F R E E D I V I N G – Day 2
As I stare down into the blue and watch the orange rope disappear into the darkness, I wonder what I was doing there, hanging out in the ocean when I could have been just about anywhere else. What had I gotten myself into? Again! Why must one live outside of comfort, why cannot one simply lay in a hammock and read a book on a sunny day?
But no. Not me. This chicken has to try to be brave.
“Btw, I dislike snorkeling, and I certainly hate the deep blue, even with scuba diving!” I tell our instructor, just so he knows that this will be interesting.
We are in the ocean, and I’m freaking out because I thought we would be practicing somewhere where I could see some corals, fish and at least the bottom. But no. All I saw was the orange rope and the deep blue around us. Arno made it look so easy. Breathe-up and down to 5 meters, then 7, then 10, 12 and 15 meters.
Down to 3 meters and panic. Down to 3.5 meters and panic. Finally down to 5.7 meters and I’m ready to call it a day. This shit is hard!
Before the freedive, you do what’s called a breathe-up. You hold on to the buoy, immerse your face into the water and start the countdown. The breathe-up includes six rounds of inhale-exhale with the ratio of 4-6 counts, the exhale always being longer. This has a calming effect to the body. The final two breaths are taken in to the max, and exhales out to the max. One more deeeeeep inhale, and down you go.
You flip yourself upside down, try to equalize (relieve pressure in the sinuses and ears), try to hold on to the rope and pull yourself deeper. In the pool we did a swim of 30 meters, so I assumed that 5 meters would be a piece of cake.
It was not!
Everything was weird and different. Being upside down, trying to equalize, get down, and all the while realizing that the further down you go, the longer the way up is. It’s easy to swim horizontally under the surface when you know that at any point you just come up and breathe again. When going down, it’s a whole different calculative ballgame.
After the exercises, I had one thought, and one thought only: I don’t think I’ll be graduating this school.
NEVER GIVE UP
I actually didn’t finish all the exercises and got out sooner than planned. I just couldn’t do it anymore. Too much information, too many new factors, too much fear-factor for one day. Tomorrow we try again, and I will be better. I will freak out less, I will relax just a bit more.
It’s like with scuba diving – after the first open water session I cried all the way to the shore, it had been that scary for me. I was pushing myself and scared of diving pretty much for the first 40 dives, and now after 100 dives I just really love it, and am (mostly) feeling relaxed. My mind is not playing tricks on me anymore, I don’t go through horror scenarios, I just dive and enjoy the scenery.
This is what will happen with Freediving too, I’m sure. I will go in my own pace, and succeed on my own terms. Whatever it takes, as long as it stays fun. And I know I can do it, I just know I can. It’ll take me to the edge a few times, and beyond.
Once today, during my longest whooping 5.7m dive I felt it again. After suppressing the first urge to breathe, I continued down and for a moment the world was surreal, calm, blue and peaceful.
For about 2 seconds. But still.
Let’s see what Day 3 will bring…