Interview speakers 2024

Underwater stories, away from the hustle and bustle


Text Rene Lipmann

Jeanette Kamphuis films underwater, her video blogs are a kind of miniatures. With a different animal in the spotlight each time. She will take you to stage 2 on February 3 at 2:00 PM Underwater stories liveinto another world.

What does water mean to you Jeanette? Coming home?

Water, and especially seawater, indeed means a kind of homecoming for me. The weightlessness, the muffled sounds and the soft light make me completely relax. Away from all the hustle and bustle in the world.


You obtained your first diving license in 1996, what prompted you to start diving?

I was curious about that beautiful underwater world. As a child I spent more time swimming under water than above water. Always looking for small animals in the shallow water. I remember the sea urchins and colorful fish in the south of France, and the crabs, jellyfish and starfish in Zeeland. I could entertain myself with that for hours. It already felt like a different world then. 

Were you immediately sold? 

Yes!! I got my first license in Eilat in the Red Sea. It felt like jumping into an aquarium. I still remember well the colors of all the animals and the many meters of visibility in that clear warm water. I knew I wanted to do this much more often. Finally, after a number of holidays, I became a member of the NOB in 1998 and since then I have been diving regularly in the Netherlands.


The Maldives, Philippines or Zeeland?

It's nice to travel and discover new countries. But ultimately the special thing about traveling is coming home enriched with those experiences. Diving at home means diving regularly and getting to know your surroundings better. That's why I choose Zeeland. What I also really like about the Netherlands is that we have four seasons. You also have them underwater, which many people don't know.

In 2011 you started filming underwater. What is your approach underwater? Get into the water and film what you encounter?

Haha, it's a bit of both. Knowledge of the underwater world helps. What can you expect when and where? On the other hand; it remains nature. I always have to wait and see whether what I come up with in advance can actually be found and filmed. A good example of where this has been successful is a nest of sea bull toad eggs. Dad guards and cares for the eggs until they hatch. This takes place in winter and the whole process takes about six weeks. The first time my diving buddy and I found such a nest in January 2022, the eggs were still small. We went back every weekend afterwards to monitor the development until the eggs hatched. Fantastic to see! It resulted in a few hours of film material. I ended up making a five minute video of this. What drives me further in my choice is my curiosity. Always discovering and describing new animals. Nature is home to many more beautiful things that you may initially swim past.


What is the idea behind your video blogs? Share stories?

Let's share stories! That is my starting point. With my video blogs I tell what I experience under water. I love stories, I love language – I like to read myself – and I find the power of language fascinating to take you into another world. And visual language is accessible and approachable. The format of a short video of approximately 1:30 minutes with a short blog of approximately 200 words emerged naturally and it now fits well with what I want to share. Plus, I like the interaction. I like to share experiences with other divers and non-diving nature lovers. 

Do your videos form a story in themselves, a portrait of a subject? Is there a bigger story behind it?

Yes, I choose to sketch a short portrait of an animal per video. To introduce the viewer to it, sometimes supplemented with my own experience at that moment under water. The video blogs are a kind of thumbnails. With a different animal in the spotlight each time. The bigger story behind it? Most people don't know this world and it's time for that to change. You don't destroy what you care about. I would like to contribute to that with my miniatures.


Do you have a favorite topic? What makes you happy underwater? What takes your breath away underwater?

Seahorses remain magical to watch. Especially when there are no other divers and they exhibit natural behavior. They eat, sometimes swim a bit, then eat again. Another magical moment was meeting a tiger shark in the Maldives. He swam straight towards my camera and all I said to myself was: 'keep your camera still, make sure the shot is sharp'. If it turns out to be successful, the fun afterward is just as much fun.

In daily life you are a coach, does coaching influence the way you film underwater and vice versa?

Yes, because as a coach and diver I am the same person. For me, diving means tranquility. That is exactly what I invite the coachee to do. Together we shine light on what is going on in his or her life. We take the time to look and feel what something is like. Everything is allowed. I also experience that under water. I have a diving goal that does not necessarily have to be achieved, but that gives direction to the dive. And in the meantime I experience myself in that weightless world. There is a focus on what I am doing and what I feel about it. The world becomes very small and clear for a moment. This experience in turn fuels my coaching. I am increasingly able to guide people to such a quiet place within themselves, where they can experience themselves and discover what moves them or holds them back from what they want to do. Powerful and delicate at the same time. People also see that in my films.


What does that mean?

I connect with what I encounter in an increasingly natural way, both above and below water. I prepare well and then I don't expect much anymore. I am increasingly guided by what happens to me. 

Where can I view and read your Underwater Stories?

On and on social media. You can find the links to the socials on my site.

At Duikvaker you will be one of the guest speakers on Saturday February 3 at 2:00 PM stage 2. What can I expect as a visitor? A kind of Underwater Stories live?

Yes! My plan is to show a number of videos and introduce each video with a shortened version of the blog. This is how I take you as a visitor underwater. I'll tell you about it “the making of”, how I come up with my underwater stories. I am curious about visitors' questions and I hope to inspire people to find their own creative form. 


Jeanette Kamphuis

Jeanette Kamphuis films underwater, her video blogs are a kind of miniatures. With a different animal in the spotlight each time. On February 3 at 2:00 PM stage 2, she will take you live into another world with Underwater Stories.

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