ForeverMissed
Ben Walzinger, aka Big Ben or Uncle Ben, has gone on the longest solo dive since 30 Sep 2018, 9am, in Pemuteran, Bali. He was originally from Saarlouis, Germany. He spen 22 years in Phuket, Thailand, before he moved to Bali in 2011. Ben started diving in 1985, became an instructor in 1989, an instructor trainer in 1994 and a tech instructor trainer in 2005. The last dive was his #7702 dive. He has devoted his whole life to diving education. When he's not teaching, he goes diving. He has given generously and impacted many people's life. Ben loves the deep blue, bread, chocolate, hot bath and nice people. We will remember him. 

Posted by monja huff on October 6, 2018
the spirit of the ocean…
I think unfortunately the moment has arrived!
the time to tell you my last word,
As hard as that it, It's time to say goodbye.
I always thought that one day you would not come back, that one day you would have your last dive!
here we are!
It's not important for me to know what happened,
the important is that you had your last breath in peace.
That you enjoy this last breath without fear and without pain, looking back with pride
That you enjoy this last breath in peace with yourself .. in peace with your life ...
I will miss you, my friend,
as you have always been united with the sea, now you are part of it,
that's where you are now ...you are part of the spirit of the sea!
Rest in peace, my dear friend…
Posted by Shahriar Vj on October 6, 2018
I did my first twin cylinder deep dive with uncle Ben,And he actually saved my life! I was nervous and was acting like a rookie! Things were getting ugly, But he noticed my anxiety, started writing a joke on my slate! And i felt calm and pulled myself together...
Thank you uncle Ben. Enjoy your eternal dive
Posted by Anja Brandes on October 6, 2018
Dear Ben, we've met in 2013. I did some tech courses with you in Tulamben and enjoyed it so much... You were a great instructor.. Thank you... Have the best dive ever...
Posted by Roby Fehlen on October 6, 2018
Met him in Phuket. We were about boarding the Poseidon, uncle Klaus Orlik's boat fir a trip to Racha Island.Talking Luxembourgish with my wife and children suddenly a voice came from behind: " Ah do sinn der aus dem Ländchen" ( Oh there are people from the "small" country). It was Ben, who, as a guy from the Saarland, understood our language. This was our first encounter and many followed until he settled over to Bali. My daughter Tina, touring through different countries in South East Asia, met him in 2016.
Hoped to meet him again, but this will unfortunately never happen.
He now is where he ever wanted to be.
"Schéine Grouss aus dem Ländchen, Ben!"
Posted by Miriam Ullrich on October 6, 2018
U was a create teacher and a amazing person... will miss u my friend.
Posted by Caroline Boysen on October 6, 2018
Big Ben was my friend, my mentor, my course director ... without him I won't be where I am now ... I'll never forget you, Big Ben ... R.I.P.
Posted by Renaud Wicky on October 6, 2018
Meet him a year ago for the 1st time,become friend from the 1st call,and feel like a lifetime friend,even family.
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Recent Tributes
Posted by Axel König-Wissel on August 26, 2020
Hallo Ben,  
Du warst mein Lehrer und Freund, du hast mir vieles beigebracht in deiner immer fröhlichen Art und so manch ein Banana Shake hat es auch gekostet.
Die Wochen 2005 auf Phuket als ich bei Dir den Divemaster Kurs erfolgreich meistern konnte, ebens auch als Du meiner Frau das Tauchen in deiner unendlichen Ruhe bei gebracht hast!
Im Oktober 2016 auf Bali/Tulamben hatte ich das Glück dich nochmal zu treffen und auch nochmal gemeinsam zu tauchen.
Deine Freude über den neuen Reisepass mit dem Wohnort Tulamben war kaum zu Bremsen.

R.I.P  wir werden dich nicht vergessen Axel und Alex
Posted by Stephan Hinterberger on May 19, 2020
Hallo Ben, einfach mal so zwischendurch Grüße aus Phuket. Wo auch immer du bist, Du bist auch immer in meinen Gedanken. Bis irgendwann mal.
Posted by Andreas Öberg on May 17, 2020
Ben my dear "old" friend, there is not a singel day that pass with out thinking of you and all great time we had! Today your loved www.thetecroombali.com adress expierd, so i made a transfer of the domain to my registrator so it can live as long i do.. In memorial of you! See you on the other side! /Youngster Öberg
his Life

Ben's early life before diving career (by Sabine Walzinger)

Ben was born on 18 March 1956 in Saarlouis, a charming town not far from the french border, in the west of Germany. His parents were independent businessmen leading a small fishmonger’s already in the 2nd generation. One might get the impression that his affinity for the underwater world is hidden in his roots. His 12 years older brother took over their parents´ business in the 3rd generation, whereas Ben followed his passion for cars, enrolling in studies of automotive engineering and eventually participating in rallies, which seemed to be much more exciting, yet not very sustainable, to him. 

He then explored his entrepreneurial side by starting small businesses in the gastronomy via distributing luxury clothes and even experimenting with real estate, always on the search for a business that truly fulfilled him. The Mindshift finally brought vacation on the Maldives, where he seemed to have found his destination. Fascinated from the underwater world he moved from that experience on to the eastern part of the world to turn passion to profession combining both.

Ben first became interested in diving in early 70’s, when they showed a film series of Jacques Cousteau on tv. It was called “The Secrets of The Sea” and he watched it with his parents. At the age of 15, on a family vacation to Italy, he tried diving but nobody explained to him how to equalize the ears. It wasn’t until 1985, at the age of 29, he started open water training in Kenya.

~ By Sabine Walzinger

Ben's life in Bali (by Adithra and Momo)

Ben’s life in Tulamben

As early as 1999, 2000 and 2001, Ben already came to Tulamben for few weeks to conduct instructor courses. Eventually, after 22 years in Phuket, in 2011 Ben decided move to Tulamben and work together with Ocean Sun to run a tec dive center. As the era of residing in this little town began, Ben started to introduce himself as “Ben from Tulamben” and it was another iconic name of him besides “Big Ben” or “Uncle Ben”.

In 2013, Ben constructed The Tec Room Bali and we made a new logo. He was quite proud of it. Under the operation of this dive center, Ben did technical dives and conducted courses. Whenever he was not teaching, he went diving.

One thing he didn’t like to do was night dives. At night, he preferred to stay dry and have dinner with friends or relax at home. Whoever asked him to do a night dive, he should have already known the answer. One of his favorite dive sites was Drop Off and Deep Garden, where sometimes he could see Mola-Mola while doing a deep dive.

Sometimes when he didn’t need to go diving, he would take his time to drive to South Bali for shopping and good food, especially pizza, pasta and gelato at Massimo. He was a bread addict, and also partial to Haribo, milk, chocolate and cake! He loved to eat chocolate or cake with a glass of milk.

Ben split his time between diving, home and good places for food. His favorite food place was Safety Stop, where his best friend Martin cooked the best German food in Tulamben. Every time Martin cooked for Ben, he was always happy, especially on Ben’s 60th birthday, when Martin made a special menu for Ben. His tummy was super happy on that night!

Ben also had a Baliness best friend Moyo. They always helped and took care of each other. In 2015, Moyo brought Ben to Mount Bromo. It became Ben’s first vacation since 4 years. It was a long drive to Bromo but Ben really enjoyed it. Not only Martin and Moyo, Ben also made a lot of friends in Tulamben. They made Ben’s life interesting and for sure Ben would keep them in his heart. Beside that, Ben’s old friends also frequently visited him in Tulamben.

In 2015, 2016 and 2018, Ben organized dive trips to Sri Lanka, to dive at HMS Hermes, the old aircraft carrier. He always stayed there for about a month, and his friends joined him over shorter and different periods of time. It was an adventure for him. The saturated blue of the deep and calm Indian Ocean gave him a different experience of diving, as compared to Bali. He always ate loads of chicken masala, and he also developed a love for the local cotton fabric.

Ben’s life in Pemuteran

Because of the eruption of Mount Agung in September 2017, in December 2017 Ben decided to move from Tulamben to Pemuteran. In Pemuteran, he met Renaud, the owner of Ocean Dreams. Ben became part of Renaud’s family and spent a lot of time with them. Ben tried to settle down in Pemuteran and he was excited about starting his new life. He found a nice house and built a new Tec Room at the backyard. He told people that he would spend the rest of his life at Pemuteran. Over there, Ben discovered a new reef, which he named “Ben’s Reef”.

On September 30th 2018, Ben went on the longest solo dive at 9am and this dive #7702 become his last dive. His passion always lied underwater and he was doing what he truly loved. He left us with many good memories and his beautiful smile. Let us keep him in our heart with this beautiful memory.

~ By Adithra and Momo

Recent stories
Shared by Damien Tredwell on October 18, 2018

Hello Ben’s friends and family,

I wanted to share a project that I have been working on in the Philippines. I currently work as an environmental scientist for a mining company and have been working over the past few years rehabilitating local reefs that have been significantly damaged by dynamite fishing and other bad practices by the surrounding local communities. Last year we were able to establish a 130 Ha marine protected area and have been actively installing Reef Balls and propagating coral. The project has been very successful and we are seeing a significant improvement to the local marine environment which is great news for our oceans. Ben and I would talk about this project and he had a very strong interest in it. He was always interested in marine conservation projects all around the world, and his love for the ocean was an inspiration for me to further the conservation works we have been doing here. My last conversation with Ben was 2 days before his last dive was about this project, and he was very excited to learn more.

Last week we deployed 594 reef balls in to out marine protected area, and this week we have started to recover and propagate corals that have been damaged through dynamite fishing, giving them a second chance. As Ben was so interested in the project I decided to dedicate this reef to our much missed Big Ben. I have made a temporary plaque for now, but a permanent brass plaque will be made soon.

Ben was my instructor, my mentor, my friend and an inspiration for my marine conservation work. Although this reef is in the Philippines I think it shows Ben’s reach around the world, and all of our oceans are connected. I look forward to seeing this reef grow and hope it serves somewhat as a memory to Ben and his love for the ocean.  

The Check List

Shared by Jeff Mullins on October 12, 2018

A few years ago at Seraya Secrets dive site, we had just finished diving and Ben was nearby preparing to dive with his student. He approached us quietly so his student didn't hear. He wanted to borrow my jet fins and boots, as he had left his behind at The Tec Room and didn't want to embarass himself by having to drive back to Tulamben and get them! He took the fins & boots and went diving, we then made up a humorous brief dive checklist for him on a piece of cardboard and placed it under the windscreen wiper of his dive van. Every time we crossed paths at dive sites after this, we would remind Ben " Don't forget your fins & boots". He told me a couple of years later that he still kept that checklist as a reminder, as he had never before forgotten his fins and boots!

See you underwater

Shared by Alex Yeo on October 8, 2018

Hi Uncle Ben,

Today I came to accept the fact that you had left us in this world. After one week of praying for a miracle, we know that you are now in a much happier place where you belong, the ocean you always loved.
We established a work relationship since 2013 and that had grown on to something special. You used to tease me by calling me "Uncle Alex", which I am still trying to find out why. But now I longed for you to call me that once more.
We have much respect and mutual trust between us. So much that I would like Rachel to learn scuba diving from you, if she ever wants to. I trust you to be a better mentor than I will ever be. But now, it seems I have some big shoes to fill.
I still remember doing all those early tech dives with you in Tulamben. You used to joke that crossing the road to get to the dive sites is more dangerous than the dives itself. I will always remember doing a 60m dive early in the morning and all you wanted was to look at some small nudibranches. 
But perhaps the best memory I had was doing a Free Diving course with you with the Spanish ladies! A veteran tech diver and a triathlete could not get any deeper than a school teacher on the course. What a joke!  
You had spent your last moments in the place you loved most, with you have the biggest smile and all of us covered in tears. In a way, I should not be feeling so sad about it, but I guess everyone you touched in your life can't help it. 
As the photo says it all "SEE YOU UNDERWATER". Memories forever. 
(Photo taken after Free Diving course, Tulamben 2017)