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Meet the Sardine Safari 2023 Team!

It's the exceptional staff that truly sets us apart. With a wealth of experience, warm personalities, & passion for the ocean, the team ensures an incredible & safe experience for all.

Meet the Expert Instructor: Deon Loubser aka “The Boss”

Deon is one of those people that you’ll like from the first time meeting him. Just in passing conversation you can tell that he has a wealth of knowledge about the ocean, skipping, boats, & all things scuba diving.

Deon is not your average technical scuba diver. With a zest for life & a passion for adventure, he dives deep into the depths of the ocean, exploring underwater wonders that most can only dream of. But Deon's uniqueness doesn't end there. Along with his diving gear, he carries a memory bank filled to the brim with jokes & stories. His infectious laughter echoes through the water as he entertains fellow divers during surface intervals & boat rides. Whether it's a hilarious anecdote or a captivating tale, Deon always has a witty remark or a gripping narrative up his sleeve. To share his love for the underwater world, Deon established Buddy Scuba Diving Adventures, a thriving dive center where he welcomes divers of all levels, guiding them through incredible dive experiences while making sure laughter is always part of the journey. With Deon around, diving becomes more than just an adventure—it's a celebration of life, laughter, & unforgettable memories.

Buddy Scuba Dive Adventures, is a NAUI dive centre that offers:

Reef & Wreck dives

Tech & Rebreather dives

Shark Cage dives

Baited Shark dives

Technical & Recreational level dive training (NAUI - All levels)

DAN Training courses

Next up, “The Big Boss” Rina Loubser

Yes, you guessed it, Rina is the better half of the team that makes up Buddy Scuba. A highly qualified scuba diver herself, with a warm hug & friendly smile every time you see her. Genuine friendliness & warm hospitality… we could go on & on and on.

Rina works her magic behind the scenes, creating culinary delights that warm the hearts and bellies of divers & visitors alike. Rina is up early every morning, making sure the coffee is hot, & the rusks are fresh & home baked.

The aroma of her famous toasted sandwiches wafts through the air, drawing people in with their irresistible sizzle & mouthwatering fillings. Let's not forget the warm facecloth that you're offered you as you hit the beach, and the fluffy towels that await you when you get out of your wetsuits.

But it's not just her culinary talents that make Rina special. She possesses a heart of gold, always ready to lend a helping hand or offer a kind word. Her warm smile brightens up any room, making everyone feel instantly welcome and cherished. Rina is the quiet force that keeps Buddy Scuba running smoothly, ensuring that every diver's experience is not only filled with adventure but also accompanied by the comforts of home.

Deon & Rina are a wonderful team, who are dedicated to sharing their love for the underwater world. These experienced professionals have explored Umkomaas' diverse marine ecosystem extensively, allowing them to provide valuable insights & guidance to divers of all levels. Whether you're a beginner or an advanced diver, they'll tailor their instruction to meet your needs, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable experience.

When it comes to an exceptional diving experience in Umkomaas, Buddy Scuba Dive Adventures stands out for its experienced & friendly team. Their expertise, commitment to safety, personalized service, & warm hospitality create an environment that fosters unforgettable underwater adventures. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced diver, they will be your trusted companion in exploring the awe-inspiring beauty of the ocean.

Meet the “Admiral” Mike Knuyt

No, he’s not a real-life admiral, but when it came to nicknames, Deon dubbed Mike as the Admiral.

Meet Mike, the scuba diving enthusiast, recruiter of scuba divers, & the proud owner of Jolly Roger Boating—a rib-tickling boat shop that's as hilarious as it is seaworthy.

Mike developed an insatiable passion for scuba diving. The underwater world fascinated him, & he soon became an experienced diver with an unquenchable thirst for adventure. But Mike's love for diving didn't stop at exploring the depths; he also had a knack for bringing people together & forming lasting connections.

Recognizing his natural talent for connecting with fellow divers, Mike took up the role of recruiting new scuba enthusiasts. Armed with his buoyant personality & an arsenal of cheesy jokes, he would lure aspiring divers with promises of unforgettable experiences & laughter-filled dives. But it doesn't stop there. Mike often organizes scuba diving trips, taking them to new & unexplored dive sites. On these trips, his jokes & wisecracks reach new heights. He once quipped, "What do sharks eat? Beans, Human Beans!" The laughter that ensued could be heard underwater.

While recruiting divers was a fulfilling endeavour, Mike's entrepreneurial spirit couldn't be contained. Inspired by his love for the sea, he established Jolly Roger Boating—a boat shop that specialized in RIB boats (Rigid Inflatable Boats), “because it’s the only boat that comes with a life jacket” he says.

Mike, the scuba diving enthusiast, recruiter of scuba divers, & owner of Jolly Roger Boating, proved that laughter truly was the best dive buddy. His unique approach to life & business brought joy to those around him & turned ordinary dives into extraordinary experiences. So, if you ever find yourself in need of a rib-cracking good time both on land & underwater, seek out Mike & his Jolly Roger Boating shop—he'll ensure your scuba adventures are flooded with laughter & unforgettable memories.

“The Skipper” Aldo de Kock (now also named Binoculars or “Bino’s”)

Aldo is born and raised by the ocean, his understanding of the weather, tides, currents, & ocean life is remarkable.

A blonde-haired, bare foot, cap wearing, skipper wonder. Once you’ve been on a boat with him just once, you will fully understand what we’re talking about. With his sun-kissed hair flowing in the wind, Aldo commands his boat with finesse & skill. He possesses an innate understanding of the sea, its tides, & the hidden secrets it holds. Guiding his vessel through treacherous waters or tranquil bays, Aldo is a master of the maritime domain.

But what sets Aldo apart, aside from his undeniable talent as a skipper, is his dedication to the barefoot lifestyle. While others don sturdy boots or slip into deck shoes, Aldo embraces the freedom & connection with nature that comes with going shoeless. Whether he's manoeuvring the boat or casting his fishing line, his feet are firmly planted, unencumbered by any footwear.

Okay so why “Bino’s”? He can spot something miles away… it’s amazing! We’re all quietly staring off into the distance when he suddenly gets excited because he’s spotted dolphins, whales, birds, sharks, you name it… all from the deck of the boat!

He is always friendly & smiling, no matter what time he’s got to be up to take you out scuba diving. And once he’s got us all back safely on land, he heads out to go fishing…. Aldo is happiest, on the ocean!

So, the next time you spot a boat gracefully gliding through the water, led by a barefooted skipper wearing a cap, know that you've encountered Aldo—the fisherman, skipper, & scuba diver whose passion for the sea knows no bounds & whose footsteps leave an indelible mark on the hearts of those who have the pleasure of being on a boat with him.

And finally… Dale Christelis our DM (dive master) or OG (ocean guide for those day visitors that didn’t want to jump in the water)

Allow us to introduce you to Dale, the enigmatic dive master who exudes a curious blend of Zen-like serenity & a touch of delightful madness. With a wealth of experience, Dale's soul resonates with the rhythms of the ocean, & his passion for its wonders knows no bounds. He very kindly took the time to join us for the 2023 season.

As a guest, he ensures that all your scuba needs are taken care of, & don’t try help him… he’ll get upset! Early morning kit ups are filled with songs by Jeremy Loops, a smiling face, followed by a very informative briefing before heading out onto the ocean.

Dressed in vibrant diving gear that mirrors the kaleidoscope of colours beneath the waves. His eyes sparkle with a profound sense of awe as he recounts the countless encounters with magnificent marine creatures that have left an indelible mark on his heart. With each dive, he unravels the secrets of the underwater world, forever hungry for new discoveries & eager to share his love for the ocean with fellow adventurers.

Dale's approach to diving reflects his unique blend of Zen-like tranquillity & quirky eccentricity. While he values mindfulness & a deep connection with nature, he's also known for his spontaneous antics that bring laughter & joy to those around him. As he guides divers through the depths, his soothing voice intertwines with bursts of infectious laughter, creating an atmosphere of pure exhilaration.

But make no mistake—Dale's serene demeanour is complemented by an unmistakable touch of craziness. He has been known to entertain divers with impromptu dance moves on the boat, “the sardine dance” he calls it, a display of uninhibited joy. His laughter echoes through the water, captivating both divers & marine life alike, as if the ocean itself joins in on the revelry.

Dale is also one of those people who takes initiative, when the weather is grey, & scuba can’t happen… He hosts an impromptu breathing technique & free diving class (albeit in a freezing swimming pool). Just to make sure, you’re kept busy, learning, & having fun at the same time.

Yet another fun-loving member of the team that is passionate about the ocean, sharing experiences, & teaching all he can along the way.

Behind the scenes…

Within our Sardine Safari team, an individual ensures that every aspect of our adventure goes according to plan. Meet Karyn, the mastermind behind the scenes, working tirelessly to orchestrate a seamless experience for everyone involved. From managing IT operations to crafting engaging social media posts, Karyn's multifaceted role ensures that every detail is attended to, leaving no room for hiccups or mishaps.

The architect of smooth operations, Karyn is the backbone of our Sardine Safari team, responsible for the smooth execution of our endeavours.

As one of the organizers, she leaves no stone unturned when it comes to planning & coordinating each element of our adventure. Karyn's exceptional organizational skills & meticulous attention to detail ensure that every logistical aspect, from transportation to accommodation, runs like clockwork. Her ability to anticipate potential challenges & find innovative solutions keeps our team on track & ensures a seamless experience for all.

Karyn also “Mike’s better half” takes on the responsibility of sharing our Sardine Safari journey with the world. Through her adept social media skills, she crafts engaging & captivating posts that captivate our audience. Karyn understands the importance of storytelling & uses her creativity to showcase the unique experiences & wonders of our adventure. Her ability to connect with our followers & convey the excitement & beauty of our journey enhances our team's visibility & creates a lasting impression.

Karyn, the driving force behind our Sardine Safari team, orchestrates every aspect of our adventure with precision and expertise. From her role as a meticulous organizer to her mastery of IT operations & social media management, she ensures that everything goes according to plan. We are immensely grateful for her dedication, as she creates a seamless experience for our team & amplifies our journey to the world. Her contributions as an organizer, IT wizard, & voice of our adventure make her an invaluable member of our team, deserving recognition for her exceptional skills & unwavering commitment to our shared success.

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