Breathe in deep, hold your breath, go underwater. Now you have free dived.
Why do people dive? For female Japanese divers called “Ama,” they do it to collect pearls from 20 meters deep. They have been doing so for the past 2,000 years. Our native divers in Samal Island do it for the same reason (I could not do further online research because I was flooded with irrelevant results from money-making dive shops when I tried to). I do it because it feels good.
I did scuba diving before I tried freediving. I got into it after Edwin, a.k.a. Lakbay Diva, posted an open invite on Facebook.
Scuba diving allows me to stay in the water longer and lets see more marine life, there is just so much gear that I have to wear. Freediving, on the other hand, makes me feel the water.
For days I have struggled to find the right words to describe why it feels so good. I even read through some freediving blogs just to know how other divers put the experience into words. But all the billions of ways that letters can be put together into words and the millions of ways that words can be put together into phrases cannot give expression to that feeling.
I guess it is just one of those things you do inexplicably.
I cannot deny that I get scared. For me, the scary part is not going down. It’s going up, because I often wonder if I could break surface before passing out. It would take minutes before that would happen and I only have enough courage to stay underwater for less than a minute. But it still scares me, a lot of the things I do scare me.
Instead of going all mushy about free diving, I would like to write about the boring stuff. Because it is the boring stuff that keeps us alive so we can do more exciting things.
1. Any underwater activity is inherently dangerous. That is why proper training is extremely important. I do not have any formal training yet but I will get one soon because it is the right thing to do.
2. Never dive without a buddy who can help you. Even if it is just six feet deep, never go without a partner who can get you out of trouble. Freediver Patrick Musimu, who once held the world record for diving 209 meters (yes, meters not feet), died while training alone in a swimming pool.
3. Listen to your body, it will tell you when to stop. Our conscious selves often push us to doing risky things. But it pays to listen to your body. If you ears won’t equalize or if start to convulse, then do not push yourself. I personally get back to surface as soon as I feel uncomfortable just to keep myself safe. Maybe after proper training, it would be a good idea to try to push my body’s limits.
An average human being breathes 18 times per minute. If you can only have one breath in a minute, what would you do? For me, I’ll freedive and enjoy every second of it.
Connect with me through Twitter @balmarsius. Join me in my next dive, bike, run, or rock climb.