The diving world lost a shining creative light on Monday (19 April) when underwater photographer Dray van Beeck passed away at the age of 60.
Even more tragic, Dray had just been on the road to recovery after cardio-pulmonary issues when he contracted dengue fever, which is currently becoming increasingly a problem in Indonesia where he was based.
On his Facebook page on 8 April, Dray had said ‘Ok, thanks 2021 for becoming worse by the day’ when he caught dengue, but in his own inimitable style, he added ‘Since I’m Dutch and survived much worse, it does only give me fever’.
I first met Dray and his wife Karin many, many years ago when they were working in the Red Sea on a Blue O Two liveaboard, and we became firm friends after I led several groups on their safaris. He had a wickedly dry sense of humour, and we enjoyed many a cold beer sat on the sundeck chatting about diving in general, underwater photography and just putting the world to rights.
He was immensely talented when shooting underwater, and some of his photographs have graced the pages of my diving magazines over many years, but more recently he had become more well known for his weird and wacky visual creations which fused many different elements. Not long ago he was awarded first, second and third places in the Creative category of the prestigious Beneath the Sea International Imaging Competition 2020.
Goodbye my friend, rest easy – you will be sorely missed.