Monday, December 14, 2009

Robert Terpstra - a real Flying Dutchman.

Robert Terpstra getting ready to photograph the tigers of Tiger Beach.
Photo: Wolfgang Leander

Click on image to enlarge

Unlike the legendary ghost ship that was doomed to roam the oceans eternally, and could never sail back home, Robert Terpstra, a highly qualified Dutch propulsion systems engineer of KLM, jets around the world, on duty, knowing that his company will fly him back to Amsterdam safely and always on time.

Being able to fly at fares normal people like us can only dream of, Robert can afford to not miss an opportunity to travel wherever he can dive with our preferred sharks, the tiger sharks.

Robert and I met in April 2007 in Umkomaas, South Africa, where we dived with the "Blue Wilderness" gang.

Since then he joined me three times to play with the tiger sharks of Tiger Beach, a fantastic dive site where we normally spend five to six days aboard the spacious and sturdily built "Dolphin Dream".

After our last dive trip (November 2009), I asked Rob whether he would join us (the core group being Felix, David Ulloa, Jupp Kerckerinck - our Tiger Beach Baron - and me) again in April 2010. His answer was not a simple 'yes'; he replied with his distinctive Dutch accent:

"Wolfgang, you don't heff to ask me det - you should know by now det ffhen you go, I go, too!"

Beautiful, very Dutch, very much to the point, very Robert Terpstra!

We have a few things in common: We are Europeans (I guess one has to be European to know what that means), we absolutely love tiger sharks, and we are both photography nuts.

However, in contrast to me, Rob has a sophisticated digital camera and a fabulous Hugy-Fot housing with which he takes gorgeous pics - when the housing doesn't leak, that is.

It actually did so once, and since then Rob makes absolutely sure that it won't happen again - which keeps him busy for HOURS checking EVERY little detail of his equipment meticulously before taking it in the water. Not only that: In order to be able to work efficiently, he has reserved a large territory at the dining table of the boat that is indisputably HIS.

Who says that only Reef Sharks are territorial?..... :-)

Robert - the way we all remember him... :-)
Photo: Felix Leander
Click to enlarge

Anyway: Rob is a great dive buddy, and a wonderful guy to be with above the surface. Those who know him are very much looking forward to seeing him again next April at Tiger Beach.