3 months after my week of freediving in Koh Tao was cut short, I was back in the water again, but this time with Freedive Dahab in Egypt. I was in Dahab to do a Level 2 SSI freediving course, in order to increase my freediving skills, learn new relaxation techniques and become an altogether better freediver. My goal was not to go as deep as possible, but to go down to 15-20 meters and be able to stay there for a few minutes, because this is what I need to become a better spearfisher. Freedive Dahab has a definite focus on going deep, but all the skills surrounding their approach to freediving is transferable to spearfishing, so I was like a sponge, sucking up the information.
I stayed at the Canyon Estate, a hotel situated about 8 km outside Dahab on the road to the Blue Hole. This was convenient, because when we were going to freedive at the Blue Hole, we would be picked up on the way and didn’t have to get up early to go into town first. The hotel itself was quiet and perfect for me, because I wasn’t looking for a party. It is run by a very friendly Italian couple, so it goes without saying that the restaurant cooks excellent Italian food. In addition to a few people I trained with, some very talented freedivers were staying at the hotel, most notably Natalia Molchanova and her son Alexey Molchanova both World record holders in freediving.
Freedive Dahab had scheduled a training week, the week I was there, so I was able to do my course and participate in training together with freedivers from all over the World. I dove with guys from: Qatar, Oman, Egypt, Sweden, UK, Scotland, France, Korea, USA, Germany… You get the picture, it was an international group.
We did most of our training and freediving at the Blue Hole, a virtual magnet for freedivers. At the Blue Hole you’re protected by the reef, so you’re not very affected by wind and waves.
A large number of freedivers practice there and I had never seen as many people using monofins in my life. The Blue Hole is also popular with Tech divers, diving down to 80-100 meters to get to the bottom or to go through the arch leading out into the Red Sea. This time-lapse shows a normal day at the Blue Hole:
(I’ll post a time-lapse video of the Blue Hole as soon as I get a decent Internet connection.)
In addition to training at the Blue Hole, a small group of us (Yin, Olivier, Markus and myself) did a tour to Ras Mohammed, south of Sharm-El Sheikh, where we were able to enjoy some spectacular swimthroughs in coral caves and tunnels.
There wasn’t enormous amounts of fish, but enough to make it colorful. We also had a look at the wreck of Yolanda, where it was pretty obvious what they had been transporting.
The trip to Dahab was awesome and turned out exactly like I had hoped it would. I set some personal bests that I was very happy with: I went down to 40,2m and held my breath for 4min 11sec in the pool. If you’re a freediver, you’ll understand the following: I did a 75 meter dynamic with fins and 50 without. A 4:11 static. 40,2m with free immersion and 40,0m with constant weight. I’ve learned a lot and look forward to improving as a spearfisher and freediver.
As an end note, my GoPro camera has a curved lens, so all my underwater images sucked balls (you need a flat lens to shoot well underwater I found out the hard way). All the underwater pictures and videos in this post were taken by Markus, while the pictures on land are mine. I end this post with what I think is an awesome picture of Markus: