Last Sunday, Rob and I went for our very first dive in Dutch waters!
Ever since coming back to the Netherlands I felt like continuing my diving education and wanted to make it more of a year-round hobby instead of a holiday experience. So, looked up a dive shop nearby (Hoogvliet) and decided to join for their next event: an open water dive in the Grevelingenmeer. When I went to visit the dive shop I got very excited and stayed for over an hour. We talked dive courses, were amazed by the dive gear I got from Rob’s late Opa and tried on some wetsuits. Laura (dive shop manager) went on to let me all the dive gear needed for the Sunday dive, and I decided to go for the family membership for the both of us right away. A very productive afternoon.
Sundays predictions were amazing. No wind the day before, so no murky water. Steadily rising water temperatures and sun sun sun on Sunday!! ≅
When we arrived, the MaiDiving camp had already set up. Everyone was very welcoming. Laura and her mother in law Marga answered all our questions and helped us prepare to gear up. We would be diving in wetsuits, while everyone else turned up in drysuits. In the meantime, my parents had arrived, as they wanted to get a sneak peek of the sport we are so stoked about. (and to cheer us up for the cold cold waters ahead). Rob and I set up everything in what must be a slow time record – just right for us. It was all quite overwhelming you know, with new people, a new dive location, people to support us and new dive gear.
A walk across the dike and we arrived at the small pier. This would be our first solo dive, without a guide or instructor. Buddy check. A giant leap into the water. We’re diving!
The dive went quite well. Rob had some buoyancy problems, so he went to get some more weight. After that, we set off northward, following the gently sloping bottom from 3m depth to about 8m depth before we bent to the right. We came across oyster beds, dozens of crabs, some hermit crabs, cute tiny jellyfish and some bright coloured anemones ❤ It was cold, but definitely not as bad as I’d expected it to be. My new dive watch worked like a charm! Also, Rob had his grandad’s depth gauge on; still working! Amazing.
We were both quite happy to be wearing a wetsuit as it gives you more freedom of movement and buoyancy control is a tad bit easier. Towards the end, we made some crucial mistakes though. We had enough air and decided to go explore the deeper end, below 10m depth. I was already cold and on our way back I suddenly decided I wanted to end the dive. We were at 7m depth and I was freezing. Looking back, it would have made life easier to just swim up the slope towards 3m depth, but I wanted to go up straight. During my ascend it turned out my hands were too cold to operate my buoyancy control (see picture). I shot up to 1m, setting my new dive watch off in all sorts of alarms. Me panicking. Rob stayed with me and signed that I still had a safety stop to do. I agreed and wanted to descend. Still frozen hands, plummeting to the ground again… No good.
As it was a shallow dive, and the only dive that day, it did not do much harm but some light ear pain. Still, we were quite shocked by our incompetence and poor judgment. Next time we’ll be diving more conservatively and will definitely bring a marker buoy.
We ended with a bbq, wetsuit cleaning and lots to talk about on our way home. We will definitely come back to this pretty Dutch dive spot to explore some more wildlife. We heard there’s supposed to be massive lobsters and schools of giant fish!