During the last few weeks Dive Inn (Dive Friends Bonaire) trained and examined some divers to reach the level of Instructor for handicapped divers and Dive Partner for handicapped divers. Chris Verstappen, the man about whom is said he has gills, is Instructor Trainer and member of the IAHD, the International Association for Handicapped Divers. The goal of this international non-profit organization is to promote diving for disabled or different abled persons and to train new Instructors. This time Chris Verstappen trained Sander Vegt to become Instructor for handicapped divers and Lex van Everdink to reach the level of Dive Partner for handicapped divers. Sander and Lex were assisted by Andrew Stanway from Great Britain. Victim/volunteer was Harry Schoffelen, Rescue diver, connected with Dive Inn.
It takes a lot of energy and preparation to make it possible for a handicapped person to dive. All in all it takes about half a day to make a dive of about one hour possible. A serious briefing has to be held in advance. Communication is very important. It took three divers to make a dive possible for the victim: Harry van Schoffelen. Harry acted as a paralyzed diver who could only use his head and move his right hand. Lex and Andrew had to “mount” Harry on a ladder to transport him to the sea. Everything was controlled and supervised by Sander Vegt. Chris Verstappen was the critical Instructor Trainer who examined the whole operation.
Lex van Everdink informs and explains: “We are all divers and we are all volunteers. The IAHD is a non-profit organization. We just like to learn and experience more. We really like to make it possible for disabled persons to get to know the world under water. We just like to share our love for diving and it is the sunrise on the face of the disabled diver we do it for!”
Harry Schoffelen survived all exercises and Sander Vegt and Lex van Everdink successfully passed their tests! Congratulations.
Jan Brouwer, The Bonaire Reporter.