Mark Gains Freedive Qualification (open water up to 20m)

This programme provides you with the training and knowledge required to safely freedive with a buddy in open water environments to depths of 20 meters
— divessi.com

The Freedive from Beginning to End (SSI Visualisation)

The Freediver rests face down in the water, breathing through the snorkel. Slow methodical movements and relaxation breathing prepares the mind and body for the calming effect of the dive reflex, which is starting to lower the heart rate. The Freediver begins the breathe-up, remembering to draw in and hold the last breath, removes the snorkel from the mouth and then pressurizes the middle ear. Tucking into the duck-dive position, the Freediver then moves down through the water column while regularly equalizing the airspaces in the body and mask. The finning style should be perfected. Kicking from the hip with straight fluid strokes the Freedive has now begun.

The diver should be perfectly weighted for the conditions and depth. This stage of the Freedive is the free fall. The finning has stopped as the Freediver moves down through the water column powered by the kinetic energy of the previous fin kicks. Blood shift is starting to take effect. The heart rate has slowed and the blood is shifting from the limbs to the core (Mammalian Dive Reflex). When the target depth is reached the bottom time begins. At this point, the diver should be relaxed and in total awe of the ocean’s depths.

We have explored the depths and our time underwater has taxed the oxygen in our body. The by-product of this process (CO2) is starting to stimulate the urge to breathe and we know it is time to surface and refresh our body and mind. We ascend much like we descend, deliberate finning from the hip making our way toward the surface. Upon reaching the surface we perform recovery breathing, we give the OK sign and continue to breath slow deep and deliberate as we reflect on our time underwater and now watch our buddy enjoy their dive into the deep.

This is what Freediving is all about — safe, exhilarating, addictive fun.

I love the meditative quality of freediving and the freedom and peace that you feel underwater. I’ve always felt ‘at home’ by the sea and in the water and it’s been fascinating to understand more about the theoretical side of this skill - especially learning more about our Mammalian Dive Reflex: a set of miraculous physiological responses that trigger as soon as you put your face in cold water. ‘The Waterside Ape’ is well worth a listen to hear more about our aquatic capabilities...
— Mark Sharman, Underwater Cameraman

Click here to listen to BBC Radio 4’s two-part documentaryThe Waterside Ape’ in which Sir David Attenborough considers whether new evidence will help a once widely ridiculed theory of human origins: the notion that some of evolution is explained if we accept that we grew up around lakes, rivers and seashores (rather than on the dry, savanna plains of Africa). Two episodes each 42 minutes long - first broadcast 14/09/2016.

 © Fotolia

© Fotolia