I was thrilled preparing for my dive. It’s only 20 feet down, 15 across into the grotto. 50 seconds max. I’ve now hit 2:43 static dive, but still nearly 2:00 free dive. I’m a Free Diver. I am learning how to master it. Well, challenge it let’s say. Free Diving is the sport of diving, salt water or fresh, on a single breath. It’s thrilling, exhilarating, euphoric and possibly fatal is done wrong.
Maybe it was the nervous energy or just nerves in general cause the cameras were ready and “it’s time” as our director states, but I dropped my fin. I realized that second that this segment would be done if it wasn’t retrieved. I would be responsible for that happening so I quickly threw on my mask and plunged in the water quickly took a final breath before submerging and dove. Every free dive requires a two minute “breath up”. This time allows the diver to calm his body, relax his mind, empty his thoughts and expand the diaphragm. The moment I went under I saw the fin’s brand starting up at me. Disappearing calmly into nothingness. The clarity of the water was immense. I was alone in it’s cold chasing my embarrassment. I thought once to abort as it became dark, but seeing how close I was continued. I reached it, grabbed and held that moment of victory for an instant until I turned around to ascend.
I was 40′ down and out of breath. I didn’t know where I was. I couldn’t see the boat, the light or my way out. …I did see my son. I saw him growing up without his dad. My wife sobbing to no longer have the man she loves. I saw my body shutting down because my lungs are filled with carbon dioxide. I saw me lifeless in one of the most beautiful places I have seen because I was stupid. I didn’t follow the rules I trained so diligently to employ. I wasn’t calm, at ease or in control because I didn’t follow the instruction i was taught. Done properly Free Diving is one of the most mind altering, exciting, safe sports I’ve ever engaged in. Done wrong it can be fatal.
Now, truth be told and more than likely, worst case scenario, I would’ve blacked out, been pulled to safety and brought back without incident, but this show about about challenging yourself without exceeding that limit. It’s about living the life you want for as along as you can and about living to tell the tale. The lesson I learned that day won’t haunt me. It taught me to respect the rules of any, every adventure I try so, for as long as I can, I will continue to travel safe and not sorry.