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From the beginning of the 80's to nowadays, almost 40 years of history for the diving center
In Guadeloupe, when we talk about “diving”, we inevitably think about “Les Heures Saines”. Created in the 80’s, this diving center was among the first to settle in Pigeon Bouillante on the beach of Malendure, today “temple of the Guadeloupean scuba diving”.
Almost forty years later, “Les Heures Saines” is still there.
Today, perched on the rock of Malendure, the center faces the Pigeon islets. At the foot of the center, at the pontoon, the two boats that carry the divers, beginners or experienced, wait in turn for their passengers. But how did it all start ?
On October 24, 1983, Marie Noëlle REIMONENQ, and a friend who is a diving instructor, created the association “Centre de plongée subaquatique Les Heures Saines”. The aim of this association is to make people discover the underwater world by combining sport and the possibility to spend time having fun in a healthy way. The association is domiciled at Carbets Commercial – Escalier 2 Raizet, 97139 Les Abymes (JO of 11/11/1983). The diving center is installed in Gosier.
The office of the association is then composed of Henri CHAULET as president and Marguerite CHAULET dit Magguy, born REIMONENQ, as secretary.
A boat had to be found. The Maritime Affairs proposed one for sale after a seizure by the Customs and the BNP. It is the association which acquires the “Yaïsa” with the marina of Gosier as home port.
In order to develop the activity, partnerships are made with the hotels “Frantel – Marissol” and “Novotel – Fleur d’épée” of Gosier. Excursions are organized to the ilets of Caret and Fajou, and to Petite Terre or La Désirade.
In 1985, other partnerships were signed with the Callinago and Arawak hotels, still in Gosier. And on September 1, 1985, the association became a company. Henri CHAULET and Marie Noëlle REIMONEINQ created the “Société Antilles Plongée” (SIRET 333 697 076 00029) and kept the commercial name “Les Heures Saines”.
In 1987, Daniel MELL of passage in Guadeloupe proposes to them to install the diving center on the rock of Malendure.
“I have been a National Instructor since 1970 and in May 1979, in order to thank me for my commitments in the training of executives in France, the FFESSM, and Guy POULET then president of the National Technical Commission (CTN), asked me to go to Guadeloupe to set up a course and an examination for auxiliary instructors, what is called today MF1.
I discovered Guadeloupe and fell in love with it instantly. I met the people in charge of the Regional Committee, including Bob Séverin, with whom I became friends. I tell him that if he sees an opportunity for me to move to Guadeloupe, I’m in!
During the auxiliary monitor training course, it is the “Nautilus Club”, created in 1974 by Bob SEVERIN in Abymes and which will move in 1976 to Malendure in a building which will become later the restaurant “Chez Loulouse”, which ensures the logistics while relying on the “Club Med” installed on the rock of Malendure. This is how I discovered this magnificent place.
Nine years later, in May 1987, I was then vice-president of the FFESSM and deputy president of the CTN, I was sent by the federation to answer a request from the Regional Committee of Guadeloupe.
During my stay, Bob Severin, who remembered my request in 1979, put me in touch with Henri CHAULET who wanted to sell a diving structure in a hotel in Gosier. I am not interested in this structure, but I tell Henri CHAULET that I know WHERE and HOW to set up a real diving center that will be superb, envied by all and profitable.
My project :
The place: I know that the infrastructure of the Rocher de Malendure is available since the “Club Med” has closed, and this site makes me dream!
The logistics : since I set up the TIV at the FFESSM with Jean-Pierre MONTAGNON, I have privileged contacts with all the brands of diving equipment, Bauer for the compressors, and I know that I will obtain very interesting conditions.
The originality: the tanks will be equipped with stabs and the regulators with manos. The inflation will be done on board to offer unequalled comfort and still envied to this day.
Promotion: I am known by all the clubs because of my actions in the training of managers and especially the setting up of the TIV.
Very interested, Henri gave me an appointment at the “Route du Rhum” at the marina of Pointe à Pitre the following Saturday to have dinner with his wife Maggy who manages the company “Antilles Plongée”. That’s when the magic happens and I understand how enterprising these people are! After 3 hours of discussions about the project, Henri and Maggy were enthusiastic about my proposal and asked me to draw up the budget.
Obviously, as soon as I came back to France, at the end of May 87, I put all my efforts into the project and it’s Beuchat who commits itself to me by providing me with the complete equipment at a very interesting price. Bauer is seduced by my onboard inflation strategy, they are going to help me. From the start, I know that I need 2 compressors because, given the distance from the mainland, I need to be able to ensure that if one compressor breaks down, I can do it. Moreover, in order to be able to inflate the boats quickly, I need 10 buffer bottles of 50 liters at 350 bars.
To assist me efficiently, I need to find an efficient assistant. I quickly think of Dominique DÉRAMÉ whom I trained in Trébeurden, whom I liked and whom I know that his cooperation contract in Tunisia will not be renewed.
I therefore proposed him to accompany me in this project as assistant director. He told me that he already had a proposal from the CREPS in Antibes and asked me for 15 days to think about it. A week later he responded favorably to my proposal.
In November 1987, I asked Dominique to leave as a precursor in order to start preparing our installation: search for an accommodation with 2 rooms, cleaning and repairing of the premises, installation of the riggings, revision and transfer of the Yaïsa from the Gosier marina to Malendure, installation of a platform at the back of the boat, in short to make the existing operational.
As for me, I have to stay in mainland France until the end of the Boat Show (from December 5 to 14) in order to promote the “Healthy Hours” on the BEUCHAT stand where a booth has been reserved for me. I designed and had printed a superb brochure presenting our center. Marion FAUVEL, a friend who is secretary at the diving center of Trébeurden that I created in 1967, accepts to be our contact in France, which is an asset of major importance.
I joined Dominique on December 16th and I started to design the secure racks for the bottles that would be inflated on board. In addition, I am in charge of the promotion on the island, meeting with the authorities and in particular the departmental director of the tourist office.
As for the accommodation of the clients, individuals or groups, Henri CHAULET puts us in touch with the ROSTANT family who agrees to put at our disposal 8 rooms in a beautiful house and who arranges a very beautiful old hut “L’Espérance” in rooms from 2 to 6 beds.
One of their daughters will take care of the reception, full board or half board.
We are impatiently waiting for the delivery of the equipment which arrived by boat and is still stuck in the customs department of Pointe-à-Pitre. Around Christmas 87, a truck dropped off all the equipment at the foot of the Rock: 25 complete sets of equipment, 10 50-liter buffers, 2 compressors of 26 m3/hour at 350 bars. Dominique and I look at each other and wonder how we are going to get it all into the building.
I may have the solution . .
It’s been a week since I arrived and I met a handful of Guadeloupeans while running on the beach in the morning, most of them are unemployed. I tasted some ti’punchs with them at Gilbert’s (the lolo near the rock). So I go to see him to ask for reinforcement and I tell him that their price will be ours! In a quarter of an hour eight Guadeloupeans come to lend us a hand and 3 hours and a half later everything is back in the premises.
I invite our helpers to a ti’punch at Gilbert’s to thank them and to pay them. As I told them that their price would be mine, I ask them how much I owe them. I had to ask the question 3 times before the oldest of the group stood up and said “Daniel, you are a “family man”, between you and us there is no question of money”.
The reason for this generosity on their part, when they didn’t have a penny? I was simply interested in them, since my arrival, every time I met Guadeloupeans in Malendure I introduced myself, I explained what I was doing, I asked them how they lived, if they had children, if they had a job. That’s how I knew that most of them were unemployed. Of course I had to thank them for their work and I found the solution by giving a good amount of cash to Gilbert to distribute fairly.
The next morning, while unpacking the material, we realize that we miss the regulators, it is the catastrophe! We have to find a solution quickly. To bring them by plane is going to cost us a fortune, so I have an idea. Among my friends in France I have a boy that I trained to dive in Trebeurden since he was 13 years old and that I prepared at all levels until MF2. He is Jean-Yves LE DAUPHIN who is then a pilot at Air France. I contact him and he agrees to sacrifice his family vacations to come and bring us the missing regulators, we are saved! We spend New Year’s Eve together and we can open on January 1st 1988 as announced !
A technician from BAUER came to install the 2 compressors, the 10 buffer cylinders and, on our pontoon, the cylinder inflation control system which, let’s not forget, remain on board the Yaïsa for the comfort of the clients but also of the management.
We had promised to help him but some clients are already here and we have to make them dive ! We went to inflate our tanks at the Nautilus Club on the beach of Malendure. This is how we inaugurated “Les Heures Saines” at the end of 1987.
I already launched the promotion of the “Healthy Hours” in France before leaving but in Guadeloupe everything remains to be done.
The first presentation leaflet
Insert to the 1st brochure
I make an appointment with the directors of the hotels of Gosier, where all the tourists who come on vacation to Guadeloupe are concentrated, in order to present them our Center and to propose a collaboration. I obtain the authorization to come and present a 10-minute slide show during the welcome evening in several hotels. Thus, I go 3 times a week to the hotels of Gosier, Sainte-Anne and Basse-Terre.
In addition, in order to go to the beaches to promote the center, I put together a binder containing underwater photos that I had taken in 1979 and photos of our premises and diving equipment. This initiative is extremely profitable because not only do I succeed in convincing vacationers to come and do baptisms, but above all I meet residents who are very interested either in coming to dive themselves, or in proposing an activity out of the ordinary to their family and friends coming from the mainland. We create a “residents’ club” which allows us to organize a life around the Center.
For several months we are only 2 supervisors, Dominique and I, to run the Center, which makes for long days. We propose 3 departures: 10 am, 12:30 pm, 3:30 pm and each time we make 2 dives, which makes 6 dives per day. Obviously this can make some people jump but we “entrust” our decompression to our Aladin computers. Thanks to our on-board inflation system, we need less than 30 minutes to refill the tanks, one of us takes care of the inflation, the other one manages the restitution and the distribution of small material.
We organize ourselves to do the deeper dives in the morning and we end the day with baptisms. Once a week we organize a night dive and when possible we don’t leave at 3:30 pm that day. Fortunately, some of our instructor friends come to lend us a hand from the mainland! In particular Jean-Yves KERSALE, Patrick DEBY, Jean-Pierre BOCHEREAU. It is also the case of Florence BEAUFRERE, state instructor who helps us at first voluntarily and that we will recruit a few months later to face the increase of the frequentation of the Center.
When we receive clubs from metropolitan France, we organize an outing for them at 8:00 a.m. and we reserve the 3:30 p.m. outing for them, which leaves them time to visit the island.
I do the accounts every evening and I bring the cash box to Magguy CHAULET every Friday in Cabout, Petit-Bourg, after having gone to do a projection in a hotel in Gosier. I am received very warmly, I feel good there, like a family.
Daniel MELL will be the president of the COREGUA, regional committee Guadeloupe of the FFESSM, from 1987 to 1990. But after 18 months in Guadeloupe, he had to return to France. It is Dominique DÉRAMÉ who takes the reins of the diving center. Later Dominique will be assisted by Louis GALBIATI. Dominique will also become president of the COREGUA from 1990 to 1996. Louis GALBIATI will succeed him from 1996 to 2002.
In May 1991, a first boat was sunk to become a diving site near the Ilets Pigeons: the Gustavia.
On October 1, 1993, Dominique DÉRAMÉ bought the “Société Antilles Plongée” which became “Guadeloupe Plongée Loisirs” (SIRET 393 645 882 00019). On November 1, 1993, Laurent BLANQUART, known as “Loran” signed his contract as the first employee of the new company. From that moment on, a professional and durable team was formed.
In June 1994 Dominique DÉRAMÉ created the Union of Professional Diving Centers of Guadeloupe (SCPPG). The goal is to gather the professional structures of leisure and tourist diving, to be represented in front of the administrations and territorial communities for the defense of the interests of the members in front of these same organizations, and to ensure the promotion and the recognition through a quality label.
At the same time, the “Paradis Créole” adventure began:
In order to offer a complete range of services to divers, diving, accommodation and catering, Dominique DERAME created the “SOC Hôtelière de Pigeon” in June 1994 with the hotel-restaurant “Le Paradis Créole” on the heights of Pigeon. A gastronomic restaurant will then be offered to customers. In 2010, Fréderic MASSIEU will take over the management.
In 1996, never short of projects, Dominique launched the construction of a catamaran dedicated to diving. The “Cata-Dive” is the third specific diving boat (after “Planète bleue” in Martinique) designed and built in Martinique by the “Multicap-Caraïbes” shipyard.
Resolutely turned towards a professional practice, the boat is registered and armed with the Commerce. It is therefore able to transport passengers. After the delivery of the boat, twice a week, a day trip is proposed to the archipelago of the Saintes with notably the diving on the mythical Sec Pate.
Also in 1996, Dominique fought to obtain authorization to submerge a second wreck, the Franjack, which sank on June 9, 1996.
In July 1996, Hervé Hulin signed a permanent contract with ” Guadeloupe Plongée Loisir “. He will remain an instructor at Les Heures Saines until 2018. At the same time, Bruno LIEVAL is also recruited as a diving instructor. He will continue the adventure at Les Heures Saines as a pilot of the Cata-Dive, especially for cetacean observation trips.
In 1997, the training of the Brevet d’Etat d’Educateur Sportif is made compulsory. It is no longer enough to take an exam, you have to follow a modular training imposed by the state. Immediately, the center “Les Heures Saines” takes position on the implementation of this training. A file was put together to finance the entire training. The content of the training must be elaborated and validated. The first training session over one school year has 13 candidates registered.
In 1998, fate will put the center on a new project. It was the year of a total solar eclipse. To take advantage of this exceptional event, the center proposed to the regulars to spend an afternoon at sea. A friendly and magical moment, in addition to the total eclipse of the sun, a group of sperm whales is observed…
Rénato RINALDI Le « Cata-Dive » pour
l’observation des cétacés
Sortie d’observation des cétacés Le Cata Dive avec un ban de dauphins
So, “Les Heures Saines” is launching a new product: trips to the open sea aboard the “Cata Dive” to meet cetaceans: sperm whales, dolphins, pilot whales, humpback and beaked whales. This activity is programmed in partnership with the association “Evasion Tropicale”. In 2019, they are the ones who will take over the whole activity of cetacean watching with the company “Vie Marine Caribéenne”.
In 1999, “Les Heures Saines” opened a branch on the beach of Petite Anse, heading south from Bouillante, in a hotel that would later become an EPHAD.
Then begins the Zen period
During this period, other activities are proposed, such as hiking in the rainforest with or without bivouac, and for all levels. Then, in response to the craze for green tourism, “Les Heures Saines” will offer aqua-hiking. It is about descending a river by your own means without the help of ropes, harnesses or any other equipment. The spirit was to travel through the rainforest following the course of the river.
Les Heures Saines Zen Les Heures Saines Zen Les Heures Saines Zen
Plongée Rencontre cétacés Randonnée
Still in 1999, “Les Heures Saines” started to offer Nitrox diving.
The first objective is not to reduce the time of stop for saturation dives, but to increase safety. Nitrox is systematically provided during the “2 Tanks Dive” trips offered with the boat “Miquelon” two to three times a week. As the inflation is done by the partial pressure method, it is possible to obtain mixtures up to 40% and for experienced Nitrox divers up to 80%. Instructors involved in deep training or training towards level 4 always dive with a Nitrox mix.
The boat “Miquelon” is an aluminum barge of 10 seats which allowed to make a supplement to the Yaisa on the dives to the ilets. It was used a lot for the “2 tanks dive” as well as for the N4 and MF1 training. It is also this boat that was set up in Petite Anse as a support boat for the “Heures Saines” annex in Petite Anse.
Cata-Dive, Yaïsa et Miquelon Miquelon
It was also in 1999 that Dominique created the Syndicat National des Entreprises de Plongée Loisirs (SNEPL) which later became the Fédération Nationale des Entreprises des Activités Physiques de Loisirs (FNEAPL) and then France Active.
Between 2002 and 2003, always to innovate, the center specializes in a soft and adapted approach of the diving. The team works with an association of aquaphobes “Les pieds dans l’eau”. One trip per year is organized for a group of 30 to 40 people.
In addition to the work done by the association, an approach is developed and implemented by “Les Heures Saines” during several-day courses, so that each aquaphobic can take a baptism at the end of the trip. This experience led us to imagine a “softer” approach to diving and especially to become fully aware of its therapeutic virtues. It was necessary to combine Diving-Relaxation-Sophrology.
This concept was set up and animated in collaboration with Jean Jacques Gauthier (physiotherapist masseur, specialized in sports pathology / sports and health / micronutrition, sophrologist and diving instructor, Director of the SPA Espace Amphorm center and General Commissioner of Aquae Panorama). Perhaps a little innovative for the time, these courses did not really meet their public.
Le local des shorty et palmes à coté de l’accueil sur la terrasse du club
In 2002, Loulou passed away. His ashes will be poured into the sea from the Cata-dive.
In 2003, “Les Heures Saines” expanded.
Work was done to increase the surface area of the premises and to install a Nitrox membrane compressor with three 50 L buffer tanks dedicated to Nitrox. Nitrox diving is then offered to seniors and for the second dives of people in training towards levels 2 and 3 during the afternoon dives.
At the same time, rebreathers were introduced (Drager Dolphin and Ray), as well as underwater scooters (Apollo). Dominique’s idea was to always remain innovative and to continuously offer new services and equipment to divers.
Always with a lot of projects to develop at the same time, Dominique carries the file of a new wreck, the Augustin Fresnel II. After many administrative problems, it was sunk on July 09, 2003, south of the village of Bouillante.
The premises are transformed again to take on a more colorful hue. It is the Eco-Tourism period.
In November 2003, the Miquelon turned over during a storm but resisted and did not sink. After some work, it will not appear anymore.
At the end of the 2003 dive show, at the end of December, a stand is opened at the BOOT in Dusseldorf. Frédéric MASSIEUX is in charge of the stand.
In January 2004, the municipality of Bouillante, in the presence of Mayor Philippe CHAULET, Alber Falco, Captain Cousteau’s chief diver on the Calypso, and Jean-Michel COUSTEAU, the Captain’s son, organized the installation of a statue of Captain Cousteau’s bust, made in 1998 by Albert FAGE, sculptor. He had even painted the cap in red. The good relations between Dominique DERAME and Philippe CHAULET, brother of Henri CHAULET of the first company owning the diving center “Les Heures Saines”, makes that it is the Cata-Dive which is used as logistic support for the operation of installation of the bust on a sandbank at 10 m of depth on the diving spot of the Coral Garden.
The reason for this tribute is the fact that Captain Cousteau highlighted the site of the ilets Pigeon in the 1950s when he shot images for Louis Malle’s film Le Monde du Silence. It was also on the advice of Captain Cousteau that the site was placed in Reserve.
In 2012, the famous hand with its “ok” sign came off. Found by divers, entrusted to the National Park and then to the Regional Committee of Guadeloupe (CoReGua) of the FFESSM and finally returned to its owner, the City of Bouillante, in December 2016.
In June 2017, the bust was cleaned and the hand again sealed in its place.
Unfortunately it quickly disappeared again.
In June 2004, an opportunity arose to have a booth in the aisles of the Destreland shopping center.
In 2005, Loran was interviewed by a journalist in the club’s premises. The same year, Didou and Jannic, two instructors of Les Heures Saines, were interviewed on the radio RFO Guadeloupe.
In 2007, Dominique and Les Heures Saines organized a party for the 20th anniversary of the center on the rock of Malendure.
A dark period begins then.
At the beginning of 2008, the company “Guadeloupe Plongée Loisirs” is in financial difficulties. And a few weeks later, in the night of March 12 to 13, 2008, during a walk in the forest in the Vieux Habitants area, Dominique DERAME fell to his death. The whole Heures Saines family is in mourning.
In June 2009, Olivier SCHOTTE becomes the manager of the company “Guadeloupe Plongée Loisirs”. It is his passion for cetacean observation that brought him to the company.
The “Miquelon” was sold in 2009 by Olivier SCHOTTE and bought by “La bulle”, an associative diving club in Baie Mahault.
In 2012, the company “Guadeloupe Plongée Loisirs” is once again in financial difficulty. The company “SP EURL” of Stéphane PEREZ buys the diving and cetacean watching activities on December 24th, 2012. Stéphane relaunches the company by investing massively: complete renovation of the buildings, replacement of a compressor and purchase of a new boat, the “DEMELOU”. It is in homage to the first persons in charge of the diving center in Malendure that it will be named like this: ” DEramé ” ” MEll ” LOUis “.
Very quickly, the diving center “Les Heures Saines” becomes again a reference.
In January 2018, the “SARL Abia Location Guadeloupe” of Jean-Christophe BELIVIER buys back the diving activity branch from “SP EURL”. Nadine STOLL becomes the manager of the new structure.
The company “SP EURL” keeps the activity branch “Cetacean watching” which it continues to market under the name “Les Heures Saines” until the sale of this activity branch in 2019 to “Vie Marine Caribéenne”.
In order to keep the spirit of constant development that has been the guiding principle of Les Heures Saines since the creation of the brand, the new team continues to invest.