Being a senior diver
After 45 years of diving, the last 10 spent as pensionado from the University I still feel the urge to get in the water to make pictures of the underwater world. Its a good alternative for spending too much time ‘behind the geraniums’, a Dutch expression to characterize the fate of a pensioned person. And to escape the predominantly cold, windy and rainy climate of our lowlands. Two trips to the tropics a year is what I can afford myself, without draining our (me and my non-diving wife’s) regular holiday budget. Descending in the clear blue water is a wonderful and pleasant relief after the custom hassles and long flight, that may take 10 hours or more to reach a remote destination. During a diving trip in a resort or on a live aboard I find two dives a day enough for me. I try to skip dives that are less interesting or too early in the morning. That’s typical a lazy mans schedule, not at all what you expect from the dedicated more fanatic diver. There will be plenty of time left to spend on the sun deck or in the shadow enjoying a nice book and looking out on a blue sea. And at the end of the day there is that cold beer waiting for me!
I am lucky that so far no physical complaints or injuries have turned up that would be a sign to stop with diving. Perhaps a good reason to thank our Creator (or my genes) that I can still enjoy paddling around in the water with my camera and fish eye lens. The price I have to pay to stay fit is not very high. I skipped running long distances, which is not a very healthy practice anyhow. A daily bicycle trip alternated with two kilometers on my Concept II indoor rower* (model D) and some weight lifting serve well to keep the carcass in shape. In the Mediterranean I enjoy practising the free dive in the 'Polynesian way', that is with goggles but without weights and fins. No big deal, but to get down to 10 meters without fins is pretty hard, I can tell you. It’s also reassuring that I’m not the oldest oldie still around in the diving business. There is Stan Waterman (born 1923!) who kept on diving until he was 88, even conducting diving tours himself**.