It was great to see both our Chairman and DO braving the elements in Portroe Quarry on Sunday for our first official Open Water Freediving session. Training in a colder environment has many benefits and the main one is to stimulate the human “Mammalian Dive Reflex” which all humans are born with but only very few get to re-awaken in adult life. This Reflex allows humans to dive deeper and longer on breathold with less effort and more ease. I found it facinating watching both Mike and Martin hanging around at 6 metres with such ease especially as both are only 12 months or so at this sport. Martin was returning slowly up the rope using his finger tips as if he was threading a needle and Mike was counting under water with an interesting technique “Missisipi 1,Missisipi 2 etc, etc” for seconds.(Martin did suggest he try Limerick City 1,Limerick City 2 etc,etc but Mike was in the zone). I believe Freedivers training in cold water is similar to a runner training with a parachute attached, once the parachute is removed the runner can run faster and once the freediver hits the warm water after training in cold is a heavenly feeling that has to be experienced to be believed. Well done again guys!
I arrived in Sharm El Sheikh on Sunday 11th Dec at 5:30 pm Egyptian time. The purpose of my trip was to complete the A.I.D.A*** 3-Star Freediver Training Course. Blue Ocean Freedivers arranged the Airport transfer to Dahab where I would stay for the next six nights. Brian Crossland , AIDA Instructor, who was going to be training Vladimir and I on the 4-Day Course has built a fantastic freediving training pool at his Freedive School in Dahab.
The pool is 30m long,1.5metres wide and 2metres deep the whole way. Pool sessions in the morning and Open Water in afternoons until we had a 2min 45sec Breath Hold and a 24m dive down the rope respectively. With Brian’s fine tuning I achieved a 3min 26sec Breath Hold on Day one and 28metres on my first Deep dive on Day 2. This was great as I only had to complete the lectures and sit the exam and then it was time for some fun diving and of course the trip to the “Blue Hole”.
By the 3rd Day I had broke the 30m mark and by Friday (at the Blue Hole) I was zipping up and down to 30metres + in several disciplines such as Free Imersion; Monofin; Bi Fins; Variable Weight; (see examples of these in the clips ). I learned a new technique to improve my equalisations at depth and my ears felt great all week. I hope to return next year to complete the AIDA**** 4-Star course which is the Assistant Instructor Level and maybe we might get Brian back to Portroe for a second AIDA Course in 2012. I would like to say thanks to Brian for a great experience and his huge emphasis on Safety Measures and of course that amazing 30m Pool and facilities.
Well done to Limerick SAC members Mike; Graeme and Martin for joining me for Freediver Training in Portroe at weekend. Sunday was crazy busy in the quarry and its great to see the the facility been utilized. We began with Safety around the lines and observation during the dive. Then it was getting correctly weighted and the all important Equalisation and Relaxation and also Recovery Breathing. Mike quite righly compared the whole process to “Golf” as it involves mental and physical preparation if its to be done to its best. Everyone performed well and Mike gave us a demonstration of a labrador exiting the water. I hope we did not scare any scuba divers while the lads were showing off there new techniques. I will put up some video clips of the event here.
THe GODS were with us in Kilkee on Saturday and that was Ronnie and Manuel, They were our tour guides for the day and they were out to impress. We started out with a safe pass through the rocks at Myles’s Creek and headed over past the crabs back on towards Bishops Island, we came to what the locals call “polenascutter” which was an interesting landmark which consisted of a large pipe pumping sewage into the sea. On towards the Sailors Grave and Crean island and Slate Island and Lion Rock ( hope I remembered the names correctly) but the highlight of the afternoon had to be the “Pink Cave” past Bishops Island. Manuel assured me that this was an ideal oppertunity to enter with the boat though I was very reluctant I finally gave in to his trust and WOW it was amazing. Apparently conditions have to be perfect and only arise every 3-4 years. Normally its the type of thing one sees on a sun holiday boat trip, It was flat calm in the cave which is rare and even Ronnie had never been in there before. The lights on the boat help illuminate the walls and it was really a site to belold. Thanks to Ronnie and Manuel for a great expeditious afternoon learning all the landmarks around Kilkee.
Thanks to our Chairman freediving has resumed in the Quarry, This evening Thurs 8th July we tested out our most recent attachment, our own custom made sled. This was its first test run and after some fine tuning we got it going smoothly, it still needs some slight modifications. Variable Weight Freediving involves using the assistance of a weighted device to reach greater depths and one returns to the surface under their own steam ie, finning or pulling up the rope. Some youtube clips will follow to give some idea how it works.
Having just complete my AIDA ** Freediver Training I would like to share some interesting observations while on the course. Firstly, if anybody in the club is going abroad on holidays wanted to do a little snorkeling between dives then make sure it is covered in your travel insurance. Apparently many insurance companies classify â€œsnorkelingâ€ as â€œswimming on the surface of the water with mask, snorkel and fins looking downâ€ and as soon as one duck dives it is considered freediving. So, check out the small print on your travel insurance policy if you intend to try a few duck dives. Secondly for anyone trying extended duration snorkeling this summer i.e. breathhold diving the breathing after the dive is equally as important as the breathing-up before the dive. This is according to Brian Crossland, AIDA Freedive Instructor and there is a specific method for â€œRecovery Breathingâ€ : Inhalation is aggressive with mouth open and exhalation is passive with mouth open and 3-4 of these are performed after every breathhold dive under the watchful eye of your dive buddy. This method helps to re-oxygenate the blood more efficiently and minimizes the risk of a blackout. Always remember if you intend freediving : Wait 12hours after a scuba dive before freediving and never freedive alone.
Summer time officially started in Portroe Quarry on Thursday 20th May, although you had to be early to get the warm sun on your back. We arrived at 6:30pm to find the water as still as a garden pond, what an evening for a spot of freediving. I was armed with my new head mounted video camera and had high expectations of some good deep footage. Tony and I began with a 10 minute ventilation warm-up and then took turns pulling down the first shot line. 15 minutes later and we were reaching the bottom which looked rather spooky with the covered in shaft. Pull downs and fin downs to 16-17 metres pleased us both for out first real training session in 2010. Tony and I are preparing for the first official Open Water Freedive course in Ireland which will take place (ash permitting) on the June Bank Holiday weekend. Instructor Brian Crossland based in Egypt is coming over to train up 4 people. Successful candidates will receive an international certification in Freediving. Here are a few clip of our training in preparation for this debut course. By the way try to hold your breath as soon as the duckdive begins and see how it feels.