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Diving industry’s gentle giant dies

Messages of condolences continue to stream in since news of scuba diver and businessman Aron de Gouveia’s death on Friday 31 January.

De Gouveia owned Scuba Africa, and was well known in the diving fraternity as a “mentor” who shared his love for the ocean with his students.

He operated his business in the New Harbour for 23 years after moving to Hermanus.

De Gouveia was born in Durban on 16 November 1957.

“He loved saying he couldn’t remember when he started diving,” says his wife Colleen, “he just remembers being in the water.”

Ironically, says Colleen, the first photo of Aron is of him in the water at approximately five-years-old with his snorkelling gear and flippers.

Aron’s love for the ocean guided most of his life. After school, he joined the Navy before he started working as a NAUI dive instructor in Sodwana Bay.

After meeting Anita Els in Durban many years ago, the two started Scuba Africa in Durban.

“Friends in Onrus invited them to do a diving course, and he decided to move to Hermanus,” says Colleen. “He loved the cold water and the abundant sea life along our shores.”

The highlight of Aron’s life was when he realised his lifelong dream to dive the naval shipwrecks off Scapa Flow, Scotland.

“He made his own BC and dived with a 10 l cylinder and a wetsuit, while the other divers wore dry suits,” Colleen said. “They were so impressed by what he had done, that Aron didn’t have to pay for the rest of his dives on the trip or any of his meals and food.” De Gouveia operated Scuba Africa in the New Harbour for 23 years. Being a man of many talents, he built his own shop.

“He also built his own house stone by stone. He was a man of the sea who could tell a story like no other,” wife Colleen said.

“He was a big man with a huge heart and he ‘adopted’ many sons whom he mentored along the way.”

The couple was married for 12 and a half years, which she describes as the best years of her life.

“I love him more than I thought was humanly possible,” an emotional Colleen said. “I don’t know what I will do without him.”

De Gouveia had to give up diving after being diagnosed with cancer, although this didn’t keep him from his beloved ocean. “It broke his heart, but he still went to the sea every single day,” Colleen remembers. He beat cancer but died from a heart attack.

Aron was also an avid biker and a skipper for the NSRI for many years.

A memorial service will be held at the Hermanus SMC in Roman Close in the Industrial Area on Saturday 15 February at 14:30. Colleen has requested people donate to the NSRI in Aron’s name in lieu of flowers.- Bianca Du Plessis

Q Aron Stanley de Gouveia 16 November 1957-31 January 2020

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