Buddy for life

I am now on transit in Istanbul on my way back to Amsterdam and these are the moments when I have time to reflect on my diving adventures. The exciting dives I’ve already made, the eye-catching places I’ve seen, the nice people I’ve met and especially the new diving (travel) adventures. As a passionate diver, I am blessed with a life as a dive guide and love to meet new people. I love divers and think we’re kind of an exclusive club of underwater adventurers with a common denominator that goes beyond just diving.

You know… it’s like motorcyclists I think, they also have such a nice attitude, understand the challenges of the road and have experienced some special rides. Well we divers are not that different I guess, we get to know our limits underwater, get acquainted with the power and beauty of mother nature and whatever peril we end up in, we will first have to solve that before we can return to the surface. And I think this gives a bond, a recognition among divers, especially the seasoned buddies among us. A kind of lifestyle that for me makes meeting other divers extra fun and sometimes leads to unforgettable adventures. For example, some years ago I was on my way to the Brother Islands, a place that I visit regularly. And hopefully this week will be a lot better than last week because we had a lot of technical problems with the boat then.

We made 2 dives today and went sailing after the last dive and have about 7 to 8 hours ahead of us. Dinner is long over and we sit together on the sundeck to chat about the day. Our company is very international this week, we have Pi from Switzerland, Walter from the Netherlands, the South African Tersia and Candice, some new friends from Sweden and a few more. Everyone has extensive experience in different countries, from Fiji to Zeeland and everything in between and we chat freely about the beautiful diving and especially the special places we have seen. After an hour Pi suddenly comes up with a nice proposal, quite challenging I might say. ‘I have an idea’, she says, ‘a nice topic for conversation, but those who are there should also share’. She suggests that everyone tell a true story that we only share here, hahaha that could get interesting. Everyone agrees and we agree that everyone tells a story and then Pi reveals the topic ‘tell your most embarrassing moment even if it’s a big secret from the rest of the world’. What is told here on the sundeck remains on the sundeck and what an amazing subject, difficult to tell an appropriate story. Of course I don’t want to embarrass myself as the guide of the week, but yes, I have said yes to the proposal and therefore I tell my most embarrassing moment. You understand that everyone, including myself, tells quite sensitive stories and that unfortunately I cannot repeat them here. The best part is that the tone is set and by sharing our secrets we immediately have a very good bond.… hahaha.

visiting the Lighthouse on Big Brother Island

How fantastic is that because after that we all feel completely free to be ourselves. It seems as if that impediment you put on yourself to conduct yourself in company had been completely swept away. We’ve finally put all our secret and worst side on the table and yes to be honest there are real stories that will make your mouth fall open and bring tears to your eyes with laughter. And that fun grew into a fantastic week and, above all, amazing friendships. I am still in regular contact with some of them and over the years we have also visited each other and where possible of course made a dive or two together.

And I don’t just have this with people from that trip, it’s more like a common thread through my diving life. Diving together, looking for an adventure together, experiencing and being together in a circumstance such as water in which you are faced with surprises, encounter your own limitations and see and experience those of another and in the meantime check out some fantastic marine life. That binds us to each other and even if we don’t see each other for a long time, every time we meet again it is as usual and that will remain.

Diving is much more than just a sport, more than a hobby for the nature lover or adventurer, it is a way of life and mindset and above all a great way to get to know people. People you click with, people who help you and especially people who become diving friends… Many people ask me whether they can also go on a diving trip alone and whether that is wise. Well, I can’t help but recommend it wholeheartedly. Because even though this trip with Pi was a very cool one, the other trips are almost all great as well. And if you come alone, it’s easy to make contact and meet new people or, as with our trips, new divers. People who were not only part of a diving adventure you have done, but in many cases new good friends and especially buddies for life…

Love life… Blow bubbles…