ‘muscle memory’. The Advanced Nitrox and Technical Foundations course was the start of a new diving career. I was dreaming about going to Mexico or Florida to dive in the caves and going to new, unexplored wrecks. This however, as a student, was still far away and dreaming would be as good as it got.

This changed on my birthday in 2012 when Saskia too was bitten by the cave bug and was going to take me to Mexico for a Full Cave course. We practiced cave skills during TekCamp in England and met some great divers/instructors there. Three more friends had joined on the cave trip and with our Dutch instructor we had an unforgettable three weeks in the Yucatan in January 2013. After that we picked up wreck diving an visited more and more caves. Last month the first trimix course was done to open up greater depths and even some first steps in cave exploration were taken.

I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years of diving will bring!

Love to dive!

Wreck diving in Krnica, Croatia

•juli 2, 2014 • 1 reactie
krnica4 In June I visited Croatia with five cave diving buddies (Hanna, Xavier, Patrick, Saskia and Maarten) for some awesome cave diving around Vrlika, Croatia. More about this in my next post. Prior to going to these caves two days of wreck diving in Krnica were booked at Krnica Dive. We (minus Maarten) visited the SS Varese, SS Baron Gautsch and the SS Lina. All three were beautiful wrecks and awesome dives. Our trip started on Wednesday evening 2100h from Enschede and after 20 hours our Ford Focus pulled the five of us, plus trailer with 10 doubles, 6 stages and a shitload of divegear, to Krnica. A scheme was made for rotating positions in the car to optimize sleep and comfort, but some lower back problems and bad smelling body odors could not be fully prevented. The downside of cheap transportation πŸ˜› Krnica welcomed us with a huge downpour and thunderstorm. Slowly and carefully Saskia drove us in to town where we were greeted by a lightning strike less then 100m from our car. By the time we arrived in the harbor the weather had cleared and everything for next days diving could be arranged. After that it was time for pizza and off to bed.

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Noordzeeduiken: HMS Cressy en REM 3

•april 1, 2014 • 1 reactie

Na een half jaar proberen is het dan eindelijk gelukt: we zijn wezen wrakduiken op de Noordzee! Sinds de herfst is elk weekend weggeblazen door te hoge golven, maar de afgelopen week waren de voorspellingen perfect en zondag stond er dan ook een golfslag van wel 20cm πŸ˜‰ Een blauwe lucht met lekker warm zonnetje en bijna geen wind maakten de omstandigheden perfect voor de duik. Om 8 uur vertrok de Aquila vanuit de haven van Scheveningen richting de drie Britse kruisers HMS Aboukir, Cressy en Hogue. Deze drie wrakken liggen op 40km uit de kust en het plan was te duiken op de HMS Aboukir. Doordat het de eerste tocht van het seizoen was stonden de GPS-systemen echter op de verkeerde kaarten ingesteld en was de Aboukir onvindbaar. Peilen bij de HMS Cressy leverde wel een wrak op en de shotline ging overboord.

Patrick en Claire samen met Bas waren team 1 en daalden af langs de lijn. Beneden vonden ze helaas een kale zandvlakte: de lijn lag naast het wrak. Ondanks 30 minuten zoeken en erg dichtbij te zijn geweest kwamen ze na één sepiola gezien te hebben en het anker te hebben gelicht weer boven. Een goede oefening, maar geen wrak. Ondertussen is er een tweede shotline uitgegooid en deze bleek beter te liggen. Saskia en ik, onder begeleiding van Rutger, daalden dan ook al snel af tot we de eerste pantserplaten in de slijtgeul naast het wrak troffen. De reel werd afgeknoopt en we konden op verkenningstocht.

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Β‘Viva MΓ©xico!

•maart 26, 2014 • 1 reactie

And we’re back after a nice cave diving trip in the Yucatan peninsula. I’ll add some more pics later on, but the trip was brilliant. We visited Tajma-Ha, Minatauro, Dos Pisos, Caracol, Dos Ojos, Grand Cenote, Cenote Cristal, Carwash and Zacil-Ha. Already on the agenda for 2014: North Sea diving, Cave diving in Croatia, Scapa Flow wreck diving and many many more nice stuff. Stay tuned πŸ˜‰

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Happy new year!

•januari 3, 2014 • Geef een reactie
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Met dank aan Evelien voor de cookies en Saskia voor de foto πŸ™‚