Free dive lessons with 12 times world champion
We were looking for freediving watches and stumbled upon a freedive shop, we returned the next day as they were closed. Stu was like a kid in a candy shop, he was so excited meeting the 12 times freedive world champion record holder !!!!! Very impressive, and it turned out they are really nice people. His kind wife Gabby offered to mind the kids so that I could do the course with Stu – yay, yay and yay. So we dingied to their dingy dock in the marina. The kids stayed with us for some theory videos and chatting with Carlos, which was really interesting and the kids were like angels!!! Phew. Sienna was intrigued with Gabby and didn’t want to leave at the end of the session. We were doing 2, 3 hour days which is plenty long enough for the kids (and Gabby I’m sure). Gabby took the kids to play in the pool in the complex they live in, which they loved. Sienna got the hang of the mermaid tail Gabby had for her to use, much to her delight.
I discovered I have probably hurt my ear a few days ago when we snorkled, as I couldn’t equalize (which is rare for me). Since I couldn’t equalize I tried another way and ‘clicked’ my ears instead of using the Valsalva technique to equalize, which actually worked underwater!!!! It seemed like I can equalize hands free, cool and yay!!! This is the first time I had tried this underwater, I got down to 12.8 m and was under for 58 seconds according to Stus freedive watch. Anyway Carlos said I probably got some mucous in the eustacian tube and that was why I couldn’t equalize, its common apparently for learning freedivers , but it causes the tube to swell as they keep trying to go down (which I did, carefully though) and needs a few weeks to heal…….hmmmmm. We learnt equalization techniques, how to breath up and relaxation techniques with Carlos and then time to hit the water.
Carlos is amazing, his deepest unofficial dive is 182m!!!!!! His deepest official dive is 140m!!!!!!! Yes that’s metres, with one breath!!!! He was the first one to freedive past 100m in non-assisted disciplines, meaning without a sled – AMAZING. His wife Gabby is also a gun diver and competed also but has ruptured her ear canal 13 times! She is also a great photographer, as you can see from these great pics that she generously gave to us.
Off we all went after extracting the kids from the pool, to his freedive platform on the ocean. Carlos is a great teacher, he got Stu and I to do some dives along a long line straight to the ocean floor. Stu did really well, getting down to 20m with a time of 1 minute 40 sec. I could not equalize that well (as I had caused trauma to it a few days prior) diving head down and was much better going down upright practicing the hands free equalization, but couldn’t get down that far maybe 8m, but I was expecting to have trouble getting down with my ears playing up. So he confirmed I was able to equalize with the hands free ear click (which apparently you can either do it or not, your born with it, I think around 30% of people can learn it) but I need to manage it very carefully or I will hurt my ears again. Basically he said to keep practicing the hands free ear click to strengthen the muscle, but I need to learn the frenzel technique and use both. Which I think I did for the first time at the end of the session on top of the water, I was very excited. I am practicing back home and I think I finally know how to do it – yipeeeeeee. Well on the surface anyway!! The frenzel equalization technique is using your throat and tongue as a piston to trap air while keeping the epiglottis shut to move air into the eustacian tube to equalize the middle ear. The Frenzel technique does not move air from the lungs to equalize the middle ear (which is the Valsalva).
Carlos also taught and showed us the safety and rescue techniques for under water blackout. Don’t worry mums and dad we don’t push the limits (he taught us about loss of motor control and loads more) and we know the rules now, so it’s all good! Honestly I’m not at that level anyway, but Stu is so I was glad he drummed the rules into him.
The last half of the freedive course was today, and Stu got down to 30.3 m!!!! He said he could have gone deeper but he didn’t as the idea is to stay by the line (which stopped at 30m). He did his first mouthful (technique of filling the mouth with air at 18m from lungs to equalize at deeper depths – how u have enough air at that depth and time under water is beyond me). Stu was stoked he could do it and wifey was impressed!
I could equalize today, yay, and with the frenzel techniaue underwater!!!! Double yipeeeee. I got to 14m, pretty happy. Especially since I hurt my ears only on Sunday.
The kids had a ball with Gaby, they played in the pool, did some stretching exercises with Gaby, dove for rocks, played with Mermaid tails and a shark fin. At the end of the session we all fed the Iguanas that were on their dock. Sienna was very sad to leave, she has become quite attached to Gaby.
I can highly recommend Carlos Coaste from Freedive, he is amazing. He trains people from all over the world, next week some competitive freedivers are coming here from Australia to train with him. He broke a world record last year diving underwater horizontally (not at depth) for the longest distance, his best breath hold is 7 min (static), and 4 min something at depth – wow he’s a human fish!
Thank you for reading, drop a line if you like.
Neverland crew xxxxx
2 thoughts on “Bonaire Part 2 -Free Diving with World Champion.”
Epic stuff clan!!
Thank you for sharing, Nat. I must admit I’m most impressed with your achievements and your courage. i got a little nervous just reading how far down you had gone. However, I’m very excited for you and your new experience. Such a fortunate life xxxx