and Emigrants to America

How I started

 

We started diving in 1980 
after a holiday in Greece!

My wife Hélène and I started diving in 1980 after a holiday in Greece. By chance we stayed in a hotel in a little place in the north west of Corfu called Paleokastritsa. Every morning we saw the divers go out in their boat, from that moment on we were hooked.

We talked (and drank) a lot with them and became more and more enthusiastic, our snorkeling equipment did not look the same after that. We wanted scubatanks !!

So when we returned, we immediately joined the divingclub OSCD in Dordrecht in September 1980 and made a lot of new friends. After half a year training in the pool and in the (cold) North Sea waters we got our 1* CMAS diving certificate. After a few years of hard training I reached a 4**** / Master Scuba Diver, CMAS/PADI diving level and was very active in our diving club as Chairman for a few years.

Oostvoorne, 1982

In this picture on the left we made our first dive !! in the cold water (early April in Holland !!) of the coast of the Oostvoorne lake on 05-04-1981 (click, to see a larger picture). My wife Hélène on the left and me in the middle. In the back (left of me) Otto Cijfers and his son an on the right (seen on her back, with the double 10) Joke Pluymert. We are all dressed up in our neoprene suits, 10 L tank and Scubapro regulator.

I can still remember the thrill I experienced on that special day. That heart-felt rush of gazing down into the blackness and the freedom to fly above. I made hundreds of dives after that, but nothing can match the adrenaline kick of that first dive. Well maybe this one!

Red Sea, Aqaba, 02-01-1989 at Ship’s Place. Hélène and I made a 66 meters deep dive! And of course the Hammerhead sharks, 06-08-1993, Maldives, Rashdu Atol at MaadiVaru!

Boatdive, Oosterschelde, mid eighties

Here on the left (click, to see a larger picture)we have just made a dive near the wreck of the Keten 18, 28-05-1989 in the Oosterschelde in Zeeland, on a sunny day !!.

I am the guy standing third from the left with the dark blue windbreaker. Next to me Roel Russchen. Take a look at that old fashioned stab jacket (Fenzy) of the guy (Egbert van der Werf) to the right. You don’t see those no more. The guy with the brick in his hand is Sjaak Stam.

The first trip abroad, was in 1982 to one of the Dutch Antilles, Bonaire in the Caribbean. I made 40 dives in 14 days, how about that! Looking through my old diving log of those days, all the memories are coming back; 24-12-1982 Bonaire/Invisible Islands, Newyears day 01-01-1983/Alice in Wonderland, 03-01-1983 Carls Hill, Karpata, Willemstoren, Angel City, Playa Funchi, Rode Pan and so o

In the next few years I was a enthusiastic under water photographer, on the right that’s me in 1982 with all my equipment (click, to see a larger picture), Olympus OM1 in an Ikelite under water housing, 18 mm wide angle, dome port and my Vivitar flash.

On the left (click, to see a larger picture) my equipment after some modification, still the Olympus OM1 and the dome port, but now a new computerized flash. directional lighting and a Sea & Sea exposure meter.

I sold the whole lot to a diving friend in 1990, he sold it again, but the present owner is still using the same camera and underwater housing, a compliment to the manufacturer, Ikelite ! How about that old mechanical decompression meter on my right arm. Not the computerized stuff of nowadays!


In the next years my wife and diving buddy Hélène and I traveled to quite a few diving destinations, such as the Red Sea along the Israeli coast, Jordan and on the Egyptian side.

We did a lot of diving in the Maldives, Thailand, Indonesia, Cuba, Bonaire, Carricaou, Mauritius, Aruba and of course the Mediterranean and the North Sea.

But nothing beats diving in tropical waters. The stunning beauty and glorious soft coral gardens in warm tropical waters as clear as crystal. Vibrant colours, nothing like you’ve ever seen on land, are the stuff of scuba diving fantasy.

Coral reef’s, the awe & grace of large pelagic’s including, sharks, rays & turtle.! But our favorite diving spot in the tropics is still the Maldives, we came back 4 times!

The diving is phenomenal, with a profusion of sea life of all kinds. Imagine, “…lots of healthy soft corals, gorgonia, tubastrea, and a profusion of mushroom corals everywhere. …wealth of fish life of all descriptions on every dive. …turtles ans sharks plentiful…often eagle, manta and stingrays.

IMG_4877

Drifting down the reef with Napoleon wrasse bigger than a Saint Bernard is a thrill. Large trevally jacks, mackerel, and dogtooth tuna prowle the walls.”

The names of those diving spots still ring as music in my ears, Ko Raja Noi, Wageli Faru, Lions Head (sharkfeeding !), Careless Reef, Shab Rough, Abu Ramati, El Jardin del Reina, El Ancla del Corsario, Maaya Tila, Batala, Fish Head, Maadi Vavu (Hammerheads !!) and so on. Take look at some of my dives in my old diving log!

In 1999 we dived on Mauritius and may/june 2000 made a trip to Peru and on the way back we made a stopover in Aruba(Dutch Antilles) in the Caribbean and did some diving over there.

It has been a few years since we made the Aruba dives, but in 2010 we travelled to Hawaii, Kona (The Big Island) and we picked up diving again. The highlight was The Manta Ray Night Dive, this is a “MUST DO” trip. The average number of feeding rays per night averages between one and four but can easily exceed 10 or even more with an all time high one night in May 2008 of an unprecedented 36 rays on one night!

In 2013 we made a big trip to South Africa to enjoy the scenery and the wildlife. We watched the whales at Hermanus and made a trip to Gansbaai, the White Shark Capitol of the World!. We made White shark cage dive with White Shark Projects near Dyer Island, just off the coast of Kleinbaai / Gansbaai.

In april / May 2016 we traveled for 4 weeks, hopping islands, in Hawaii, we visited Maui, Kauai and Kona. On Kauia I did a few boatdives  with Sea Sport divers in Poipu.

In 2013 we 

Thanks for visiting
Cees