Up Temperate Diving ยป Holland 09

Zealand in The Netherlands isn't the first place that everyone thinks of as a diving destination but it is one of the most popular in the low countries... at least over certain weekends each year. Every year in May the cuttlefish come to meet and mate under the Zeelandbrug, a 5km long bridge between of Schouwen-Duiveland and Noord-Beveland in the province of Zeeland. They arrive when the temperature is right for them and stay for about a week. It's hard to predict when the conditions will be right, we caught them in 2007, and so it's lucky that there's plenty of other stuff to see. We go during the week to avoid the crowds and enjoy the other sites and sights as well as the bridge. This time we missed almost all the cuttlefish but still had a great time.

1 Het Gamal I1 Het Gamal I
Het Gamaal (The Pumping Station) is really a part of the Dreischor site but has it's own car park and sign about 300m further down the dyke. There are no reef balls here but the outlet and marker tower of the station make up the focal point of the dive site, which is the typical oyster covered slope. This site is even less busy than the usually deserted Dreischorand so often the place we start our week...
2 Den Osse2 Den Osse
Den Osse is the next reef ball site along from De Kabellaar in Scharendijke where we stay, only a couple of km down the road. It has been treated to a green loo and new pontoon to enter the water. The site has a wide shallow plateau before it slopes sharply down to 8m where the reef balls are scattered over a silty bed which slopes away...
3 Zeelandbrug3 Zeelandbrug
The bridge is reached via the industrial edge of Zerikzee which is the only route to the car park under its North end. There's plenty of space but it fills up when the cuttlefish arrive and the slack times are sensible. The cuttlefish lay their eggs on sticks planted in the seabed either side of the bridge's first pier - searching along a 11m contour is a good start. This year we arrived after they had stopped getting it on, and just saw one in the shallows.
4 Drieschor4 Drieschor
Dreischor is one of the most remote sites and it's not unusual to be the only people there (or at Het Gemaal nearby). It is the site with the most reef balls and some of the clearest shallows and oyster slopes. We could spend hours chasing gobies, lobsters and crabs around but sometimes the best things are floating in the water column...
5 Het Gamal II5 Het Gamal II
Het Gemaal offers great macro and wide angle photo opportunities... so please forgive this second overflow gallery.
6 Floaters6 Floaters
The shallow plateaus at a number of the site are great places to see floating cniderians and try to take pictures of them. These have been collected from the whole trip and haven't been cleaned up at all.
7 Surface
7 Surface
Zeeland is a pleasantly surreal place. normally very quiet in May and small enough to see pretty well between dives. There's a lot of laid back wilfdlife and nosey farm animals to gawk at too....

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