We are anxiously waiting for our group Leonardo who will arrive in Hurghada this afternoon to do a liveaboard with us on the Red Sea. This group is really great fun because they come from my city of Leeuwarden. Originally we were supposed to receive this group 3 years ago, but due to the infamous … Continue reading DIVE LIKE THE GUIDE DIVE
It all started about five years ago. I was working in advertising at the time and after all those long days at the office I wanted something new. It was time to change course and I did so drastically, grabbed my bag and jumped on a plane to go diving. Nowadays I jokingly call myself a professional holidaymaker and no I don't lie on my ass all day, although I can enjoy it immensely. What do I do? Well what else than; diving, diving and more diving, as a guide on safari boats. You probably know them, one of those luxurious floating hotels that takes you to distant dive sites for a wonderful diving adventure. And so I visit quite a few countries, from Egypt to Indonesia and from the Maldives to the Bahamas, as long as it's slightly warm and the diving is fantastic, then I'm up for a trip. And so one day I set out from Hamata on my way to the deep south of Egypt. We had a British BSAC diving club on board and the atmosphere was great from the start. On the first day we did some check dives , check the equipment, make buddy pairs, go through procedures and most of all relax and enjoy. It is, after all, a holiday for our British guests.
You have probably already experienced that mother nature can pleasantly surprise you. Now I spend a lot of time underwater and that means that these surprises are regularly reviewed. For example, I was on a liveaboard as a dive guide and had 24 guests for that week, to dive the northern wrecks of the Red Sea from Hurghada. During the check in I got to know Chris, he was a frequent guest on our boats and he had 100+ dives to his name. Yet he was no further than an open water diver and so I had to advise him not to dive deeper than 18 m. Chris fully understood it, but still wanted to go to the 30 m, so I offered him the option of taking a course.' How about a deep adventure dive or you can even think about an advanced open water course'. The latter appealed to him the most, but he didn't want to miss any valuable dives for the course. In the end he wanted to dive and have a nice holiday and a course was just an extra. I explained to him that this was no problem at all, on training dives we prepare well and during the dive we do some exercises and then we have enough time left to make a super dive. And Chris agreed.
Every time I went on a diving holiday and I preferred to do that on a liveaboard, I thought when I saw the dive guides; 'I like that too! Who knows.' And when I finally lost my real job about nine years ago, that thought became an inspiration. I had a conflict with my employer and in the process of contesting it, government statistics showed that it would probably take me 3.5 to 4.5 years to land a comparable job. When my lawyer told me that I was surprised and in the same sentence he asked me; "And what are you going to do in the meantime?" Well… I didn't have to think long about that. I already dived a lot, had a diving school for fun and was active as an instructor for years. And so I spontaneously shouted 'Nice diving!' and I actually did.
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.
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.
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.
We all need help from time to time and it is not always easy to ask for help. And sometimes as a dive guide I get a completely unexpected request for help, I mean it's my job to help everyone above and below the water but I just don't expect it from everyone and ask … Continue reading An unforgettable experience
It is late in the afternoon and we are on our way to Fesdu Lagoon here in the Maldives, where we want to park before dark. The entrance to the lagoon is not wide, so we can only enter during daylight, as we can see the reef. The special thing about this lagoon is that it is not only big enough for a liveaboard, but especially because mantas regularly come into the lagoon in the evening to eat. And that is the perfect opportunity for us divers to take a night dive with these elegant giants.