It's great that everyone is diving again on their holidays. We have missed that so much in recent years and how nice it is to see mother nature again. As a guide, I am of course extra happy to see you in the tropical waters again. Great diving together, although for most it takes some getting used to. Suits shrunk a bit, and quite the job to set it all up again and then that first dive. Still need more weights than the last time on vacation a few years ago and the air consumption, oops goes sky-high again. Well that's part of it for a while, but after the first few dives almost everyone is enjoying themselves again and they don't worry about weight and air any more.
That we like to take an underwater stroll and preferably as we have planned, is the general rule for us divers. The strange thing is that when we plan it, we also expect and sometimes oblige ourselves to go diving. We don't want to disappoint our buddy or have been looking forward to the dive for so long and how about I traveled half the world for it. All bad reasons to take the plunge if you feel a sense of doubt before entering the water. Of course it depends on the reason of doubt, for some it's okay if you go, but for most it's really better to sit out the dive and get help if possible.
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.
As a child I was not as fond of the sea as I am now. I always had the idea that big wild scary animals would bite my feet off if I walked into the sea. And to be honest I was also afraid of the deep part of the pool after seeing 'the killer whale' a fantastic movie about the revenge of an orca. Anyway, I'm pretty much over my fears now as I'm at sea full-time and like to explore the depths where I've never seen such a scary beast as my fantasy showed me when I was a little girl. Yet I still have the feeling that we are being watched and occasionally I meet the spy myself.
Sooner or later we all play with the question: is it perhaps better to stop diving? I myself have been a big fan of this sport for over 20 years, but sometimes life doesn't turn out the way you expect and you may not feel fit enough to dive like you always did. So is Sue, a fantastic lady I met on the liveaboard trip from this week. With a lot of young people on board Sue is a relatively mature lady, I don't know her exact age, but it's obvious that she belongs to the seniors. During our trip to the 'golden triangle' of the Red Sea (Brother Islands, Daedalus reef and Elphinstone) Sue realizes that these kinds of trips might be a thing of the past and she even considers stopping altogether.
I was asked to come and help on a liveaboard in the Maldives for a few months because the current cruise directors had to disembark with a medical emergency. The head office in England indicated that I should not only take over their work, but asked me to examine the organization on site and improve it where possible. What a super challenge and all that on a dive ship in the Maldives, well as if I would say no to that, haha. And so I flew at short notice to Male from Egypt on my way to a new adventure and then boarded via domestic flights deep in the south of the Maldives.
Finally we can go out again after the pandemic. I'm going on the day boat from Voodoo and we have a super nice family on board that regularly make me pee my pants from laughter as they are doo funny and joyful. I am therefore very surprised to see the always smiling daughter Eva with tears on our aft deck. What is going on? She can no longer equalize het ears.
Despite the fact that I do a lot of diving, there are a number of diving moments that stay with me and amung them my first encounter with the blue ringed octopus. We are at a fantastic dive site appropriately named Mayhem in Raja Ampat Indonesia. Fitting because every time the current picks up the dive site becomes a madhouse, the quantities as well as the different species are absolutely astonishing, even after 100 dives. The current sours around us as soon as we roll into the water from the zodiac and from the first moment I try to hang as aerodynamically as possible. Nose down and into the current while holding my ass up, a trick I copied from sharks. And even though the current tries to blow me off the reef, I manage to stay in one place and I take the time to look around me quietly.
When I first started as a dive guide I was amazed at the disrespectful and inconsiderate behavior of many divers on board. It cannot be the case that divers travel to special places to see nature and then just destroy everything during the dive. And really as a guide you see the most amazing things, as I recently dived with Michael, a relatively experienced diver who travels to all corners of the world.