I just came back from a solo two week scuba diving holiday in Dahab (Egypt). I was filled to the brim with excitement about what I had seen below water and being a scuba diver. It had been my wish to learn to scuba dive for many years, but as it goes with many wishes I just never came around to actually doing it. At least not till that summer of 2009. After getting my open water and advanced open water in Dahab I wanted nothing more then to start diving in Holland. However as newbie with only 15 dives in my logbook I didn't now what to expect from the Dutch waters. I wanted my first dive to be with a professional guide. In hindsight a very smart choice...
I started looking on the internet for a dive center and being an online advisor for work I was attracted by the more professional website of Dolphins. Soon after I went for my very first dive in the Grevelingen Lake. It still brings a smile to my face when I think back to my very first Dutch scuba diving adventure. My very first dive in the Netherlands was at 'Den Osse Kerkweg', still one of my favorite dive sites in Holland today. There was just enough room on the parking lot to park our car. It was a really beautiful day and it was teaming with scuba divers. I squirmed myself in the rental 7mm hooded wetsuit. I couldn't even move... Where was the freedom I experienced while diving in the Red Sea??? And how in hell would I be able to operate my BCD and gear with those thick gloves??
We climbed the dike and walked to the end of the pier. We had to wait for several minutes before we where able to make our commando jump in to the water. Imagine a kids playing ground with to many children all running around at the same time asking for attention. This is how I felt below water. There where scuba divers everywhere! Some where coming up from their dive, others where practicing exercises and the rest where just swimming around. It was all I could do to keep up with my instructor, keep clear of other divers buddy lines and try to maintain my buoyancy. Because of all the divers the visibility was extremely low and we needed to swim side by side, which in reality means bumping in to each other every other minute. However I loved it all!
Of course I was spoiled by having my first dives in the Red Sea. No way that the Grevelingen lake could compete with that, despite having the reputation of being one of the more beautiful Northern dive locations in Europe. But still it was impressive to see. Everything was way more robust. The colors where green instead of blue. And the marine life was all about major lobsters and crabs, smaller crayfish and soft corals. I've come to love the robustness and the Dutch marine life. We made two dives that day. My first dives in the Netherlands, but not my last. It would take almost 7 months till my next dive, but that's a story for next time.
I knew I was hooked on the scuba diver virus as so many people, when I came back from Dahab. However not just as a warm water diver... I was also a Dutch scuba diver!