There was a total of 3 of us doing the course, so after we did our introductions we started on some classroom work. We also practiced the correct technique for ear equalizing and did some timed breath holds. Around midday we went to Malta's national pool to do the required 40m underwater swim. This is called Dynamic Apnea and the main points of this involved correct weight and buoyency, pushing off from the side of the pool and doing the first arm stroke, turning at the other end of the pool and getting to 40m. All these parts were covered in detail and we practiced our techniques until we were ready for the 40m. Rescue diver procedures were also taught and practiced during this pool session.
After the pool we went back to the classroom for the final theory for day 1 and briefly went over what the plan is for the second day.
After a brief classroom session we entered the very calm water of Cirkewwa and setup the buoys in 20m deep water. First we practiced Free Immersion where you pull yourself down the rope. There were a few things to get right, such as relaxation, initial accent technique, then equalising and pulling yourself down the line.
After this session we went onto constant weight where we used fins and the correct technique to efficient finning. The AIDA2 course requires a dive of 16m-20m.
The day was very calm and relaxed and this was clearly a major part of freediving. Not pressure or stress to get things done, take your time.
We met at the dive centre and had a quick briefing for the day's events. First off was the static apnea discipline at a sheltered area near Bugibba. To pass the course a 2 minute breath hold was required. I managed 3 minutes and felt like I could manage a few more seconds, but I was more than happy with myself achieving this time. We also had a go at being the coach. This involved steadying the person, timing, communication and watching for signals.
Next up was a trip to Cirkewwa again for the final open water dives before the exam. We did the constant weight again, like on day 2, but a little deeper and also practiced using a lanyard to keep you secured to the line as well as being a rescue diver who meets the other diver half way. With all the open water requirements completed we all headed to the classroom for the written exam.
My Final Points From a SCUBA Diving Background.
Very interesting learning about ears, equalising, lungs in lots more detail.
Knowledge of what's involved in freediving will allow me to be more aware of freedivers when I'm scuba diving.
Being relaxed is very important.
Finding a competent buddy you can trust. This must work both ways.
Learning what your body and mind is really capable of.
Overall the course was very enjoyable. David, the instructor was very informative and knowledgable. Detailed instructions and techniques were demonstrated and personal feedback was given throughout the day.
The 3 full days were good fun, calm, knowledgable and were the ideal environment for pushing your mental boundaries to an area it's difficult to imagine before the course.
Static: 2 minutes. I managed 3 minutes. (Holding breath floating on surface)
Dynamic: 40m. I managed 40m on my second attempt. (In swimming pool).
Constant Weight: 16m. My maximum depth was 20m.
The exam was a mix of multiple choice as well as full answers and was straight forward if you followed the manual and classroom ok.
here to edit.
Welcome to a series of new blog posts where we follow the experience of a scuba diver as he learns to freedive properly for the first time!
Here is part one:
I started scuba diving in September 2011 and have done 400 dives. I've completed the PADI divemaster qualification as well as the SDI Solo diver, PADI tec 40 and I'm currently studying for Tec 45.
I like to learn from every dive and always look at ways to improve. I'm currently working on kit configuration and practising technical diving procedures and methods. I've thought about doing a freediving course for the last 2 years, although I've not taken it any further than that.... until now. In about six weeks I'll be doing my AIDA2 with One Breath Freediving in Malta.
A couple of days ago I went to my local 6m deep pool where I was able to prepare for the course. I just wanted to practice The Frenzel Maneuver for equalising. This is how I equalise when scuba diving, but when scuba diving the decent rate is a lot slower and I'm horizontal, not head first.
After 15 minutes in the pool the equalising was going well and towards of the session I could manage 30-40 seconds under water. This was without knowing any relaxation, breathing techniques or how to efficiently duck dive. At this point I hadn't read anything about freediving. I used a 5mm wetsuit, 3kg weights, scuba fins and mask.
Over the next few weeks I'm going to be studying the AIDA2 manual and spend some time practising breathing and relaxation. I'll update my experiences here in a couple of weeks while I progress through the freediving manual.
Great conditions at Cirkewwa as Vitalijus & Bruno complete the final open water requirements for the AIDA3 course.
The Mammalian Diving Response (MDR)
How the Human Body Responds to Submersion in Water: A Summery
One of the questions I get asked most frequently as a freediving instructor is about HOW we can hold our breath longer. What is the 'trick', the 'secret' that can make it easier for us to be underwater deeper or longer. What many people don't realise is the the human body already holds most of the answers!
Here is an overview of the four main diving responses of the human body, collectively known as 'Mammalian Diving Response' (MDR):
Trigger: Breath-holding, facial immersion in water, increased pressure
Response: Blood vessels in the extremities of the body (arms, legs) constrict to keep blood prioritised for the vital organs of the body
FACT: A disadvantage of reduced blood flow is increased carbon dioxide and lactic acid build up, but tolerance to these can be increased through training
Trigger: Facial Immersion in (cold) water, breath-holding
Response: Heart rate slows down by 10-25% in untrained, or up to 50% in trained freedivers, thus conserving blood Oxygen
FACT: In diving seals, heart rate has been measured going from 125bpm to below 10bpm during a dive!
Trigger: Breath holding and increased pressure on repetitive deep dives
Response: The spleen contracts and releases more red blood cells which aid oxygen transportation in the blood
FACT: The spleen is not an essential organ, but holds a reserve of blood and is important as part of the bodies immune system
Trigger: Increased pressure on deeper dives
Response: Blood plasma swells the alveoli of the lungs filling the chest cavity area to prevent barotrauma injury from increased pressure at depth
FACT: Only as recently as the 1970's did scientists begin to understand this phenomenon once divers such as Enzo Maiorca returned from 50m+ dives, injury free!
Sign up for AIDA3 (Intermediate) Course at One Breath Freediving to learn more about the Mammalian Diving Response and to reach new depths underwater.
The 2015 'In Water Photographer of the Year' competition is now accepting public voting to decide an overall winner! Category winners are announced for the photography competition that is for freedivers, snorkellers, swimmers and others in the water without using breathing apparatus.
Vote by clicking the link below and deciding how many stars to give your favourite photographs. It's that easy!
Congratulations Ryan, Earl, Rody & Yanica for successfully completing AIDA 2* Course. Here we are celebrating together on Tug 2 wreck after the final course requirements were met.
Find out what the One Breath Freediving team is up to with the latest posts on this blog page.