By freedivinguae

Facts about Freediving and its amazing records!

Since Dahab is one of the world´s main spots for freediving, almost every day I see freedivers around here practicing their skills (if I actually just look to my right now, I can see three different floating devices around 30-40m offshore). I am totally astonished by their abilities of holding their breath, relaxing to a point where the heart beat slows down to less then ten beats per minute and controlling their mind. I watched dozens of videos and just cannot be anything else than fascinated.

Freediving or Apnea (the Greek word a-pnoia literally means “without breathing”) is based on a subconsciousness reflex (mammalian diving reflex): As soon as cold water encloses our face, the body shifts its bloodstream from the extremities into the brain and heart and slows the heart beat down. The body does so attempting to keep the most vital functions alive and concentrates the flow of oxygen into the heart & brain. This effect has been studied in dolphins, seals and other mammals. The deeper the dive, the stronger it gets. After years of training freedivers are able to calm themselves down using various breathing techniques and achieving a state of general fitness. So freediving is a lot about relaxation and very mental, as one has to learn to deal with the urge to breath to extend the dive.

The history dates back several thousand years. Humans are believed to have been freediving a long time in search for sponges, fish & shells making freediving most probably one the most ancient sports of them all. A great myth tells the story of a sponge diver recovering an anchor of a Italian ship in front of an island in Greece. In 1913 the ship lost its anchor and asked one of the best spongedivers in this area to recover it. This guy was named Chatzistathis or Haggi Statti, was about 1,70m in heights and weighed around 65kg. The legend says he recovered the anchor from 88m depth, holding his breath for about three minutes. He used a primitive technique, Greeks have been using as long as their civilization exists: the so called “Skandalopetra”. A round stone with holes for the fingers, almost used like a steering wheal of a car enabling the driver (or diver) to change directions while diving down headfirst (!). According to the story, he was rewarded a little amount of money and the permission to fish with explosives.


Whether its a myth or not, fact is that nowadays freedivers have gone much deeper than this. From the 1950s on freediver constantly broke their records and achieved greater depths on one single breath. Today there are two major organization, the CMAS (The World Underwater Federation) founded in 1958 and the AIDA (Association Internationale pour le Développement de l’Apnée) founded in 1990. There are many different disciplines within the competitive freedive sport, some of them only recognized by AIDA, others by CMAS and some by both. Here are some examples:

Static Apnea

Usually this discipline is practiced in a pool and aims to hold the breath as long as possible. The current world record recognized by AIDA lies at 11min and 35s, hold by Stéphan Mifsud since 08.06.2009.

Constant weight Apnea

This discipline is about deepdiving. It is not allowed though to drop any weights during the dive and fins (either mono or bi) can be used. The current world record (AIDA) lies at 128m achieved by Alexey Molchanow on the 19.09.2013.

Constant weight Apnea without fins

Basically the same like above just without any use of fins. The current AIDA world record holder William Trubridge achieved an incredible depth of 101m on the 16.12.2010.

Free immersion Apnea

In this discipline divers use a vertical guiderope to pull themselves down and up again without dropping weights during the dive. Again William Trubridge holds the current world record (AIDA) with 121m since the 04.10.2011.

Variable weight Apnea

Divers use a weighted sled to descend and ascend by using fins or pulling themselves up a line. William Trubridge holds the world record (AIDA) of this discipline as well with 145m. He achieved this depth on the 03.09.2013.

No Limits Apnea

This discipline allows all kind of equipment to dive as deep as possible. Usually a weighted sled is used to descend and an inflatable device to ascend again. Herbert Nitsch holds the world record (AIDA) with an incredible 214m since the 14.06.2007.

One doesn´t have to aim that high in order to practice freediving and enjoy it. There a various freedive centers offering training from beginners to more advanced freedivers. The ones I´ve looked into either offer a training by SSI or by AIDA . By being able to hold your breath for as long as possible and equalizing properly to achieve greater depths, people will encounter completely new experiences of diving. Fish and other marine inhabitants are not as disturbed from noise of bubbles and breathing, allowing you to get a much closer look than they most probably would have granted you while scuba diving. Therefore, underwater photographers might want to improve their freediving 😉 Just the other day I had a nice encounter myself: I was practicing a bit and saw some squids below me in around 7 m depths or so. I slowly pulled myself down the rope and gently swam towards then. They are usually very shy but let me get quite close before they opened the line formation only a bit (I don´t know why, but I´ve usually seen them like this) and let me swim through them – Awesome!

People have been freediving and spearfishing for a long time and still today there are many people practicing it (though I do not support this, as I rather see all kinds of fish swimming than on a plate..). I just started recently with some easy exercises here in front of Bannerfish bay and I really love it and hope to be able to do a course soon or at least before I leave beautiful Dahab.. My girlfriend and me had a day with freedive Instructor Brian Crossland almost two months ago now, but this course was rather targeted at improving the breathing in general for scuba diving in order to achieve longer dive times. Nevertheless we gained some very interesting knowledge which I try to apply now.

There are some dangers in freediving, that shouldn´t be forgotten to mention. One doesn´t have to dive 100m deep to encounter them. A shallow water blackout can happen to anyone, whether experienced or not. There is no warning system or whatsoever prior to blacking out. The only warning system we have concern the carbon dioxide level in our blood. CO2 is a waste product of normal breathing, when oxygen is being metabolized. If the concentrations reaches a certain point, we feel the urge to breath. Hyperventilation causes the CO2 level to drop, extending the time until the urge to breath kicks in. It cannot saturate the blood more though, as the normal breathing rate the body dictates already achieves a saturation of oxygen of around 98-99%. Hyperventilation can become dangerous and lead to blackouts as the trigger is not reached before the oxygen level is already very low. The following diagram demonstrates this:

If consciousness is lost, drowning may appear. Therefore it is very important, that you always dive and train with a buddy. If you dive without a buddy, no matter how deep, and a shallow water blackout occurs, you are likely do drown. By now there are thousands of active freedivers around the world, and every year a number of them dies. There are no statistics about this, but most likely a couple of dozens loose their lives while freediving.

Another potential dangers is the squeeze of your eardrums and finally their explosion. The deeper you go, the higher the water pressure gets pushing your eardrums in. There are several equalization techniques, but if you don´t know how to to them, it can get very painful and worst case scenario is that you can lost your ability to hear or suffer from ear problems for the rest of your life. Obviously this danger increases the deeper you go. Beginners are not likely to encounter severe problems (if they don´t push it without proper training).

There are many other dangers concerning freediving, especially the competitive deep diving. If you are interested in knowing more about these, I´d recommend some more reading on this.


By freedivinguae

Scores of Dolphin Deaths Have Scientists Baffled

Though the dolphin die-off has be attributed to a virus, the cause of the disease remains a mystery.

Since late last year, four or five dolphin carcasses have beached in Brazil each day. Scientists have confirmed that a virus is to blame, but the mortalities still have conservationists baffled.

The Associated Press reports more than 130 gray dolphins have washed up in the Bay of Sepetiba, a coastal area about 45 miles west of Rio de Janeiro, since late November. Another 40 dolphin carcasses were found on the neighboring island of Ilha Grande. Combined, that’s more than 20 percent of the area’s known dolphin population, which, at an estimated 800, may be the highest concentration of the species in the world.

Local conservation NGOs like the Boto Cinza Institute and SOS Botos have examined the carcasses’ skin, blood, and bones under the suspicion that a bacterium or virus was to blame. The School of Oceanography at the State University of Rio de Janeiro confirmed that cetacean morbillivirus, which can infect dolphins, porpoises, and whales, killed the marine mammals.

But scientists aren’t sure what caused the outbreak, or how long it might last. They are still trying to determine other reasons for the dolphin die-off.

The virus attacks the animals’ immune systems, resulting in skin lesions, pneumonia, and different types of infections. Boto Cinza Institute chief coordinator Leonardo Flach told StoryTrender in early January that if a pathogen-related disease was diagnosed, 70 to 80 percent of the population could die. Cetacean mirbillivirus can spread between animals through inhalation or contact. Often living in pods of up to 200 individuals, dolphins have close relationships, and a contagious illness could be devastating.


By freedivinguae

Could machine learning save this sea cow?

It’s hard to imagine this adorable sea cow getting caught in a fishing net, or losing its home to coastal development. Unfortunately that’s what’s happening to many populations of large marine mammals around the world. It’s urgent—sea cows are under threat of extinction.

Sea cows might be cute, but it turns out they’re also really hard to keep track of. And keeping accurate data on populations is critical for conservation efforts.

For decades, scientists had to spend days peering out of small planes to count populations, which was expensive and sometimes hazardous. Dr. Amanda Hodgson of Murdoch University has helped to change that, using drones to take aerial photography of the ocean. But now that they can collect aerial photos remotely, there’s a new challenge: how can they find the sea cows in 45,000 photos?

Try it yourself—look for the sea cow in this image, which you can click to get in full resolution:

Can’t find it? Hint: it’s in the middle of the lower-left quarter. Yes, that little gray smaller-than-fingernail-sized sliver. To see where it is, check out the image with the sea cow circled

Now, what if you had to do this manually on tens of thousands of images? It would really slow down research, and it wouldn’t scale to other regions and other species of sea mammals.

So Dr. Hodgson and team decided to apply a little magic: machine learning. She teamed up with Dr. Frederic Maire, a computer scientist at Queensland University of Technology. Using TensorFlow, the free open source machine learning platform that’s now been out for exactly one year, they built a detector that could learn to find sea cows in these photos automatically. (It’s a little like the image recognition that lets you search Google Photos for shots of particular dog species, or sunsets, or whatnot—but much more specialized for this scientific task.)

The results are encouraging: an early version of their detector could find 80% of the sea cows they’d found manually in images, and they expect to improve performance over time. This suggests the approach may scale well—not only for sea cows, but for other sea mammals such as humpback whales and certain dolphins as well. Eventually if they’re able to track these threatened populations on a large scale, conservationists have a much better shot at knowing how they’re impacted by human activities, and where it’s most urgent we protect their habitats. In a small way, machine learning might help save the humble sea cow


By freedivinguae

Whale Allegedly Protects Diver From Shark, But Questions Remain

For 28 years, Nan Hauser has been researching and diving with whales. The biologist is the president and director of the Center for Cetacean Research and Conservation, a group that has researched everything from the population status to feeding behaviors of these animals.

But during a trip to look at whales in the Cook Islands in the South Pacific last September, Hauser says she had an encounter unlike any she had experienced before.

A humpback whale, a marine mammal capable of weighing 40 tons and growing 60 feet long, swam toward Hauser. For ten minutes, it nudged her forward with its closed mouth, tucked her under its pectoral fin, and even maneuvered her out of the water with its back.

At the time, Hauser was frightened by the encounter and unsure of what to do and what the whale was intending.

“I was prepared to lose my life,” she says. “I thought he was going to hit me and break my bones.”

In addition to conducting research, Hauser says she was also in the Cook Islands to work on a nature film, so at the time the whale approached, both she and a fellow diver were armed with cameras. Hauser’s point-of-view footage shows just how persistently the whale nudged her. A second whale can also be seen lurking just behind the first.

When she finally made it out of the water and up onto her boat—bruised and scratched from the barnacles on the whale—Hauser saw a third tail moving from side-to-side.

“I knew that was a tiger shark,” she says.


By freedivinguae

Understanding the Impact of Deep Diving

“How deep have you been underwater?” was a question asked by one of my open water course. This is a tricky question, one that I don’t like to answer because I fear that my students may aspire to my maximum depth, or worse, attempt to beat it. A more appropriate question is, “How deep should scuba divers descend?” Unfortunately, the answer is not straightforward–it depends on a variety of factors such as breathing gas, experience level and personal tolerance for high partial pressures of inert gasses and oxygen.
What Is the Deepest a Scuba Diver Has Descended?

The current depth record for open-circuit scuba diving is held by Ahmed Gabr, who descended to 332.35 meters (1,044 ft.) on September 18, 2014.
More Importantly, How Deep Can You Dive?

Most recreational scuba diving organizations set the maximum depth for a certified, experienced recreational divers breathing air at 130 feet. Divers should heed this guideline. The fact that extremely experienced, technical divers have descended beyond 1000 feet on admittedly risky dives does not mean that recreational divers have any business breaking suggested depth limits. When a diver considers the reasons behind established depth limits, it becomes obvious why breaking depth guidelines is foolish.
Considerations in Determining a Maximum Depth

Decompression Status
The deeper a diver descends, the shorter his no-decompression limit will be. For example, a diver who descends to 40 feet can remain at the depth for 140 minutes (air supply permitting). A diver who descends to 130 feet can stay only 10 minutes at that depth before accumulating so much nitrogen in his body that he requires a series of decompression stops on the way up to reduce his risk of decompression sickness. Descending beyond 130 feet without decompression dive training does not allow a diver much time to enjoy his dive.

Air Consumption
A diver breathes air at the pressure of the water around him (ambient pressure). The deeper a diver goes, the more the air he breathes compresses (learn more about water pressure and diving). At a depth of 130 feet, a diver consumes his air approximately five times faster than he does on the surface. Divers who plan on diving to this depth will find that their dive time is limited by air consumption. Not only will a diver use his air more quickly at greater depths, he will also require a large air reserve for the long ascent from deep dives.

Some gases, such a nitrogen, may cause narcosis in divers at increased partial pressures. Every diver will experience this narcosis eventually, but the onset of inert gas narcosis varies from diver to diver and from day to day. Be warned–even if you experience the drunken feeling of narcosis as enjoyable, it shares many of the symptoms of alcohol intoxication such as impairment to motor coordination, judgment, and reasoning. Some divers even report visual disturbances and a skewed sense of time.

This is not a good state to be in when deep underwater. A diver should slowly increase dive depths as he gains experience and he should be sure to make his initial deep dives (deeper than 60 ft.) with a qualified individual, such as a guide or instructor who can monitor him for signs of narcosis and assist him if necessary.
Oxygen Toxicity
At very high concentrations, oxygen becomes poisonous (oxygen toxicity), causing convulsions, unconsciousness and even death. When the recreational depth guidelines are followed, oxygen toxicity is not a concern for scuba divers. Still, this gives divers another very good reason not to exceed depth limitations. The oxygen in air may become toxic at depths beginning at approximately 218 feet, and gas mixtures with high percentages of oxygen, such as enriched air nitrox, may be toxic at much shallower depths.

Experience Level
Depth is a stress factor in scuba diving. Psychologically, deeper dives are stressful because divers are farther from their exit point. Divers will notice their air supply dropping more rapidly than at shallower depths, may notice an increase in breathing resistance and are likely to experience some form of mild narcosis. While deeper dives are frequently very beautiful, have pristine reefs, and different wildlife than shallow dives, divers should increase their dive depths cautiously. Making your first deep dives under the supervision of a qualified guide or instructor is always advisable.

What Are Common Depth Limits for Recreational Certification Levels?:

The suggested depth guidelines for various recreational scuba diving certifications vary among organizations. In general:


Experience Courses (e.g. PADI’s Discover Scuba Diving)–40 ft. (12 meters)
Subsequent Dives for Non-Certified Divers–40 ft. (12 meters)
First and Second Training Dives–40 ft. (12 meters)
Dives 3 and 4 of Open Water Training–60 ft. (18 meters)
Open Water Certified Divers–60 ft. (18 meters)
Experienced Certified Divers, or Divers With Advanced/ Deep Training–130 ft. (40 meters)


Children Ages 8 – 9 (First Dive)–6 ft. (2 meters)
Children Ages 8 – 9 (Successive Training Dives)–2 ft. (4 meters)
Children Ages 10 -11 (Open Water Certified)–40 ft. (12 meters)


Teenagers Ages 12 – 14 (Open Water Certified)–60 ft. (18 meters)
Teenagers Ages 12 – 14 (Advanced Certifications)–70 ft. (21 meters)
Teenagers Ages 15 and Over–Same as adult limitations


By freedivinguae

Freediving: The lure of the deep

The cold, dark waters more than a hundred metres below the surface of the ocean are not a forgiving environment for human beings. The pressure, more than 10 times that at the surface, can quickly cause unconsciousness – fatal at that depth.

But for freedivers – a small band of extreme sportsmen and women who propel themselves down in no more than a wetsuit – the deepest part of the dive is not even the most dangerous. That comes as they ascend to the surface, sustained by a breath taken several minutes before, when a diver can succumb to so-called “shallow water blackout” just metres from fresh air.

Natalia Molchanova, widely regarded as the best female freediver in the world, took a deep breath on Sunday and dipped beneath the waves off the coast of Ibiza. She had done this countless times, but this time she didn’t resurface. On Tuesday, the International Freediving Association (AIDA) released a statement saying Ms Molchanova was missing, and she is now presumed dead.

Ms Molchanova was not performing a deep dive. If anything, Sunday’s dive was completely routine. According to the AIDA statement, she was at just 30m-40m – well short of her record depth of 127m. She was however performing a kind of dive called Constant Weight Apnea Without Fins (CNF) in which the diver wears just a weight belt and thin wetsuit. It is thought that she was caught in a strong underwater current and, without any fins to help propel her, was unable to fight against it. The search for her body continues.


By freedivinguae

What Are the Health Benefits of Swimming in Sea Water?

A swim in the sea may improve your mood and health. Hippocrates first used the word “thalassotherapy” to describe the healing effects of seawater, according to Pacific Naturopathic. Ancient Greeks appreciated the health and beauty benefits of this mineral-rich water and bathed and soaked in seawater-filled pools and hot tubs. Among several benefits, swimming in seawater can help increase your immune system function, improve circulation, promote overall well-being and hydrate your skin.
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Seawater contains vital elements, vitamins, mineral salts, trace elements, amino acids and living microorganisms that can produce antibiotic and antibacterial effects to help promote a healthy immune system. Reportedly, the components of seawater, similar to human blood plasma, are easily absorbed and utilized by your body while swimming. Inhaling a sea mist filled with negatively charged ions, or molecules that attach to your lungs also boosts your immune system, according to naturopathic doctor Connie Hernandez. In addition, proponents claim that swimming in seawater opens pores in the skin to allow the absorption of sea minerals and the expulsion of disease-causing toxins from the body.

Swimming in seawater may help facilitate the circulation of blood in your body. Your circulatory system — made up of the heart, capillaries, arteries and veins — carries oxygen-rich blood from your heart to your body, then returns blood to your heart again. The main purpose of thalassotherapy, or seawater therapy, is to increase blood circulation. Swimming or bathing in warm seawater improves circulation by restoring essential minerals depleted by stress, a poor diet and environmental poisons, according to the Thalasso Experience website.

Seawater is used by many for overall improved health and well-being. Swimming in warm seawater purportedly activates the body’s healing mechanisms to fight conditions such as asthma, arthritis, bronchitis and inflammatory diseases, as well as common aches and pains. Magnesium-rich seawater purportedly can also relax your muscles, reduce stress and help induce sleep. Magnesium depresses nerves to relieve nervous irritability for an increased sense of calmness, according to wellness pioneer and author J.I. Rondale.

The magnesium in seawater may also help hydrate and improve the appearance of your skin. According to a study in the February 2005 edition of the “International Journal of Dermatology,” bathing in a magnesium-rich Dead Sea salt solution helps promote skin moisture. People with atopic dry skin, or dryness on the skin’s surface, submerged one forearm for 15 minutes in a bath solution containing 5 percent Dead Sea salt and the other forearm in regular tap water. Researchers discovered that the salt solution improved skin hydration and significantly reduced skin inflammation symptoms such as redness and roughness when compared to tap water. Observed skin benefits were attributed to the high magnesium content of the Dead Sea salt.


By freedivinguae

The Insane Benefits of Freediving

If you’re an experienced freediver, then you’ve probably already felt the incredible benefits of the sport. Each dive not only teaches you about what exists outside, in the ocean, but it brings your awareness inside to your body and mind as well. The list of freediving benefits is endless, but here a few to keep you motivated to dive longer and deeper.

Freediving relieves stress
Freediving slows the heart rate and immerses you in an environment where your senses are mostly muted. Many freedivers are also dedicated yoga practitioners, as there is major overlapping when it comes to the mental strength and physical flexibility that’s needed to become a skilled yogi and freediver.

You might find that freediving removes you both physically and mentally to any issues that are tethered back to solid land – like a nasty boss, bratty kids, or a pile of debt calling your name. Freediving gives you a chance to view your landlocked issues from a new perspective.

Freediving brings body consciousness
The only person responsible for and in charge of your wellbeing while freediving is you. Freediving forces you to become hyperaware of each movement that your body is making – including its oxygen levels and CO2 buildup. You will feel everything from buoyancy, cramping, contractions, and how the overall state is.

Compare this to the average person, who often lives life without truly getting to know their body and what is capable.

Freediving increases self-confidence
Most freedivers are shocked when they first start – they never knew they could hold their breath for minutes at a time, or dive so deep on a single breath of air. Freediving brings self-confidence as you learn to trust your skills and fine-tune your control.

Freediving gives you more opportunities to see marine life
Though scuba diving lets you stay underwater longer, the bubbles sometimes startle marine life and the cost of renting or transporting gear can restrict the destinations that you’re able to see. With freediving, you are often seen as a fellow marine mammal and are less threatening to underwater sea life. It’s a much more intimate experience than any other type of diving or snorkeling. Since all you need is your body, a mask, and fins, the places you can explore through freediving are nearly limitless.

Freediving leads to mental clarity
All experienced freedivers know that the path to deeper and longer dives is through total relaxation. While other ocean sports don’t focus on relaxation as much – which is why panic is common in scuba diving, surfing, and swimming. Through freediving, you learn to rein in your fear, leading to mental clarity and insight you couldn’t gain otherwise.

Freediving makes your body more oxygen-efficient
The more you freedive, the more oxygen-efficient your lungs and body become. According to the BBC, “underwater pressure constricts the spleen, squeezing out extra haemoglobin, the protein in red corpuscles that carry oxygen around the body.”

Freediving at depth shows similar effects on the body that training at high altitude does, where the body becomes fine-tuned to performing on oxygen limits. Diving also increases your lung capacity and strength. While the average person rarely inhales a full breath, freedivers do it on a regular basis.

Freediving teaches discipline
Those contractions you feel? While they wouldn’t be classified as painful, they can be uncomfortable – especially during long dives. Tolerating this discomfort instead of turning back as soon as you feel the urge to breathe makes you more disciplined. There are many points in our life where we’re met with discomfort – long lines, awkward encounters, physical training – but having the ability to push past it is priceless.

Freediving strengthens your water safety skills
Certified freedivers learn basic rescue skills, as well as the proper steps and breathing techniques for freediving. Freedivers know that relaxing conserves oxygen, and that the body is capable of holding its breath much longer than most people realize. Freediving is an asset to nearly every sport that involves being in water. You’re able to keep calm and know what to expect when it comes to breath holding (being held under by a wave) or what to do if someone else blacks out.

Freediving increases flexibility
Whenever you take a deep breath, you are stretching your entire upper body ranging from your abdominal muscles to your rib cage to your back and shoulders. Swimming and freediving under pressure also benefits joints. The weightlessness of being submersed in water can increase mobility and even help those with arthritis relieve pain.

Freediving is a great complement to scuba diving
Though scuba diving and freediving are completely different activities, each one helps the other. The more time you spend in the sea, the more comfortable you’ll with being there. And since so many scuba diving accidents are related to panic in an unfamiliar situation, your familiarity with the ocean and relaxation techniques gained in freediving will make you a more competent scuba diver no matter the situation.


By freedivinguae

Japan To Host 2018 Pan-Pacific Pool Freediving Championship!

Pan Pacific Championship 2018 , the Pan Pacific Pool Freediving championship (Pan Pacs) will take place in Narashino which is located on the east side of Tokyo at the end of March, 2018. Pan Pacs is a three-day world record status competition for the disciplines of static apnea, dynamic apnea without fins and dynamic apnea with fins. Pan Pacs is open to competitors from any nationality and we welcome all freedivers from all over the world. Also,Japan can provide you an excellent venue.

The three-day competition will cover the disciplines of static apnea, Dynamic No Fins (DNF) and Dynamic With Fins (DYN). While it will be open to competitors from all nationalities, special awards will be handed out for competitors from Pan-Pacific countries, specifically those with a coastline on the Pacific Ocean, and/or the part of a continent around the Pacific rim.

The Australian Freediving Association hosted the inaugural Pan Pacific Pool Freediving Championship Brisbane from 26 to 28 November, 2015. There were 45 athletes from 16 nationalities (Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Indonesia, USA, China, Japan, Malaysia, New Caledonia, Russia, Venezuela, Kuwait, Iran, Germany, Great Britain, and Egypt). participated in the competition and it was quite a success. This time Japan holds Pan Pacific Championship 2018 by receiving many requests from athletes.

Pac pacs is opened to athletes of any nationality,however,there will be special awards for competitors from Pan Pacific countries. For the purposes of this competition, Pan Pacific countries are those nations that have a coastline on the Pacific Ocean, and/or the part of a continent around the Pacific rim. Award 1. Top three in each event of men and women 2. Top three in total score of men and women 3. 3. Top three countries in total score(the scores of the top three competitors in each country will be summed to decide top three counties. Only for countries in the Pacific Rim region.)


By freedivinguae

Scuba Diving for Overcoming Shyness and Self-Consciousness

When my partner suggested we go scuba diving to mark his 30th birthday in a special way, I must admit I was entirely skeptical and a wash of intense dread came over me! I can swim reasonably well, I love animals and I adore thrashing around in the cool azures of the countries I’m fortunate enough to travel to. So what was the big deal?…Well, you see, I’m your classically awkward, shy, self-aware introvert and the thoughts of embarrassing myself underwater in front of a crowd where communication is compromised was enough for me to bury my head in the sand.

After shaking my head vigorously for a week, I relented and soon found myself in a dive shop giving my wet suit and fin sizes to my scuba diving instructor in Koh Tao, Thailand. She put me at ease, quashed my irrational fears and promised me that it would be a small group. True to her word, I turned up the following day ready to dive into my PADI Open Water Diving Course and I met 2 other first time divers. One of the other divers was female and she intuitively helped me zip up my wet suit which I was secretly delighted with. The act of putting on this piece of neoprene solo is something that I don’t think I could’ve coped with. It’s enough to send anyone into a frenzy and after she said “I gotcha” I knew I had made a pal. The relief you find in knowing that you’re all in this together and you all have the same ability breaks down the stigma of ‘Not Knowing What to Do’. I’ll admit that I studied hard when it came to the theoretical aspects of the training, eager to keep up with the gang. Fast forward to the confined water sessions and I was a scatterbrained mess, but me accidentally inflating my BCD and losing my regulator every 5 minutes did give the group a few laughs and broke the ice to say the least.

By the time day 4 rolled around and it was time for our open water dive, my group had spent every day on the beach together and every evening talking up how glad we were to have met each other. We didn’t know much about each other really, yet we had an intrinsic connection, a shared goal to test ourselves beyond our known abilities and a desire to give in to the temptation of the warm, cascading waves of the Pacific Ocean.

Scuba diving for the first time is a truly surreal experience. As cliche as it may sound, taking your first breath underwater is uncomprehendable until you’ve done it. It quite literally took my breath away. If I was to try and jot down how it feels, it would be underwhelming and inadequate. Go experience it for yourself! The first time I went diving, not only did I find these beautiful, colourful creatures in a realm I’ve only ever daydreamed about, I found new friends and most importantly, inner peace. I expected my experience to be stressful and fraught with anxiety due to my disposition and I was surprised to find a sense of calm and stillness 18m beneath the surface. Absolute magic if you ask me but don’t take my word for it, take your PADI Open Water Diving Course.


Source: padi