ForeverMissed
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