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Nemo 33 by Tom Horton

Posted: Saturday 20th October 2012

Nemo 33
Once upon a time Nemo 33 was the deepest swimming pool in the world designed by a Belgian Diver John Beernaerts. It was originally constructed as a multi-purpose diving instruction facility but has been adopted for recreational and film-making use. It consists of several caves at 10 metres, flat platforms at 5 and 10 metres, and the main attraction, a 35 metre deep pit for advanced open water divers. The pool holds 2.5 million litres of highly filtered, non-chlorinated spring water which is maintained at an average temperature of 30-33˚C. At various depths there are windows that look through to the restaurant allowing visitors to see divers, and visa versa. This is my experience.
Hey, I’m Tom. I passed my Padi Open Water diving course back in August 2010 and went on my first dive trip with Dive Matters to Nemo 33. I was really excited about this trip as I had heard stories of people’s previous experiences at Nemo 33 and none of them had anything bad to say about it. It was an early morning, getting up at 5:20 AM, and then getting ready for the taxi at 6:10. It was all going good until the taxi turned up late at 6:20, which was a big worry seeing as the coach was leaving at 6:30. When we finally arrived at the coach we had a couple of minutes to settle down and we were off to Dover. The company we travelled with were Ashford Minibuses and I have to commend them for there excellent service. The only down point with their buses is the lack of leg room. But to make up for this everyone on the bus kept the morale high. The journey to Dover took 25 minutes and when we arrived at the port we managed to catch an early ferry. We travelled to Calais using P&O ferries and had a 1 hour 30 minute journey ahead of us. The seas were calm so it was a nice and relaxing ride. When we arrived at Calais we all got back onto the coach and headed off towards Brussels. On the way to Brussels almost everyone was asleep so the 2 hour 30 minute ride went past very quickly. When we arrived at Nemo the outside of the building was very deceiving. The car park holds about 100 cars. We had two dives planned for the day, one at 3 PM and the other at 6PM. After the first dive we had our meal in the on-site Thai restaurant. This meant that after or second dive we would have to get all of our gear ready and go so we were on time for our ferry home.  
For the dives you could either pay on-site or pre-book them, which is a major advantage due to time. You need to provide your relevant certification card an hour before you enter the water so you can be booked in. All gear is supplied other than swimming costume and mask/snorkel. If you want you can bring an underwater camera to record your dives. Whilst being checked in you can wait in either the lobby or restaurant and watch the divers currently in the water through the large windows. When it is finally your turn to dive you get changed and then go to the pool for a 5 minute safety brief and 10 minute free dive to get used to the water. Once the 10 minute free dive is up you get geared up and enter the water again for a 45 minute dive. The best part about Nemo is being able to dive to your qualification limits and venture into caves without getting harmed, all within a controlled environment. Although a 45 minute dive sounds really long, you’ll be surprised at how fast is goes past.
The service in the restaurant wasn’t the fastest ever but it was well worth the wait.Peyton Manning Jerseys All in all the day was very fun and a great experience for divers of all levels.
Tom Horton