First of all thanks for visiting our website, while you are here I’d like to take the opportunity to introduce myself.
My name is Frank van der Linde and I am the person who, in 2004 together with my best friend Alex Staunbel, started our own company Worldwide Dive and Sail. Before I embarked on this exciting challenge many adventures happened and I’d like to tell you a few of them so you get a bit of a feeling about the person who is managing the company, the ideas I have and what I think Worldwide Dive and Sail and the Siren Fleet stand for.
I was born on a boat just outside Amsterdam (Holland) in a place called Aalsmeer. Living on a boat made me love the water and everything about boats from a very young age. When I was just 4 years old I had my first sailing lessons and I could almost swim faster than I could walk! With my dad being a boat builder I started (re)building my first boat when I was 13 & by 14 I owned my first boat. It of course helped a lot that I chose a technical side at school as diesel mechanic.
As a youngster I always dreamed about traveling and had a hard time making a choice between being a truck driver (I am a big engine lover) or a technical diver. At this time everybody in Holland had to go in to the army (national service) during which time I became a proud owner of my truck driver’s license and when the army time was finished I became a truck driver and delivered flowers all over Europe. So I was living my dream of travelling and getting paid for it.
After 2 years, and being an ambitious 20 year old, I set my sights a little further afield and had managed to save enough to buy a one way ticket to Australia. Oh my god did I love this country! I travelled and dived my way around the country – having my first taste of diving here definitely got me hooked on the sport that I still love today. In fact I got so hooked on diving that after a year of Australia and New Zealand I decided to discover what the waters of South East Asia had to offer, so off I set to dive my way around Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Now being in Vietnam and so close to China and the Trans Siberia I decided to go home all the way overland and that’s when I discovered my fascination with eastern Europe. Traveling around by train at that time in a region still very closed off was fantastic & I loved it so much so when I came back in Holland I looked for a job as a truck driver to drive all over the eastern bloc.
Boy did I love that job, I drove from Albania to Russia, Bulgaria to Latvia, Moldova to Poland and had the best time of my life. The speed reducers and cheap eastern Europe labour made an end on this life in the mid- nineties and that’s when I decided to make my other childhood dream come true.
I packed my bags again and left for Philippines where I became a Dive master and worked all over the place, the next step was instructor and that’s when I first made it back to Thailand where I was fortunate and they offered me a job with one of the biggest dive schools in south east Asia; Buddha View on Koh Tao.Having worked there for a couple of years my travel bug started to itch again and I decided to travel to the middle east, Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt where on the list and after working in Egypt for a few months I decided to do some more traveling again. I went back to Holland and traded in my old motorbike for a new off- the- road model and drove on my motorbike through Turkey, Iran, Pakistan & India all the way back to Thailand- where they offered me my old job as dive instructor again.
I worked on Koh Tao again for almost two years before I shipped the bike to South Africa where I started another adventure; driving back over land to Holland. I drove all by myself in almost 18 months through 36 countries. I visited the gorillas in Uganda, Etosha in Namibia, saw lions in Tanzania, Lalibella in Ethiopia & experienced great days of lonely driving through Darfur in Sudan. I had days with 7 flat tires in Chad, did a lot off Piste in Mauritania and Senegal, but all in all the best time of my life.
After reaching Holland I went straight back to Thailand for more instructing and organising liveaboard diving trips. In the beginning of 2004 I started to look for something for myself and I found a nice wooden sailing boat built in Indonesia. Many things had to be changed so I asked my dad to give me a hand and in November the first boat of the Siren Fleet was in operation! It was not an easy start with having in the 2nd month of operating a tsunami passing by but we managed to survive the first year and from then on our team (family I call them) became bigger and bigger with more and more destinations and a few more boats.
Like all the liveaboard yachts of the Siren Fleet I am still designing and building the boats together with my dad and hopefully we can find many more destinations where we can make some happy customers, my saying has always been diving is for everyone and the main goal for Worldwide Dive and Sail is to achieve this in as many places as possible and to make sure that you have fun and the best diving holiday/experience ever.
Thanks for taking a moment to read my short life story, I hope to be with you on the boat one day, and to everyone who is with us already for a long time, “Sampai jumpa” and “Sumpai jumpa lagi”, (these were the names of the first two boats) and that means "see you" and "see you again" in Bahasa Indonesia.
Frank van der Linde,Founder/Managing Director Worldwide Dive and Sail.
Photos by Aaron Wong & Kathy Mendes