I’ve always wanted to go for Free Diving Lessons and I have been searching for sessions here in the Maldives but I guess it isn’t a trend yet. Most dive centers only offer Scuba Diving Certification. Maybe because almost all the Maldivians who can swim (take note, not every Maldivian can swim given the type of location the country is in) can also free dive and even beat those who take lessons.
They can easily reach 38 meters even though the maximum depth to be certified is just 20 meters.
I can also free dive, I assume, but I wanted to understand the basics and the principles behind it.
So when I saw this instagram account of free divers in one of the local islands, I got so excited and I didn’t waste time. I went to the island for 2 days to get the lessons and get the certification.
I was so confident given that I have been on (and under) water (literally everyday) for the last 2 years of my life here and I thought I am of advantage.
The first day of the course went pretty well. I was very happy with the results. Earlier, I can only hold my breathe underwater for 30 seconds but after the training, I was able to hold my breathe for 2 minutes and 40 seconds. I was also able to survive a 30-meter horizontal swim with just one breathe.
Amazing! Isn’t it? I was so happy with the result.
The second day was the open water session. This time, my 30-meter swim had to be vertical. I struggled a lot. I wasn’t able to focus. My target was to reach 10 meters depth to pass the certification but I was only able to reach 7.8 meters. So guess what, I didn’t pass.
Why? Why didn’t I make it?
I wasn’t listening to my instructor. I wasn’t focused on what I was doing. I’ve been hit several times on the head with a snorkel because of this. (I thought I was a good listener, but maybe I was wrong all this time).
I’ve learned free diving the wrong way. I have some hard habits to break, quite difficult to correct.
So what now? I have to practice and come back again once I’m ready for the test.
And what else?
This trip was disappointing because I didn’t pass the certification but also a good one, a little break in between the usual life and it was fun meeting several free souls.
My free diving instructor is a free lancer, he’d been to Indonesia and Philippines as well for free diving. He’d been to Europe as well for a leisure trip. He is always travelling to different islands and places to see what the world has to offer.
On the way to the dive site, I met a Filipino guy who went to the Maldives all by himself. He was going to dive even though he can’t swim. Few minutes after his dive, I saw him lying (and floating) face up, being dragged by his instructor back to the boat. As to what happened to him, I didn’t ask. We had a chat after the dive and he said came from Thailand, had a few weeks holiday and then came to Maldives, staying here for a week.
This trip was memorable, not only because of the lessons I’ve learned from free diving but also because of the people I have met.
I know I’m a lazy traveler (as written here several times), and I don’t usually travel alone (except for flights back home, apart from tardiness, fear of the unknown I guess) and this short trip, though just to another island was a good ‘solo’ trip. I ventured to a place I don’t know, all by myself. I met people, people that I would most probably won’t meet again. People who were very happy to share their stories and experiences and also listen to mine.