I didn’t come to Bali with a set number in my head for freediving, or to become an instructor. My only wish was to relax and improve. When I heard I had to do 30m for my Level 3 I silently freaked out. I had done 22 and 25m dives a couple of times last June, at the end of my course, but on previous trips my ears had given out day three and day four preventing me from further deeper dives. I progress a lot slower than other freedivers because I had so many problems with equalisation at the beginning of learning this sport. It is hard to not compare your progress to others but it is so individual, and such a mental process. Everyone is different. I guess I am still scared of pushing my ears because of the pain I have felt in the past. When I arrived in Bali to train I still had to do my constant weight from my AIDA *** to 25m. This trip, of course I wanted to pass that point but overall I wanted to focus on equalisation and make sure that I could actually make it to the end of four weeks without ruining my little sensitive ears.
My instructor Dan from Apneista Freediving & Yoga Amed, did a smart thing. He didn’t tell me all the requirments for Level 3 so I wouldn’t think about them at the beginning, only relaxation. During the week with Frederic, I had made 27 or 28m dives easily, both finning down (constant weight) or pulling down the rope (free immersion). I could see the tennis ball at the end of the 30m line, but literally freaked myself out from going that extra 2m. In my head all I think about is that I’ve never been that far before. And that extra part is the best fun of all if you remain relaxed. In freediving, the magic happens at around 15 to 20m when you become negatively buoyant. Then, you don’t have to do anything else but enjoy as you freefall to the bottom of the line. When you have a nice freefall, you tuck your head in and chill, and it feels like you’re flying down the line through the water. It is a really relaxing feeling if you can close the demons in your head telling you that you are so far away from the surface. You just focus on your equalisation and enjoy the ride.
Last week, most of our training was out of the deep water. We did a static day (holding your breath on land and in the surface), then dynamic (finning under the surface) and exhale diving (diving when you exhale the air from your lungs, a great way to train as it feels like you are at 30m when you are at 10m). So as The Ginger Hunk took a break and my other buddy had a day off it was just me and on of the instructors on the line. We did some warm up dives. Put the rope to 20m and then he said to try straight to 30m. I had no time to freak out no time to plan. I closed my eyes and pulled down to 15m, heard my alarm on my dive watch which tells me it is almost time for the freefall. Two more big pulls and then I start to glide. My eyes are still closed at this time and then I surprise myself by waking up at the tennis ball. I’m here. Already. With no freaking out or wondering where I am. A big grin to my safety and back to the surface for a high five.
I’ve got a few more things to Master this week, a 3 minute 30 breath hold (eeekkk) and mouthfill (a technique freedivers use to equalise at more depths). Then it’s enjoying the last few days of diving and a week on Gili T and Sanur with the Ginger Hunk above water reading a good book and then home to the cats ( I miss them soo much).
Have you broken through a barrier that scared you?
Much Love, Ashleigh