Oom Fanie setting the Open Water pace

A post by Niki, one of our diving instructors.

The second student that stood out will, as promised, speak for itself when he is introduced. His name is Oom Fanie and I hope that these words do Oom Fanie the justice that this legend deserves!

First Scuba Diving Course: Open Water

Oom Fanie did his first course (Open Water) with Geko Divers back in 2010, when I was still a Divemaster. He was 74 years of age and wanted to complete his SCUBA diving course in order to dive with his children on holidays to Mozambique and Sodwana. Now remember, for those of you that have done this training yourself, you will remember the first time you tried breathing and doing other basic acts underwater. It is a completely new experience in every sense of the word. Initially it is scary and it is strange, and to complete the course takes guts and commitment.

Oom Fanie


74 years of age and Oom Fanie didn’t only rise to the challenge; he also taught many others a lesson while doing it! Although starting the course as part of a group, he arranged that he does it on his terms and at his pace. Dawie arranged that he would continue at his own pace under private professional supervision and was welcome to practice at any time, after which we would only progress to the open water dives and I was assigned many times to do skill-sets or buoyancy fine-trimming with Oom Fanie. He returned week after week for many weeks to join in and complete his training, but for Oom Fanie it wasn’t about the time-frame in which he completed his training, it was about the complete package, as it should be!

The Scuba Diving Community

Oom Fanie wanted to get to know the people diving with him, his instructors and how the industry and the diving culture works. He wanted to know the ins-and-outs of the equipment and local diving spots and wanted to be completely comfortable underwater. He was enjoying every moment and enriching his life by gaining knowledge, making friends and keeping healthy, all by having fun at his own pace. Oom Fanie played a vital role in the development of my own knowledge at a critical stage in my career as instructor by asking many questions and Dawie, in return, took the time to elaborately explain every aspect thereof, something which Oom Fanie enjoyed. He also taught me patience and showed me first-hand the value of a properly conducted, unrushed course.

Oom Fanie went on holiday with his family and enjoyed the diving. In the following years, Oom Fanie would join on Saturdays at the pool or on Sidemount Sundays to join in and spend some time underwater before the next holiday.

Oom Fanie is a living example of someone living life to the full! He is always up for a joke, always polite, willing to learn and would shame many 20- and 30-year olds in a 200m swimming dash! He is a trend-setter and an inspiration, which makes you rethink your dreams and own capabilities.

Salut, Oom Fanie!

Start you Scuba Diving adventure today with Geko divers. Book your PADI Open Water Qualification today.

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