By freedivinguae

Shark Diaries: Freediving With Greatness

The Islands in the Stream have an eclectic history from the Rat Pack to rum running, but recent notoriety has been all about the great hammerhead shark. Divers from across the globe trek to Bimini’s crystal clear waters to swim with these magnificent creatures. Social media timelines, magazine covers and episodes on Shark Week all feature this IUCN Red List ‘endangered species.’ I am very lucky because this shark diving hot spot happens to be in my backyard.

Jillian freediving and photographing sharks Image: Duncan Brake
Jillian freediving and photographing sharks Image: Duncan Brake

Bimini is a very sharky place, but as the winter months bring cooler water, the hammerheads move onto the shallow sand banks of the west side of South Bimini. The pristine waters and shallow depth create aquarium-like conditions, ideal for diving or freediving. I have dived with sharks all over the world, but nothing compares to slipping beneath the surface with these sharks.

Fear and fascination alike, attract us to sharks – their power and grace intrigue us, as they move in and out of the depths. For many, the great hammerhead elicits fear because of its size and the odd shaped head (cephalofoil) for which it is named.  The shape and size of the head provide an evolutionary advantage, creating more surface area for electroreceptors called the Ampullae of Lorenzini and positioning the eyes for maximum field of view. The overlap from what the sharks can see from their left and right eyes is three times higher than sharks with the traditional pointed snout (i.e lemon and blacktips).

Jillian photographing a great hammerhead Image: Duncan Brake
Jillian photographing a great hammerhead Image: Duncan Brake

The mouth, most often displayed agape, is open to allow water to move in and over the gills, which is the method of breathing, called ram ventilation, great hammerheads uses. Other sharks, like nurse sharks, can buccal pump, using their mouth muscles to draw the water in, while tiger sharks can switch between the two methods.

While I love scuba diving with these sharks, I also enjoy a quiet moment on the sand bottom on a single breath of air. The sharks circle around and come extremely close. They are bold, but not aggressive. It’s a moment to dance as we move up and down the water column, surfacing only long enough to collect another breath for another escape into their salty world.

Diving down and swimming next to an animal 6-7 feet longer than I am, is truly remarkable and there really is nothing like it.  I especially love looking into their eyes; not an empty black space people describe, but a curious and intelligent soul. A moment in the water can truly change the way people feel about them. Fear and nervousness are replaced by awe. It also catalyzes a better understanding and a level of respect, something these animals deserve.

Great hammerhead shark Image: Jillian Morris
Great hammerhead shark Image: Jillian Morris

There is no place else in the world like Bimini for encounters with great hammerheads and if swimming with them is on your Bucket List, this is the place!

Time to grab my mask and fins (and very warm wetsuit) and head out for the next shark adventure!

By freedivinguae

Free diver Kimi Werner on finding peace underwater

If you’re a trained free diver like Kimi Werner your average hold could be around two minutes, or when pushed to extremes over four.

Hawaiian-born Werner is the former US spear fishing champion, a trained chef, and her clean-living lifestyle is followed by more than 120,000 on Instagram.

In 2013 a video showing her hitching a ride on the dorsal fin of a great white shark went viral.

Werner is a poster-girl for the free diving movement, the practice of holding your breath and diving as deep as you can underwater.

It’s a risky pursuit — one in 500 free divers die according to the book The Deep. In 2015 world champion free diver Natalia Molchanova never resurfaced from a dive of 35 metres near Ibiza.

Kimi Werner underwater

Those who practice freediving liken it to yoga and say there is no greater feeling of tranquillity.

“The most attractive part of freediving for me is taking that drop,” Werner said.

“The state of mind that I have to enter in order to be completely relaxed and make the most of that breath of air there’s something that’s so peaceful about it.”

Werner, aka @kimiswimmy, says idyllic images on social media have helped push the sport into the mainstream.

“I think the reason why there’s been such increase in popularity is because of social media,” she said.

“Before it was kind of this secret world that free divers had and you might have heard about free diving from a friend.

“But today there are so many images that give people a taste of what that world feels and looks like.”

Kimi Werner spear fishing

Werner started diving and fishing as a child with her father on Maui.

“What attracted me to free diving was that I felt like I could fly, I could go down and visit the fish but the minute I wanted to return to the surface I could take off and I loved that feeling,” she said.

The movement is growing in Australia and a number of free diving schools have been set up.

For Melbourne-based Marlon Quinn, the feeling of serenity under the water propelled him to turn away from a corporate IT career and start a free diving business.

“Life’s fast these days and getting that little bit of time out where time stops is what people are really drawn back to and magnetised by,” he said.

“I think people are just connecting with the fact that you can let go and discover the environment in your own way.”


Kimi Werner trains underwater

He says there are some basic rules to help free divers minimise risks.

“It’s definitely a risky sport and that’s where doing some training, working with a buddy, always diving with someone [is important],” he said.

For Werner, the 2013 shark dive still sends her heart racing.

“It was the biggest great white shark I had ever seen. About 17 feet and coming straight at me,” she said.

“I reacted before my mind could do anything about it and I swam towards her.

“When I did she veered off and the way that she swam away helped me realise she was not acting aggressive, or maybe me swimming towards her made her mellow out.”


By freedivinguae

Top 10 Health Benefits of Freediving

Free diving is a water sport that requires an immense amount of concentration and physical prowess. Think scuba diving – but without all the equipment. No oxygen tanks, no weight belt – just you, your lungs, and the marine life. There are many physical benefits to the sport, including toning your muscles and strengthening your lungs, but some of the greatest experiences in free diving are conquering the challenges you face and the unique underwater view.

  1. Relieves stress– Ore-diving techniques is very much like yoga, as it puts you in a calm and relaxed mood while still working your body. For the few moments that free divers are underwater they are relieved of all other stress factors. If you’re free diving in the ocean, being surrounded by sea creatures is not only a beautiful sight to behold but also an eye-opening experience. In fact, a 2013 found that free divers had reduced levels of stressand anxiety when compared to non-athletes.
  2. Brings you closer to marine life- Free diving is one of the best activities to partake in when exploring marine life. With free diving, you’re able explore the underwater world without all the extra weight of carrying an oxygen tube and other heavy gear as it is with scuba diving. Because you don’t carry the excess of gear, marine life are more likely to even swim with you, giving you a closer experience to nature.
  • Boosts adrenaline – If you’re an adventure-seeker, you will definitely get your fix in free diving. In fact, one study has shown that free divers have increase levels of adrenalineeven after free diving, giving providing them with a feel-good rush.
  • Improves focus- Free diving is an activity which requires extreme concentration. Diving underwater without any breathing equipment requires divers to be finely attuned to their external surroundings and the internal state of their body. Externally, divers must know how far from the surface they are as well as the marine life surrounding them, while internally, the diver must be aware of his or her limits including when they feel they are running out of oxygen. A slip in attention may be fatal for free divers so it essential that free divers are immersed wholeheartedly in the art of free diving.
  • Therapeutic for the joints – Studies have shown that spending time in and underwater can relieve pressure on the joints and even increase range of motion due to hydrostatic pressure counteracting the usual pressure the body encounters during high impact activities.
  • Strengthen your lungs – Naturally, just as it is with cardio workouts, the more you work your lungs, the stronger they become. In the case with free diving, conditioning your lungs with pre-diving exercise techniques in the short term and long term breathing exercises increases your lungs’ oxygen capacity. This way, you can hold in more air for a longer time.
  • Strengthen muscles – Underwater diving requires the body must contract all its muscles in order to maintain buoyancy, change depth, and even tread water. As you dive deeper into the water, your body will encounter greater water pressure and resistance, thus forcing your body to work harder to get to your desired destination.
  • Boost endurance – The constant movement of your muscles in free diving not only tones your muscles, but also boosts your endurance. Free divers are not merely doing a limited number of sets and repetitions, but are frequently engaging there muscles and exceeding their limits to meet new goals.
  • Teaches discipline – Free diving is not a sport most people can just jump into. In fact, abiding by free diving techniques, including maintaining proper form and knowing your body’s limits, are essential. Not only must you focus on your body and your surroundings, but you must constantly apply and abide by these rules to ensure a safe and proper dive.
  • Pushes you to your limits – Though it is essential to maintain proper discipline in free diving, slowly but surely you will build the confidence and capacity to beat personal records in how long you can hold your breath as well as how deep underwater you go. Breaking personal bests only boost your need to set and achieve more goals.

Source: healthfitnessrevolution

By freedivinguae

World’s youngest freediver aged just THREE plunges 32ft into the sea without oxygen following in the footsteps of his adventurous parents

This astonishing footage shows the world’s youngest freediver plunging 32 feet under the sea aged just three.

Fedor Afonasiev has been diving without aged oxygen since he was a two-year-old, following in the footsteps of his adventurous parents.

He was filmed pulling himself down a pole into the Blue Hole, a submarine sinkhole in the Red Sea, before resurfacing when he could not hold his breath any longer.

Fedor Afonasiev, 3, was filmed pulling himself down a pole into the Blue Hole, a submarine sinkhole in the Red Sea
Fedor Afonasiev, 3, was filmed pulling himself down a pole into the Blue Hole, a submarine sinkhole in the Red Sea
After going 32 feet underwater, he resurfaced when he could not hold his breath for any longer
After going 32 feet underwater, he resurfaced when he could not hold his breath for any longer

Fedor, whose parents are instructors, is also seen riding on his mother’s back in video taken by professional freediver Alexey Molchanov, 29, from Moscow.

‘This project of shooting with Fedor appeared natural when I saw him in the water,’ said Alexey.

‘I see a kid who see what his parents do and naturally follows their passion.’

Alexey used a GoPro camera to capture the video footage.

As an experienced freediver Alexey can hold his breath for eight minutes and thirty-three seconds.

Fedor, whose parents are instructors, is also seen repeating the trick on his mother's back
Fedor, whose parents are instructors, is also seen repeating the trick on his mother’s back
The footage was taken by professional freediver Alexey Molchanov, 29, from Moscow
Fedor has been diving without aged oxygen since he was a two-year-old, following in the footsteps of his adventurous parents
Fedor has been diving without aged oxygen since he was a two-year-old, following in the footsteps of his adventurous parents

He holds a world record depth of 423 feet while depth diving with fins.

‘There is no competitive approach for kids,’ he said.

‘We do not push Fedor to do any numbers. He does whatever he feels comfortable with. That is very important to note for any kid’s breath hold activity.

‘We think it is important for freediving to be a fun activity for kids.

‘When people see it, they cannot believe how good is Fedor underwater and that actually motivates them to start learning freediving as well.’

The Blue Hole, which is just north of Dahab in Egypt, is popular with divers all year round.

Alexey said: 'We do not push Fedor to do any numbers. He does whatever he feels comfortable with. That is very important to note for any kid's breath hold activity'
Alexey said: ‘We do not push Fedor to do any numbers. He does whatever he feels comfortable with. That is very important to note for any kid’s breath hold activity’
The Blue Hole, which is just north of Dahab in Egypt, is popular with divers all year round
The Blue Hole, which is just north of Dahab in Egypt, is popular with divers all year round

Source: dailymail

By freedivinguae

Scientists Invent Oxygen Particle That If Injected, Allows You To Live Without Breathing

New Medical Discovery

A team of scientists at the Boston Children’s Hospital have invented what is being considered one the greatest medical breakthroughs in recent years. They have designed a microparticle that can be injected into a person’s bloodstream that can quickly oxygenate their blood. This will even work if the ability to breathe has been restricted, or even cut off entirely.

This finding has the potential to save millions of lives every year. The microparticles can keep an object alive for up to 30 min after respiratory failure. This is accomplished through an injection into the patients’ veins. Once injected, the microparticles can oxygenate the blood to near normal levels. This has countless potential uses as it allows life to continue when oxygen is needed but unavailable. For medical personnel, this is just enough time to avoid risking a heart attack or permanent brain injury when oxygen is restricted or cut off to patients.

Dr. John Kheir, who first began the study, works in the Boston Children’s Hospital Department of Cardiology. He found inspiration for the drug in 2006, when he was treating a girl in the ICU who had a severe case of pneumonia. At the time, the girl didn’t have a breathing tube, when at the time she suffered from a pulmonary hemorrhage. This means her lungs had begin to fill up with blood, and she finally went into cardiac arrest. It took doctors about 25 minutes to remove enough blood from her lungs to allow her to breath. Though, the girl’s brain was severely injured due to being deprived of oxygen for that long and she eventually died.

Microparticle Composition

The microparticles used are composed of oxygen gas pocketed in a layer of lipids. A Lipid is a natural molecule that can store energy and act as a part of a cell membrane, they can be made of many things such as wax, vitamins, phospholipids, and in this case fat is the lipid that stores the oxygen.

These microparticles are around two to four micrometers in length and carry about three to four times the oxygen content of our own red blood cells. In the past, researchers had a difficult time succeeding as prior tests caused gas embolism. This meant that the gas molecules would become stuck trying to squeeze through the capillaries. They corrected this issue by packaging them into small deformable particles rather ones where the structure was rigid.

Potential Future Uses

Medical: There is the obvious medical uses where the microparticles can be used to save off death from a restriction in breathing due to inflammation of the lungs, collapsed lungs, and the like. It would be good to have these injections ready in hospitals and ambulances for when the time is needed.

Military: Can you imagine a navy seals capability when they wouldn’t need to surface for air and could stay underwater for over 20 minutes? If a boat was to begin to sink, you could shoot yourself as the boat is going down to ensure you aren’t drowned in the under current of the sinking vessel. How about for toxic gases when a facemask is unavailable. The military could have a number of uses for such a medical advancement.

Private Sector: Really this can be used as a precaution for anything nautical where the potential to drown is a real danger. Deep sea rescue crews could inject themselves prior to making a rescue, underwater welders can use it in case they become stuck or air is lost to their suits. The potential use for anything water related seems extremely worthwhile.


In the end, this is an amazing medical advancement and I cant help but recall the movie the Abyss when they took the pill, their helmets filled with air, and they were told they can breathe the water. Well what if they really couldn’t “breathe” water” but since the urge to breathe is natural, that must take place… even if you’re not breathing air per se. But your body was provided with enough oxygen for a time period by taking a pill. It’s just goes to show that anything, absolutely anything that can be thought up, can potentially one day become reality. Thank you scientists, for reminding me that people and their ingenuity are nothing short of awesome.


By freedivinguae

New Freediving Digital Online Logbook Launched

There is a new digital online logbook on the block, this time targeted at Freedivers.

Called APPNEA it’s free and designed to be available on any type of device – whether it is you phone, tablet or computer. It captures all the basic information on a Freedivers dive including Date, Location, Freediving Discipline, Depth, Equipment, etc…

It also supports Facebook accounts to register and login, and the developer promises more social features soon to be able to share your dives with your friends.

According to the develop, features include:

- Multi device logbook for freedivers
- Completely free
- Platform and data are hosted in the Google cloud
- APPNEA is built around the concept of Dive Session and Dives. Freediver can create a dive session with global information about it and then can add one or more single dive to the session with more detailed data.
- Supports Facebook login access and Facebook sharing of freediver’s perfomrance.
- Shows 3-dimension data graph that reporting depth, time and duration.
- Freediver is able to create custom field both for dive session and dive.
- Support data export in csv format.
- Interested in trying it out? Check it out at

By freedivinguae

Imagine For A Moment… Freediving At Wakatobi

Imagine for a moment…

Putting on your freediving equipment in the shade on the dock. Quick safety briefing between the partners in the group and then perform an equipment check. You make sure your climbing harness is secure and do a last check on your freedive computer for mode and time/depth alarms.

You and your partner grab an underwater scooter as do the other buddy teams. You climb down the ladder into more depth than you’ll use, onto a vertical wall with what seems like unlimited viability. Light rays dance around as the top of the reef is level beside you while you float on the surface breathing up.

You have over 90min of continues burn time on gear four of seven which will last 3hrs with a scooter capable of diving to the depth of a 60 story building and do running speed.

A grand adventure is one inhalation away as you freedive up, down and along a marine preserved wall documenting your experience in almost every direction as you cruise effortlessly and breathlessly.

From 20-23 August 2016 DAN/Rolex Diver Of The Year Kirk Krack and World Champion Freediver Mandy-Rae Krack will be teaching a 4 day Intermediate Freediver Course at the amazing Wakatobi Dive Resort in Indonesia.

You too can join them on a PFI Freediving Expedition that is an ocean gem called Wakatobi.

For more information on the PFI Intermediate Freediver Course and how to book can be found on the Performance Freediving International website. Details on the Wakatobi resort can be found on the Wakatobi website.

By freedivinguae

Mares Introduce Their New Freediving Line

This year’s big news from Mares is the new FREEDIVING line, designed specifically to greatly improve the performance of freedivers and apneists. A line developed and created using the traditional quality and reliability of Mares, with many new products dedicated specifically to their many apnea enthusiasts.

Within the Freediving line, new wetsuits take first place of importance, stemming from a detailed analysis of the needs of freedivers during their dives. For the first time in the Pure Instinct line, there are wetsuits completely dedicated to women, created with special characteristics distinguished by their cut: shaped to fit the female form and aid movement. This is very important, highlighting the attention paid to the world of FREEDIVING by Mares.

The Apnea Infinity 30 models, available for both men and women, are a one-piece suit with a separate hood and new pre-formed cut: great comfort guaranteed, even in extreme positions requiring maximum arm extension. The Apnea Infinity 30, in fact, provides great freedom of movement due to the new 3mm neoprene, with a smooth outer layer and inner lining. The elastic inner lining and back zip allow for easy donning. The mix of neoprene chosen is highly resistant to compression and also has high thermal qualities. The new production process, allows for the creation of a smooth exterior, increasing elasticity and resistance to abrasion, while reducing friction in the water for better hydrodynamics. Neoprene panels with a high elastic inner lining are present in areas of greater strain, for example the neck, underarm and base of the zip. Much attention has also been paid to the aesthetic aspect of the wetsuit, highlighted by grey side stripes from the ankle to the wrist; lending it a ‘fluid’ look that is enhanced during vertical and horizontal movements in apnea.

The Apnea Instinct 17 is available in both male and female versions, created with the same innovative neoprene as the Apnea Infinity but with a thickness of 1.7mm. It is a two-piece wetsuit with jacket and high-waist pants, developed with a preformed cut and unique white graphics which make it particularly attractive. The male jacket includes a ‘beaver tail’ closure and double quick-release fastening system. The female version utilizes a single fastening closure system. The Apnea Instinct 17 wetsuit is the ideal solution for competitions in pools and very warm waters.

Completing the line of wetsuits dedicated to freediving is the Apnea Instinct 50 model, a 2-piece suit which echoes the preformed cut of the Apnea Instinct 17, but is constructed of 5mm lined black neoprene with an open-cell interior. The mix of neoprene is very elastic and resistant to wear during the most challenging dives. Around the face, wrists, ankles and waist of the pants, the neoprene is 3.5mm in thickness for easy donning. The pants are high-waisted and the closure system on the jacket is in the form of a beaver tail with a double quick-release closure system (single closure for women).

In the new FREEDIVING range there are also some special accessories.

A nose clip specific for apnea, studied down to the finest of details and now finally available to freedivers all over the world. This small accessory is fundamental for all freediving activity and other varied specialties of this sport. The new shape of the nose clip is highly ergonomic and adapted to use with or without a mask; fundamental for carrying out the correct equalization procedure without the need for hands. Its specific design makes it very compact and light, with a high level of detail in the area of contact with the nostrils. This point of contact has a soft mould for greater comfort and better grip on the nose, as well as guarantees better regulation of pressure on the nostrils due to the symmetry of design. The new nose clip is ideal for apnea in all situations including swimming disciplines.

One of the most interesting accessories is represented by the new Apnea Backpack. Mares also wanted to dedicate attention to pre and post dive, where good organization of a kit is fundamental. The Apnea Backpack is designed to allow freedivers to easily pack and transport all of their equipment even when wet, as the bag is watertight. The material used is light and abrasion resistant; the ideal bag for transporting equipment in every situation. The backpack has a large internal volume, 75 liters, which allows for storing long freediving fins including all other necessary pieces of equipment the diver requires. Lastly, the comfortable ergonomic shoulder straps and front pocket for documents make the Apnea Backpack a highly versatile product for all freedivers.

You can find out more about the Mares FREEDIVING Line and where to buy via the Mares Website –

By freedivinguae

AIDA 2016 Freediving World Pool Championships – The Opening Ceremony

The 2016 edition of the AIDA Freediving Individual World Pool Championships has kicked off with 95 athletes from 21 countries descending on the city of Turku in Finland for the opening ceremony.

This is an individual event so although athletes represent their own countries they are gaining points for themselves rather than competing as a team.

The organizers have released a video from the opening ceremony that you can see below, along with a selection of photos from official photographers Elina Manninen and Daan Verhoeven.

Keep tuned to social media and for updates over the next 7 days.