Freediving is not as big as scuba diving is in Malta. The first time I got in touch with freediving was in the summer of 2017. I always saw free divers at dive sites around the Maltese islands, especially in summer because the water is much warmer than in winter. I bought myself a pair of Bi-fins and started practicing on my days off. In my opinion, the best part about freediving is the peace and quietness. There are no bubbles from divers buzzing around you, just absolute quietness. The marine life will not swim that fast away from you as you are not blowing bubbles.
Towards the end of the summer I decided to enroll on a free diving course. I learnt so much more than I already knew about freediving. How you can push yourself even more to go deeper and to hold your breath for longer. Learning about safety is a great aspect as well. Never free dive by yourself, always go with a buddy. Same rule for scuba diving. After completing my course, I got certified as an AIDA Level 2 Freediver.
In freediving there are different disciplines where you can specialize in. The 2 I like most are: Constant weight (CWT) and Free Immersion (FIM).
- CWT: Probably the most common depth version of Freediving. The diver descends on a line using either bi-fins or a monofin and typically a wetsuit and a small amount of weight. The diver is not allowed to pull on any guide ropes or change the weight used.
- FIM: Free Immersion is a freediving discipline in which the freediver dives under water without the use of propulsion equipment, but only by pulling on the rope during descent and ascent.
A few weeks after completing my AIDA Level 2 Freediver I moved from Malta to Bonaire. Bonaire is a tiny island, even smaller than Malta, in the Caribbean. It is part of the Dutch Colonies. With Aruba and Curacao, they form the ABC Island in the Caribbean. Not knowing that freediving is a big thing on Bonaire, a few days into my new work, one of my colleagues was talking about a free diving center and is owned by Carlos Coste. Carlos Coste is a world class free-diver and record-holder. He became the first human to achieve a Free Immersion dive of more than 100 meters. Of course, I needed to make a visit to meet Carlos Coste and plan a training session with him. As soon as it was my day off, I made my way over to his freediving center. I met Carlos Coste and set a training session with him for the following day. Next day I met up with him at the center. At first, we did Yoga, which I have never done before, so this was going to be really entertaining. Yoga can help with freediving for mind and body. Yoga practice can help improve freediving by expanding lung capacity and improving tissue flexibility. After our yoga session we jumped on the boat and drove off the platform where we were going to start our session. We focused on the discipline ‘CWT’ (Constant Weight Apnea with Bi-Fins). After all the advice from Carlos, I even broke my own personal record! Great day for freediving.
Because I had quite a bit of free time during my stay on Bonaire, I promised myself that I plan in at least one training session a week in with Carlos. After each session I felt that I was improving but unfortunately, my stay in Bonaire was only for 2 months.
Freediving is a great way to improve your breath hold and If you like peace and quiet just like me, I would recommend trying it.