Finally, we have left Belgium. The last weeks of preparing our final departure from Belgium just flew by, although some events made us aware of how “time” can be very precious!
We lost our good friend, buddy, partly crazy uncle, partly father-figure Paul Peeters MD.
Taken away from this world in a sudden rush, Paul, you will always be diving beside me in the big blue ocean, together looking at what Mother Nature has to offer!
Time and preparation, 100’s of items more on the listing, but divided by 2 people, only leaves half the work. While Karen was busy sorting out mailboxes, both digital and analog, I was running around collecting things, ordering even more things, packing items for the boat and in between, still teaching some last minute courses in boating and in dive safety training (D.A.N.).
Family comes first and a goodbye brunch was organized.
Saying goodbye is never easy and when you are going away for uncertain time and uncertain destination, it might be even harder.
All generations have a different approach to goodbyes, young people think of the digital highway and the older generation thinks about the physical distance…and we?
We are in between those 2 worlds: sometimes internet connection on the boat will be there, sometimes not…but physically, there will be some distance to cover (so for the future, we plan to return to Belgium about 2x/year to see family & friends).
A beautiful day spent outside in the garden with the complete family will stay in my memories as the final goodbye. A good memory!!
Time To Dive has gotten a new owner!
After 32years of building Time To Dive, our dive business, starting from zero, we have found 2 very energetic people to continue the positive dive vibe that is the backbone of Time To Dive!
Dennis & Johanna are 2 great personalities who will take TTD to new horizons and will make sure that our loyal clients will be served to the best of their possibilities!
We wish them all the best in teaching dive courses, dive safety training, organizing dive trips and off course running the dive shop to serve you all with equipment, tank fillings and repairs.
I look back at 32years of great moments (and some less great), having met and trained thousands of people, countless memoires of scuba dives, both local and international, dive travel and dive shows, visiting dive manufacturers, attending repair clinics, filling the never ending line of dive tanks and also listening to the million stories of dive adventures told by people returning from a mind-blowing scuba experience ‘somewhere’ in the world.
Will I miss this all? Yes and “No”…as I exchange that world for THIS world, a life closer to the ocean, closer to nature and closer to where it all started for me: scuba diving!
And believe me, the fact of leaving my mobile phone number with them and so, saying goodbye to the countless telephone calls, is something I will not miss!
Coming home to our Blowing Bubbles: the last drive.
Let’s write it down: May 12th 2021
The last drive from Belgium to France by car (with a nice 4hr traffic jam to remind us what exactly we are leaving behind).
Again a car filled up to a level of Advanced Tetris. The next step, getting it all into the boat.
This time, also food (some Belgian waffles you would think? Or was it chocolate and beer?) and other typical Belgium products were inside the super heavy packed car.
Boat items, like the new sails, new ropes, fresh decorated table boards (thank you Dirk Sabo), our new to install Satellite Iridium system, clothes, shoes, sail jackets, and soooooo much more!
On the way to France, we made a stopover at our friends Serge & Anne in Luxembourg, they are the owners of the company O² Rescue.
Safety matters on board SY Blowing Bubbles.
What do you prepare regarding safety on board?
To give you an idea what we carry inside the boat, well, think about the fact that we just cannot easily go to see a doctor or even go to a pharmacy.
So together with our doctor Kathleen Dewaele, we made a list of the most common problems/illnesses on board and what medicines to use.
The next step was to visit Bart Adams, pharmacist and also scuba diver, to complete the list and prepare all items. Believe me, that turned out to be a big box!!
Next step, for me, was to even adapt this to diving standards, so a complete medical oxygen set was added (thanks to O² Rescue) and also an AED is on board combined with some other medical items!
All these items we carry, hoping never to use them…a big difference with the scuba gear we prepared with the intention to use it as much as possible!
But safety matters to us and our future guests!
Boat back in the water!
During the last weeks in Belgium, the boat was lifted out of the water and maintenance was done on our saildrive (engine) and the hull was repainted with anti-fouling (it prevents marine life from growing onto the boat, with the result of slowing us down when navigating).
Unfortunately, not all work could be done!
The bearings of our rudder were not delivered in time and so, we have to plan a new time & place to get the rudder bearings replaced (something we wanted to have done before we cross the ocean).
We aim to do that for the end of June in Portugal, as we will make a stopover in Portimao to visit Karen’s family.
Also some pieces on our Yanmar diesel engine need to be replaced and the questions remains: when?
Next step is to put the new sails up and keep the old sails as spare!
We are also changing our generator (Cummins Onan) to a more powerful model (7,5Kw) as we want to have plenty of electricity to power our 2 dive compressors at the same time to quickly fill our dive tanks to the desired 300bar pressure!
A good thing to see, is that the ‘TO DO’-lists we have made, are getting smaller.
A few more weeks of work ahead before we can sail away…