Diving in Belgium
The diving culture in Belgium is quite active and hugely popular. The divers themselves are known to withstand the cold particularly well considering water temperatures can often drop very low! Although weather conditions can often be tough there are many diving options along the Belgium coastline.
Wreck enthusiasts can visit the SS Trifels in the North Sea, heading out on a specially equipped dive boat. The German cargo ship was hit and sunk by a torpedo in 1941 and now lies between 24 and 36m deep. The MS Birkenfels, another German freighter can also be visited and lies between 15 and 36m.
The true beauty and richness of diving in Belgium undoubtedly lies within its quarries, ponds and artificial lakes. They are usually well set up for divers (including sanitary faculties, filling stations etc) and offer a wide range of depths. Unfortunately the number of quarries that can be dived have drastically reduced over recent years resulting in having to reserve up to 2 months in advance whilst some locations can only be reserved directly by the dive club themselves. Its important to remember that diving is done via dive clubs and guided exploration dives are rarely offered.
In Flanders, natural dive sites have a wide variety of marine life, whilst those in Wallonia have relatively undeveloped flora and fauna. Decorative elements have been installed their to brighten up the bottoms of these quarries and the best quarries in Belgium are located around the town of Walcourt in Wallonia. La Croisette quarry, an old marble mine, is equipped with excellent facilities and offers a depth of up to 30m. A very special dive giving divers the impression of being inside a giant ballroom with its marble pillars. The site is also home to a plentiful fish population. There are sturgeons, carp, trout and sticklebacks.
Located close by are La Roche Fontaine and Vodelée and also in Wallonia, La Gombe is another interesting dive site to visit. Located near the charming town of Esneux, it offers an exciting dive, swimming between airplane carcasses, dead trees and a rich variety of aquatic life. Other interesting dive sites in Wallonia are the Water Dam (Barrage de l’eau d’Heure) Carriere du four a Chaux, Barge, Villiers-les-deux-Églises and Lessine.
Muisbroek is a small natural dive spot not far from Antwerp which is a refuge for the fish and birds of this region. The best spots around Flanders are also found in Zilvermeer, Put Ekeren and Nekker.
Belgium is also home to the world famous Nemo 33 Aquatic dive center near Brussels. With a depth of 33m and water temperature of 33’c - its MUST for divers who don’t like the cold!!