Free people are everywhere and they judge no one. The place to find them this time was Koh Phangan. Surpisingly writing about what happened would do no justice to your own explorations and experiences. The island is full of love and to navigate it you just let go of comparison, be happy and go partying.
Freediving had been on my mind for a a long time and now I made the conscious push to take a ferry to Ko Tao with only one thing in my mind. Few friends recommended Apnea Total, a freediving school in Koh Tao so a day after arrival I sat in their classroom. (All photos by miaaaaaaaroux.)
I wont go into the details of learning to dive with a single breath. The risks are obvious so I let the instructors and professionals tell you how it’s done. I will say that every body and mind is different the deeper you dive but the same principals apply to everyone. The instructors in Apnea Total know this and have made the teaching a very personal experience.
Here’s the thing. I really don’t have the words to describe diving straight down. It’s a mind game and at the same time so much more.
How to achieve low heart rate? How to move with minimal effort? Relax your body and mind (which uses about 20% of your oxygen).
Breath, take a final breath and dive. Keep focused and relax. But like I told the instructors should teach you this in person. Words can take you only so far. If you are interested of freediving Apnea Total in Koh Tao is a very good place to learn.
For now my dive is something as follows. I do a breath up that prepares me for the dive. After final breath I either exhale some of the air out or dive with full lungs. The first 10 meters I go slowly while making sure my ears are equalizing to the pressure that keeps getting stronger. After that the negative buoyancy takes slowly over and I start sinking deeper without any effort. Free falling. Trying to keep streamlined I hopefully gather some speed. If I reach the end of the rope I let my body turn around and start the ascend.
On the way down my mind might be going through many things but on the way up everything is clear. Get to the surface. Relaxed trip back up takes a while so there is time to notice what is going on in my body. The visibility start getting better. More light. Everything gets brighter and brighter and the water warmer until my head breaks the surface and I take first gasp of air while holding to the floating ring. Practiced recovery breathing makes sure I stay conscious.
Breathing feels so nice. I give an ‘Okay’ sign to the instructor and smile. In few minutes time it’s time to do it again.