Free Diving

Ever since I saw Jacques-Yves Cousteau on TV, when I was really young, and when I had a lot of time and little money, I have had this fascination with oceans. It was not even passing fad. It never diminished.

freediving book-qa-deep-james-nestor-01_82455_990x742James Nestor came up with a new book called ‘Deep’. This is what he says “the final unseen, untouched, and undiscovered wilderness.” It is also a frontier extremely difficult to explore. The pressure is so intense, at 30 feet down our “lungs collapse to half their normal size.”

It’s a book about Free-diving, Renegade Science, and what the oceans tell us about ourselves.

Interestingly the Emiratis (the natives of UAE) have also getting onto it for the world championships of freediving.

Ahmed Khoori, the UAE National Champion says this – “In 2015 we want to send the first UAE national freediving team to the AIDA Team World Championships. To achieve this goal we need to train 6 Emiratis to reach 60 metres in 6 months,” said Alex Boulting, owner and co-founder of Freediving UAE, which is behind the initiative.”

Here is the excerpt of Interview with James Nestor at National Geographic

Describe what happens to the human body when you go that deep.

Something amazing happens the second we put our faces into water. Our heart rates lower about 25 percent. Blood begins rushing from our extremities into the core. The mind enters a meditative state. At around 250 to 300 feet the heart rate of some of these free divers has been recorded to be about 14 beats per minute. That’s about a third of a coma patient’s. It shouldn’t support consciousness, according to physiologists. And yet deep in the ocean it does. But no one knows exactly how.

Your research took you all over the world. Tell us about the Ama people of Japan.

The Ama have been free diving for about 3,000 years. These are women divers, who live off the coast of Japan. In the 1700s and 1800s, there were thousands of them. Since fishing technologies developed, their numbers dwindled. But I heard that they were still out there, so I went to Japan and found a little enclave of them. They were in their 60s and 70s. One lady was pushing 80! They’d been diving since they were teenagers.

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Englisman, William Trubridge holds the world record in the premier unassisted free-diving category. this is what he has to say about it

What is the free diving attraction?
The peace. All sensations, even light, are muted. It allows you to go inside yourself more which is a very profound experience. I didn’t hear about free diving until I was in my early 20s but was hooked when I gave it a go. There is a freedom to move in three dimensions. You shut down rational thinking because it consumes oxygen. The pressure causes a narcosis which slows the mind even more. You get in that woozy state.

Happy Diving!

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