One of the best feelings is doing something you didn’t believe you could do. A month ago, if you told me I could dive to almost 100 feet on one breath, I would’ve laughed or gotten really quiet (what I do when I’m scared.) But now I’m sitting here, amazed at what happened, and can’t wait to get back in and see what’s next. It’s official. I’m in love with freediving and all that it has to offer.
I did my first free diving course a few years ago, when one my blog followers, Niki Stepanek suggested I try out the sport. (You can read about how that went in this post, needles to say I was nothing short of enthusiastic.) Just the simple techniques learned there let me stay underwater for a rather long time, go pretty deep even without fins, and dabble into learning what our bodies can do naturally in the water.
Now it was time to kick it up a notch, to level 2.
It was a four day course taught in Kailua, Kona, with diving in Honaunau bay. Not too shabby. It was pretty intense, since you are dealing with an extreme sport, but Martin (Niki’s husband, who I swear is 2/3 fish) eased any fears, and explained everything perfectly. My fellow students (all dudes) rocked, and were totally supportive, even with my random jokes and firm belief in that there is no such thing as a stupid question.
To sum things up so I don’t write a book:
• In static apnea (where you hold your breath in a pool) I reached a personal best of 4:30. I am still in a bit of shock that that happened.
• Diving wise. I had a blast. It’s funny, the depths I did at the level 1 (66ft) were now warm up dives I could do with ease, and actually hung out down there for a while. Too cool.
• My goal was to reach 100 feet. On one of my dives before trying for that, I broke a fin. Bummer. But we rallied, and I put our other instructor’s fins on (thanks Dan), rolled up some socks to make them fit and got to try for triple digits.
• I didn’t make it to 100 ft. It was within reach though, literally an arms length or so. I couldn’t get one ear to equalize (thank you sick person behind me on the plane) …which I was bummed about (yes I’m competitive, and am still kicking myself). But hey, I was wearing a dude’s fins that were too big, and still set a new personal record.
…And it gives me a reason to go try again soon.
Needless to say, I am officially in love with free diving. It’s a killer workout, I feel at home in the sea, is one of the most peaceful experiences, has allowed me to have moments like this, and hey, it is one of the best feelings ever…doing something you never thought you’d be able to do.
Thanks Martin, Niki, and all the guys in class. Good times. I’ll be back soon. And am working on my form.
And held my breath the entire time I wrote this post.
Photos top to bottom: Diving down on one of my deeper dives (Martin is the person with perfect form accompanying me) // Swimming out to the line (aka dive site) // After our first day of diving. I felt like a free diving ninja. /// Honaunau