The training is very extensive. It’s one the most disciplined sports I’ve ever encountered. You play it alone. Your mind is the only competitor. The greatest competitor. And for those hour long seconds I remain motionless, nearly 60 feet under water, leaving my familiarity, my comfort very far above and as I am without breath for nearly two and a half minutes in that tranquil, blissful – perfect moment I am convinced – I never have to breathe again. THIS is free diving.
The Cenote (say – NO – tay) of the Yucatan are remarkable. They are a naturally created sinkhole that’s formed when a cave’s ceiling collapses revealing its water below. The Yucatan boasts three of the largest underground water systems and some of the greatest cave diving in the world, but today there will be no oxygen used. Free Diving is the sport of diving as deep as you can on a single breath hold. I’ve hit 2:22 and at this time the possibility of a shallow water blackout (yes, exactly what it sounds like) is not really an issue, however, the psychological game I’m playing is a difficult one to get around. You see, the diaphragm begins to contract when the body has a build up of carbon dioxide and once this begins you are pretty much at your half way point of a breath hold. The trouble comes when the contractions begin at 18 metres and you reach for 20. The body’s need to expel the CO2 is far greater than its need for oxygen. ..and it’s gonna come out. …let the sport commence.
There is moment that’s said to occur right before death. A moment your brain no longer allows thought, only feelings. A moment when you’ve passed the realization of inevitability. It’s said to be a moment of great warmth, clarity and euphoria. As my contractions have only just started I know it’s not THAT moment, but if it feels anything like Free Diving, I’m good to go at any time.