While summer arrived and the next big trip was still months away some extra dives in the Netherlands were on schedule.
Even before I joined the NorthSea expedition we planned some NorthSea dives with Dive Post Zoetermeer. Together with my dad I'd go out on our first NorthSea trips.
Later I learned though that I could join the SDDNZS expedition as a photographer, which meant that my maiden dive in the NorthSea would take place a lot earlier in the year.
So once the day for our "originally" first NorthSea dives came, I actually already had over 15 of these dives under my belt.
Nontheless both of us had a great dive on the Panago wreck, which is located relatively close to shore from Noordwijk.
Note how the NorthSea crabs "draw" lines next to the wreck structure? It seems like he says: "Don't cross the line...".
The dive on the Panago actually was located not far from the windmill farm at sea which on good days is even visible from the Noordwijk beach.
Closer to shore means greener water. The second dive of the day had some great visibility on the wrecksite as it was further offshore and the dive took place at the high-tide tidal change.
HMS Hogue, which is one of the Cruisers (WW1 ships of the British Royal Navy), lies since 22nd of September 1914 in 30m of water. Although not much is left of the ships structure, there was lots of life to be found on the remainders of the wreck.
NorthSea crabs had made their home in between the powder boxes.
Pout was swimming in and out of the beams of steel and strawlike powder reeds.
Also there were signs of Ghost fishing on this wrecksite. Fishermen loose their rigs all too often on the sharp and heavy remainders of the HMS Hogue.
The NorthSea is also home to a lot of oil and gas fields. Not something that looks particularly good if you ask me.
It is impressive how much this part of the NorthSea is actually in use by us people. There was (as this was a trip not too far from shore) virtually no place where no human activities were in sight.
By the way, on the way back home we crossed paths with the prototype of the Ocean CleanUp project. Pretty cool to see that such a worldwide known project is implemented in our Dutch NorthSea first. I am wondering how far this project eventually will go.
Another planned NorthSea diveday was cancelled due to strong winds. After the cancellation we opted for diving a fresh water lake named the Toolenburgerplas.
Giant catfish, pike and perch make their home in the lake that had turned green with algae for the occasion.
Although we did not (yet, because we will return) find a giant catfish, we did find multiple pikes and perches. It was a great reminder that diving in fresh water bodies can be pretty cool too.
In the green vegetation a lot of small pikes were using their camouflage to not stand out from their background.
Especially the huge pike that moved out of the little skuttled boat and into the thermocline was a nice photo opportunity. I am sure they will not be my best pike images ever, but I really enjoyed the dive.
Finally, Sandy and me did some freedive training in Vinkeveen (another fresh water lake) in preparation of our next trip to South America.
Although we missed the bus to Vinkeveen a few times (bad pun intended), we did find it lying in the dark waters at 9m by following the bubble blowers trails :-).