|Photo taken by Jacob Van Velsen|
The place we went to turned out to be a very popular place among Dutch divers, and it is not difficult to understand why: the water is exceptionally clear for Dutch standards and the presence of fish is so predictable that guide books show them on the map. (Seriously, it said: big fish here, and yes, they were real.) Jacob gave us short instructions of what we were going to do and then we went in. The first you notice is the heaviness of your own breathing: you suddenly feel like Darth Vader with bubbles. Everything else (the tinkling of the chains of a buoy, the breathing of other divers) is only slightly noticeable. As you hover through the sparse vegetation at about 2 meters deep you slowly see the rim approaching of a deeper area. Beyond that there is only dark, but as you go further you start making out shapes: a sunken boat, other divers. These diving places are full of objects to dive to, including a bus, a laundry carousel (complete with clothes), and one of those typical ANWB emergency telephones. The place wasn’t like a playground: it was a playground. There are even a couple of spring riders.
I can now understand what attracts my students in diving: in fact, I’m considering taking a PADI course myself. It’s a cliche, but there is a whole world down there and the experience is almost extraterrestrial. And this was just the Vinkeveense Plassen!