Master Program and level 3 with Freedive Dahab – Part two
It’s Blue Hole day and I buddy up with my level 3 fellow freedivers at one bouy. Blue Hole is a bit choppy today and the wind is blowing. We all begin with a few FIM warm up dives. My warm ups go well, and my equalization is working fine, and I slowly increase my depth.
After the warm ups we take turns in diving and doing safty dives for each other. Both Alex and I are doing safty for each other, but also Ben, who is practicing with his monofin. As I feel relaxed and cofortable in the water I get ready for my first CWT dive. I do my breathe up, final breaths and dive. My first dive goes to 20.9 meters and it feels good. On my 2nd CTW I break my PB with 80 cm and dive to 22.6. Now, that’s enough for today. For the rest of the dives, I do safty, pictures, and videos.
At night most of the freedive Dahab instructors and freedivers go to Lagona in the south of Dahab. We are going to bbq and hang out, I guess. Ben, Alex and I are not quite sure about what is happening and how ae are going to do this. We were told in the morning, that everyone should bring their own food. So, we have an hour to arrange some food and get changed. In a cap we drive to Asala Square, where we find a butcher. Big pieces of meat are hanging on the roof in the street. It looks a bit unhygienic, but I guess, if we just make sure, that the beef he slices is well done, we should be safe. We get the meat and find a vegetable shop and buy some onions, eggplants and squash. Well, at least we thought we were buying squash, as when I come back home with the vegetables, I find the squash to be cucumber! I don’t think that is good on a grill…
We meet everyone at Freedive Dahab and after a lot of waiting, we finally head for Lagona, where Ben and Jonas is waiting, At Lagona we get the fire started, and apparently someone else has supplied us with meat already. So, we shouldn’t be in need of meat, anyway. It’s a lovely, but hot, night, and sky is absolutely beautiful with the stars, the mountains in the background and the light from Dahab in the distance. A lovely way to end the with and then back home and sleep.
Today we are doing level 3 theory and dive session. In the classroom we learn about the FRC training and mouth-fill. FRC stands for functional residual capacity. It’s the amount of air you have left en your lungs, when you do a passive exhale. It’s a way of training for deeper dives but in shallower depths. The mouth-fill is a technique to equalize when diving deep. During your dive you make a mouth-fill, to use equalizing your ears without using air from your lungs.
Alex, Ben and I get each out ballon to practice with. The trick is to close your epiglottis, and use the air in the ballon to equalize and blow out your nose. This is really difficult! Well, for me anyway. I am really struggling with the ballon in the classroom, and I don’t seem to figure it out. Anyway, we have a small break and then we gear up and walk to Lighthouse to practice the technique in the water.
We begin with a couple of FIM warm up dives and then we begin the FRC dives. To begin with they make me a bit nervous. To dive with not much air in your lungs seems a bit weird, now that we have learned to take a full inhale before diving. After a few FRC dives I really begin to feel relaxed during my breathe ups. Then something new happens. “Try doing the mouth-fill, Rikke.” Thanks Hussein, I just started to relax and now a new factor appears. My mouth-fill doesn’t go very well. I feel that I have to use too much energy, and I’m not really sure if it works for me. Well, with practice it will, but right now I really suck at it! I can’t keep a constant preassure in my ears, then I use air from my lungs, and then I don’t know how to frenzel after I have probably swallowed my mouthfill.
After a lot of dives with FRC and mouth-fill I really feel exhausted. I ask Hussein, when we are done with the session, and he tells me to do just one more dive, and then done! Thank you, I’m really tired and just want to relax now.
We are going to have 2 sessions practicing some more FRC and mouth-fill at Blue Hole today. We leave Dahab and drive to Blue Hole. I love sitting in the back of the car, instead of inside of it. You have a better view and you are blown away, in more than one way, by the car ride. Goats are running around in the streets, camels are on the run, mountains in the background and the sun burning your skin.
I share a bouy with Alex and we begin with a few FIM, as always. It’s a nice and easy way to begin your dives with. It makes you comfortable, and let you slowly know if your ears want to work with you or against you. My ears work with me today. For the FIM, anyway. I begin my FRC’s, and I feel relaxed. I actually kind of like FRC, as you are doing your breathe up, and then slowly pull yourselves down the rope. It’s a really nice feeling. The only thing with FRC, as that it really makes you tired. Even though you are making shallow dives, it’s like making deep dives, which exhausts you.
My mouthfill doesn’t work either. Well, maybe sometimes, but right now, I feel that I spend a lot of energy keeping my eustachian tubes open and the preassure constant. After nine dive, I’m done. When I get out of the water, I fell that I have run a half marathon. And yes, I do know how that feels like. I am so tired that I fall asleep in our break between our two sessions. Hussein tells me to stay and relax during the 2nd session, as I’m going in the water again the day after. I think that’s a good dicision. I am completely shattered, and just want to get in a room with aircondition and a bed.
Today is pool session day. I have to do my requirement for level 3. 75 meters DYN and 400 meter swim.
At the pool Freedive Dahab owner Lotta Ericson is going to have a monofin course with Bendik, James and Nico. Alex and I will do some statics, DYN and DNF and the 400 meter swim.
We all begin with some stretching in the shadow and afterwards Alex and I make a plan for our official top in static apnea. We don’t have much time to prepare, so the timeline doesn’t really hold. We get in the water and I do my first breath up and warm up static. I only need to hold my breath for 2 minutes, but it feels horrible. I don’t know why, but I can’t relax, I don’t want to do this, my contractions come really early again, and I just want to breathe! When I get my face out of the water, I just feel ridiculous. Alex does his first warm up and then me again. I am really trying to relax during my breath up and now I get to my breath hold. Again, it feels horrible. Just let me breathe for f*** sake! I hold for the 2 minutes, but I feel that I’m struggling, and it’s only 2 minutes. I almost feel like crying when I get to breathe. For my last and maximum breath hold, I decide just to go for 2:30 minuets. I really don’t want to do this, but I have to…or that is, I can stop if I want to, but I will feel stupid and disappointed with myself. At my last breath hold I’m struggeling, again! My contractions are unbearable and I just want to quit! Alex tells me I’m doing fine and only need another 30 seconds. I give him an OK sign, but I really just want to come out of the water. I’m already holding my hands on the edge, I was even seeking the edge way before 2 minutes. After 2:31 I get to breathe. Finally, it’s over! Alex does his maximum, and a very good one, just a bit ore than 4 minutes. Congratz!
I get ready for doing my maximum DYN. I don’t want to do any warm up dives, I just want to go for it. I stand by the edge, relaxing, breathing quietly, I’m ready for this, and then my final breath. I get to 25 meters, make a nice turn. I get to 50 meters, I make an other nice turn. I’m calm and finning relaxed in the water. 75 meters, I make yet another turn, and then I ascent to the edge. 87 meters! I did my requirement, but not another PB. Hussein tells me, that he actually didn’t think that I would make it, as my statics were so shitty (my words, not Hussein’s). But I really like dynamics. In dynamics I just relax, do the finning, maybe gliding a bit and I don’t have to think about lying still, relaxing and just hold my breath and keeping my mind occupied with something else than the breath hold.
After lunch we do some DNF (dynamic no fins). I goes quite well. I do a couple of 50 meters and just focusing on relaxing and gliding after each keystroke and leg kick. I do 25 meters with only 6 strokes and kicks. I’m really improving my technique in DNF.
The afternoon I spend on blogwriting, editing photos and meeting with the guys for some food and the card game asshole. This time I begin as the asshole but end as the president, and the guys conspiring to beat me…as if!!
Today is training day at Lighthouse and I buddy up with Caleb, who is doing the Zero to Hero program with Freedive Dahab. We gear up at the center and walk to Lighthouse with our bouy. Janos and Enrique has one bouy, and James and Freedive Dahab owner Linda Piganelli on the 3rd bouy. The water is a bit choppy, but the visibility is amazing and you can see probably as far as 20-25 meters of the rope.
Both Caleb and I begin with a few FIM warm up dives. It’s really going well, my equalizing is working and I feel comfortable. By the 3rd and last FIM, I get a new PB at 19.1 meters. Nice! Caleb then does one to 30 meters. Bastard! But he’s way ahead of me and he’s a good freediver.
My 4th dive is CWT, and I feel comfortable to go for a PB. I do my breathe up, make a duck dive and begin finning. I find myself not being able to frenzel (equalize) anymore and turn around. I look at my dive computer, Caleb meets me at around 10 meters and we ascent together. New PB at 24.9 meters. That’s 2.7meters more than my PB from Friday. I completely forgot about the freefall, where I can save some energy, so I’ll focus on that on my next dive.
On my next dive I do another PB, 25.2 meters. Wauw! I’m on a roll here! And I remembered the freefall, and just let myself glide trough the water. Amazing feeling. You don’t have to think about anything than relaxing and equalizing. Next dive I “only” get to 24.3 meters, because of my equalization, but it’s still more than what I’m used to, and that means, that I’m getting more and more comfortable in my dives. I’m doing my last breathe up for today, when Linda yells at us. There’s a turtle near by. I just get to see it, before it disappears in the blue. When I get back to our bouy there’s a tiny squid swimming around near us. So cute. I do my breathe up and dive. At around 15 meter I let myself fall into the deep blue. I try to relax, I equalize till I feel it gets too difficult, then I turn around. I look at my computer, I meet Caleb at around 10 meters and when we get to the suface he asks how far I went. 27.2 meters. My new PB. What a great way to end the day. We pull in the rope and swim towards the beach. Now I just want something to eat, and a bit of sun on my lower body, as my hands are getting the freediving tan. I lie in the sn for an hour or two and a small tanning appears. Now it’s just my butt, that is still white as vanilla ice – and I’ll remain it like that!
Photo credits: Freedive Dahab and Rikke Hansen – The Freediving Darling