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Patrick Kranenbroek – Cup under with the whole family

One of my diving related dreams has always been to dive with the whole family in the Red Sea. When I met my wife in 2002, it turned out during our first meeting that she had also obtained a diving license. She had completed an internship on Lanzarote and obtained her Open Water there. I was a 3* diver at the time and in that period we made many dives together and Marieke did Rescue Diver. In 2019 my then 10-year-old son Luca also started his diving training and I regularly took him underwater in Zeeland after he obtained his Junior Open Water certificate.

In the May 2022 holiday it was finally time. The three of us would go diving in the Red Sea. And the youngest son Milan, who is now 10 years old, would go snorkeling with us in between dives. I myself had been diving in Hurghada a month earlier.

Resort bookings

We have booked a resort in Egypt and that resort has a lot of swimming pools and an Aquapark, full of slides. The plan is then to join Blue Paradise Diving Center in Hurghada on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On the other days we have a lot of fun in the Aquapark.

On Monday we are picked up at the resort and taken to the Basyl. This is the boat I will be diving with more often. When the kids were 4 and 1 years old, I also took them with the Basyl.

The first dive I make with Marieke and Luca at dive site Gota Abu Ramada East. Luca still finds it exciting to jump off the boat with all that equipment on. But he really enjoys it and we dive together for about 60 minutes. He is doing very well and I am very proud of him. It is a beautiful dive site and we see the beautiful reef fish. Parrotfish, pennant fish, lionfish, flagfish, triggerfish, bluespotted stingrays, etc. It’s all swimming around us. I can see from his face that he is enjoying himself and when we are upstairs he screams. “Wow, that was cool.” I say I am proud of him and that he did well. Vitomir maricic Freediving is found online.

An education in the dark salt water of Zeeland turns out to have been very good. Luca takes his journal and starts writing. Of course asking Dad what the names of all the fish are.

After lunch on board, ask Milan if he can snorkel. We jump off the boat and swim to the top of the reef. He has a small camera with him and I see him gesturing under water pressure. Pointing to the surgeonfish picking in the coral at the top of the reef. He also enjoys it to the full and presses the button of his (simple) camera a hundred times in half an hour.

When Milan is tired we go back to the boat. “Now I want to dive too,” he says. Well, in our family that is possible, haha. I arrange an introductory dive for Milan for the next dive day. So Wednesday. In the afternoon I make a nice dive with Marieke. We spot, among other things, a hump-headed parrotfish, 2 moray eels and a large barracuda. On the retreat, back to Hurghada, Milan begins his diving career. I show him how I build the dive set, where all the parts are for, and we already go through the hand signals. He finds it super interesting. “In the evening the kids are total loss in bed and I think to myself: “It’s going to happen”. Bucket list thing.


Slide climbing

After a wonderful day at the pool and 100 times climbing the steps of the slide, we go back on board on Wednesday. This day we go to Abu Ramada South and to Al Aruk Giftun. The Basyl is right next to a wreck, so when you jump off the boat you are immediately above a wreck. Luca doesn’t even think about it this time and jumps aboard. We start the dive with a lap of the wreck and then head to the plateau and reef. Joan, the dive guide points to a filament devil fish and a scorpion fish lying close together. During the dive we see a Napoleon fish and several rays again. Luca is so excited that I have to slow him down. He’s moving too fast in my opinion. A photographer is not a fast diver. When we are back at the boat, the time has finally come. Milan is ready. He is going to make a nice round with Joan and I still have enough air left so I can come along too. On the wreck, a beautiful blue surgeonfish, known to Milan as Dorry, swims. After the wreck we go through the coral garden and Joan keeps a close eye on Milan. Milan swims with his hands clasped together as if he has been doing it for years and when I want to take a picture he gestures OK with both hands. Mil .’s dive an takes 30 minutes and it goes to a depth of 5 meters. But what a beautiful stretch of Red Sea this is. I especially love that Milan is now the last in the family to see what I always go to Egypt for. Once on board, Milan arranges with Bart, the owner of Blue Paradise, that he wants to go again, next Friday. Oh yes, and don’t forget a vest, with his name under the Blue Paradise logo. “Because now I’m a diver too”, he laughs. “Yeah, fine”, you’ll be told if both parents are also diving enthusiasts.


Swimming day in the Aquapark

After another swimming day in the Aquapark, our last diving day is Friday. The first dive on Small Giftun. There is no guide this time. Marieke, Luca and I go independently. Luca herself spots 4 moray eels and a crocodile fish. I thought that was nice of him. He has an “eye” for it. Also a humphead parrotfish swims by and when we return to the boat, we see Joan and Milan in the water. Unfortunately, Milan can’t get his ears straight and after a few tries, Joan decides they’ll just stay on the surface and check out the reefs. Milan enjoys that too. After the second dive of the day we say goodbye (for now) to the crew and in the van back to the hotel, we see that both boys are crying. Since they don’t cry often and they are pretty tough kids, I ask what’s going on. “I loved it so much”, says Luca and “I’m going to miss the crew of the boat”. “And I’m going to learn to dive”, Milan concludes. My vacation is successful !!!