When I read a first article in the local newspaper about an indoor diving centre in my backyard, somewhere first half of 2015, I was rubbing my eyes and making sure it wasn’t the first of April.
Indoor diving in Beringen, water temperature 23C° and tropical fish. It really sounded too good to be true at that time. The opening was foreseen in November 2016, so still a long time. I had kind of forgotten all about it when at Boot, Dusseldorf early 2016 we spotted this small stand ‘TODI indoor diving in Beringen, Belgium’. F*ck this thing was real, it was really going to happen.
Now being June 2017, I’ve been diving in TODI five times. It’s a real nice and practical indoor diving spot where you can practice your skills and discover what the place has to offer. It has quite some of the advantages of a nearby dive destination without the disadvantages of having no space to change your clothes, no toilet, no shower and the cold weather and water temperature.
For people that don’t know Beringen, Beringen is an old mining village in Flanders, where from 1906 till 1989 coal was gained. After closing it’s mine, like many others in the region, the entire site was in decay for over 20 years. The houses of the engineers and workmen were sold privately and most of them are quite well renewed. Recently and partially with government money the actual site itself is being transformed into a commercial and tourist centre with shops and stores and one of the cokes terrils, n°2, has become a nature reserve. But anyways TODI is located in one of the old cool-water-towers, at the back of the mining site, which certainly makes it special.
Arriving at TODI there is usually no issue in parking your car close to the dive centre. Once inside, the reception is right in front of you whilst the bistro and bar are to the left and the entry to the ‘Experience Zone’ being the diving area is to the right. Depending on whether you have rental gear or your own, you’ll get a coloured bracelet that let’s you enter the dive centre. Both the men and women’s change rooms are located on the ground floor. Put on your bathing suit or speedo and take the rest of your stuff into the elevator to the fourth floor and let the games begin.
When you brought your own gear like me, Mares BCDS and steel 10l bottles filled with air are at your disposal right at the entry. You have to put your own gear in a biological disinfecting bath for a moment before you enter the diving tower with it; this is mostly done not to bring any bacteria in that could harm the fresh water fish in the tower.
Once you jump into the water, you’re in TODI’s underwater world. The tower is round and about 36m wide and 10m deep. The water is indeed 23C° and slightly greenish. Besides 3 car wrecks, a train tunnel, a small swim true and a bar the tower is the home for over 2000 tropical fish partially bred for this purpose and partially taken over from Aquatopia that unexpectedly closed it’s doors in 2016. Right in the centre there is plateaus halfway were all kinds of rings are attached so you can practice your buoyancy.
All in all, if you’re a diver and living in the ‘neighbourhood’ I think it’s well worth the travel and the visit, more over because the food they serve in the bistro is very nice. 🙂
More information about TODI, the ultimate diving experience