The church bar
Updated: Feb 16
Cave & Wreck Night, Netherlands
We always love heading to the Netherlands for Cave & Wreck night.
This event has been running for many years and the venue has grown to now be hosted in a huge church, which is the only venue big enough to take the 400 divers who attend.
What's even more impressive is that behind the altar is a bar!
They don't muck about in the Netherlands!
I’ve spoken here several times and this time Rich Walker and I were a double act, giving a catch up on exploration in Izvor Licanke, Croatia.
Rich has always tried to get up in the pulpit to give his talks but always worried about going up in flames!
It is becoming a tradition to be fed some serious gourmet, multi course meal at JP Bresser’s boathouse and he always raises the bar to show off his culinary skills. Accompanied of course by some serious wine from the caving regions of France.
It’s great to catch up with the GUE gang who come here from all over Europe and listen to inspiring talks about diving projects all over the globe.
From cave diving discoveries to wreck documentation, the evening is packed with updates on what the GUE community has achieved in the last 12 months.
The following day, slightly hungover, we were treated to a thai kick boxing session at JP’s local gym, Gym Suppan. I can honestly say it is the most fun I’ve had in ages!
Mara, JP, Rich, Christine Letting off steam View from JP's boathouse
The next month I went to give a talk on caving to Bradford on Avon scouts and was treated to a busy church hall full of enthusiastic children asking intelligent questions.
I love inspiring youth to give caving a go and hopefully they’ll be the next generation of cave explorers.
The Saltire and International Womens Day
In March I headed out to a small platform called the Saltire. I was covering their regular medic who had to go home, so bizarrely I was the only person on the helicopter! Apart from the pilot of course – and she was female too!
I’m not sure if women have ever outnumbered men on a North Sea helicopter but it was nice to think it could have been the first time or at least one of very few.
There was only 14 of us on board, basically keeping the place ticking over until the decommissioning process.
International Women’s Day was happening and I was asked by Women Fitness magazine to write an article. I was excited at the opportunity to write for a non-diving, non-caving audience and slightly embarrassed that I was not the typical skinny or athletic type that adorned the glossy pages.
Even as a jump jockey I was always strong and solid and never waif thin enough to maintain a career on the flat.
What the hell, I thought – and I got writing.