Hello dive freaks, I am Anneke van der Werff from Holland and a professional diver. Because I have a muscle disease, I have to use my wheelchair every day. I dive for many years with my friends from "Frogman Divers" in Hurghada Egypt. July 2019 I did my cave diving course in France. It is my intention to tell people with and without disabilities about the beauty of diving. With my story about Cave dive experience I also like to encourage disabled people to go diving because there is no handicap underwater.
“I WISH I HAD GILLS” Finally the time has come for me, cave diving in Douix France. After two years of weighing and weighing, adjusting and seeing if it can be realized with my muscle disease, it will happen now. I know the theory and skills, we have all safety measures into account duties. "With the medical dive examiner's consent and permission, and 1100 dives on the counter, I was set to go". Getting dressed is, for me, always hell and "these days I'm in a lot of pain", but as soon as I am under water, all agonydisappears because of gravity. I am assisted by my instructors who assist me out of my wheelchair into the water, where I can put on my diving equipment and attach all the necessities. In the shallow water we proceed to the entrance of the cave. A final briefing and we’re set to go. It's completely dark underwater but the walls of the rock formations illuminated by my diving light make my mouth almost fall open. As I descend further into the narrow passage, I feel that familiar euphoria, of diving, bubbling up inside me and I think ... "YES !!!! THIS IS MY THING, THIS IS WHAT I DO IT FOR!" I am healthy again.
BLINDFOLDED The water is about 10 degrees centigrade and after a small stretch with a little current we arrive in a larger space, where I have to demonstrate once again that I have mastered the skills for cave diving: get to the exit buddy breathing, blindfolded, etc I have no problems with it and operating the reel went perfectly well. We have been diving for a few days to practice and now the real work is finally starting. We go through a narrow passage and it is amazingly beautiful. There are no fish except for 1 trout. I feel very insignificant when I look at these rock formations of thousands of years. Occasionally I have to adjust my sidemount because the passage gets narrower. I'm lucky I'm not that big. During this last dive we go through narrow passages and wide low spaces and we end up in an impressive big air bubble. I have learned never to take my regulator out of the mouth in such places because ... there may be toxic gases in the air. According to my air supply I can go on for at least an hour and a half in this cave, but we are start our way back. I stop halfway and we all turn off our lights to experience the darkness and tranquility. I see the exit of the cave looming. My buddies help me out of the water and put me back in my wheelchair. I think,"This is it, I wish I had gills." A handicap above water does not have to be a handicap under water.