High fives from the divers for our underwater wealth of shipwrecks, mating cuttlefish and seahorses. At least as colourful and varied as the world of Zeeland up above, our waters are a popular spot for divers from across Europe. The most visited diving areas are the Oosterschelde National Park and the Grevelingen lake.
You look, wrecked
As well as our special sea flora and fauna of repute, some of our waters have built up a reputation for the shipwrecks below. Just a few years ago, the 60-metre ‘Le Serpent’ coal carrier was sunk in the Grevelingen especially for sport divers to enjoy; it rests below at a depth of 23 – 29 metres. In the Oosterschelde estuary, 25 metres below, the wreck of an old cargo or fishing boat lies: no treasure here. The divers who found it named it ‘Galjoen zonder Poen’, the Galleon without Dosh.
One claim to fame of the Oosterschelde National Park is as a breeding ground for cuttlefish, a squid-like creature. Every spring, they come here to lay their eggs, mainly at the Zierikzee end of the Zeelandbrug. Hundreds of divers converge, submerge and emerge as wise witnesses.
Diving in Zeeland is not just a pretty sight: beware of water and weather conditions. Strong winds, fierce currents and powerful tides can impact your dive. Some calmer waters are good for beginners, but others should only be visited by more experienced divers. Never dive alone, and prepare every step beforehand.
You can get acquainted with diving with a starter’s dive at a local diving centre. If you want to emulate earlier dives, take a course at a local diving club (known as ‘Vereniging’) at their collective site.
In all, there are more than 100 diving sites in Zeeland, shown in this interactive map listing what animals, fish and plants you’ll see at each place, and what amenities you’ll find there.
Along for the ride?
You don’t do dives? You just came along with some divers? There’s so much in Zeeland to keep you busy too. Take a boat out on the Grevelingen, go seal searching on the Oosterschelde, go shopping in Middelburg. Or just get on a bike and discover the province from the land-side with a map of bike routes in the bike hub network.
The Dutch divers’ association
The Nederlandse Onderwatersport Bond (NOB) can tell you more about diving in the Netherlands, courses and local clubs. Follow them on Facebook or Twitter or at www.onderwatersport.org