Freediving: Thoughts before and after descending into 22-meter deep with just one breath
After so many months of not diving. I told my friends that I am not sure if I still know how to freedive.
Like any other sports, you need to practice freediving to be better at it.
There was a time when I had been doing freediving almost every week. Practicing my breathing, equalization, finning and reaching deeper and deeper. I love freediving and I enjoy it, but at that time I was not doing it to be a better freediver. I am doing freediving because I enjoy the company of my freediving friends. I always have a great time with them.
Freediving for me is equivalent to hiking, a recreational activity that I do to have a better lifestyle, to make me feel happy, and an activity to keep my body active.
In all of the things I do, I’m always afraid to push my limits, especially in physical activities. I always consider myself not sporty. I can’t carry heavy things, I can’t push too hard because I do not have enough strength and always end up with bruises whenever I do.
Maybe that’s why I love freediving so much because the best way to do it is to let go of all the stress and relax all the muscles in your body. It’s like a three-step formula: relax, take a deep breath and dive!
Days before our trip to Moalboal with Orca Freedivers, a friend of mine, who always wanted to try something new, also wanted to try freediving and asked us about it.
She keeps on insisting that she is afraid because she is not a good swimmer.
I’ve known her for years, I know she is a scaredy-cat. I mean she is stronger than what she thinks she is, mentally and emotionally, especially right now in this stage of her life, and as her friend, I am very happy with her progress on her personal journey.
My boyfriend and I kept on convincing her to try it, preferably this year.
I told her that I was afraid too, especially during my first time; I am not a good swimmer too (until now). I am also a lazy one, and without fins, I wouldn’t want to swim. It is exhausting!
During my first freediving experience, seeing the deep blue was scary! Imagine seeing a vast blue sea and not knowing the kinds of things that are in there IS SCARY. It is like facing the unknown, literally!
I was truly afraid of the deep blue and doing freediving gave me a chance to face it, and eventually, I started to love the sea and the whole beauty of it.
Freediving allows me to enjoy the silence and the peace it brings with. Freediving made me feel the solitude that I always enjoy with myself, it feels a million times more beautiful. And most importantly, it teaches me to be at the moment, to enjoy the fleeting moment of me with the world, and just reflect in awe how small I am in this huge world of ours.
When I dive, it is just between seconds to minutes long, and for our busy life, those times are short and it seems that we can’t control it. But when I dive, each of those seconds counts, each second is wonderful, each second is memorable, each of those times is amazing.
I am not sure if those words convinced my friend, but I definitely missed doing freediving while saying those words to her at that moment.
ON THE DAY
We went to Moalboal for a fun weekend dive trip.
We spent a day exploring and diving the sites in Moalboal. It was fun but super tiring. I am not sure how many kilometers we swam to get to those diving sites. I do know that we spent more than 4 hours on the water.
At night, we had so much fun playing games and talking. A friend asked me, “When are you going to sleep?”. In case you do not know, freediving requires a good amount of sleep. It helps you relax underwater, and relax equals to good equalization. Good equalization equals to good dive.
I told her, “Even if I have enough sleep, I can’t still reach the plane wreck.” then I laughed.
That was an honest statement. In my entire diving experience, I have never EVER reached 20 meters deep. I always love to play around, but I am always afraid to try my limits. I think the deepest I’ve been was 16 meters doing a line dive, which was (if I recall it correctly), a year ago!
We went to the site of the plane wreck. We drifted our way from the shore to the plane wreck for more than 200 meters. On the location, the visibility was really good, more than 20 meters visibility and we can see the plane wreck clearly.
There were a lot of scuba divers when we arrived. We waited for them to clear the area.
I was confused at first because I thought it was a shipwreck. Hahaha.
Most of my friends started diving into the plane wreck the moment the area was clear. They, of course, had been our best divers.
Our coach, made a line so that we can just do line dives and swim to the wreck. It would be easy especially for a novice diver like me.
Most of the people are doing the dives already, I, on the other hand, am convincing myself that I can do it.
The visibility is good, plus there are a lot of people who can save me if the worst things happen, and I never tried my limit before, which I am most afraid of.
In my head, these are the words that keep on repeating: “I think I can do it.”, “Can I do it?”, “Of course!! I do whatever I want!”,”Am I really going to try?”…….and time passed by, I’m still observing the water (and my friends), while convincing myself to do it.
I went to the buoy, and then I started breathing up. I was preparing to check if my equalization is good. As I was waiting for my turn to do the line dive, I was freezing! The water was so cold and I was shaking.
Then finally, I hold my breath. In my mind: “Take in a deep breath and GO!”
I never wanted to go far as I was just wanted to test if my equalization is good, I felt good, actually…. I felt better, and so I went on and on, and then I can see I’m already near the plane wreck. I swam towards it, witnessing 22 meters down. It was quick. Then I started finning myself going up.
While finning, I couldn’t see anybody, I thought no one was there with me at the bottom, which was (still is) a scary thought. Hahaha.
The moment I arise, my boyfriend was saying “Ah! Good job! You had three diving buddies with you!”
What! Wow! I was smiling, ear to ear. I was ecstatic. I have never been that deep before. It felt surreal. Not because of how deep I’ve been to, but of how I pushed myself and defeat the limit I put to myself.
I think, I never did that before because I do not like to put pressure on myself especially physically (the reason I do not have abs. Hahaha), I always value myself as my only asset and I do not want to feel any unhappy sensations. But through this experience, I realized, during that dive 22 meters deep, that I cannot progress if I do not push myself harder.
Sometimes, when we do things we have never done before, fear won’t go away. So you have to do it afraid.