In association with Performance FreeDiving International
5:45 a.m. The D3 alarms start going off, letting us know that it is time to wake up and start preparing for the dives ahead. While I am making my Cream of Wheat Kirk heads off to check emails, Martin takes a shower, and Doc groans that we get up too early. Same old, same old. But then Martin walks into the kitchen and asks if he can borrow one of my sticky heat packs as his back is out. Turns out that his C4’s are a bit heavier than he thought and as he tried to lift them off his bed last night, he did something bad to his back. It’s only 6 a.m. and already one person is out for the day.
So the rest of us carry on as normal. On the way to West Bay Dock to meet Danny from Off the Wall Divers, the radio station asks its morning trivia question, "What is the name of the 1990s Steven Spielberg movie about dinosaurs?" I know it’s Jurassic Park and decide to phone in. What do you know, I am the first caller in and win the prize … two t-shirts and VIP passes to a local bar on Friday night. Records start on Friday so I won’t be using the VIP passes. But for me it’s a good way to start off the day.
At the dock we lose our second person of the day, Goh. He decides that he should go back home and get the next video ready instead of hanging out with us. So off he goes. Doc lays down at one end of the dock to do a little visualization before we board the boat. Today will be a new PB for him if he makes the dive. As for me, I will be doing one Free Immersion dive to 74m and then a shallow Variable Ballast dive to 95m. The boat seems strangley empty today without Martin and Goh. Kirk, Peter, Spence, Dave, Bill, and Danny get to work setting up the sled and counter balance system while Doc and I chill out up front. They are getting really fast at getting everything set up. These boys work very hard to make sure that we have everything we need for a good, safe dive. It is amazing how many people it takes to make one of these events happen. We are very lucky with the people we have helping us.
I am first up. The winds are still really strong today, which means that we have waves crashing over us while we try to breathe up. I just keep telling myself that these are perfect training conditions as it means that on game day, no matter what the conditions, I will know that I can do the dive. After I finish my facial immersion, one pull down and one negative I am off to the boat to put on goggles and gloves. Tom comes around to help me over to the line and I wait there for a couple of minutes while the safety divers do final checks on each other. Then Kirk starts the 5 minute countdown. My goal on this dive is to speed it up a bit, as the 72m dive took me 2:55. All the way down I concentrate on the timing of my pulls. Soon I hear Bill and Spence cheering me on. They are getting louder and louder down there. I love it and it makes me smile. I hit the bottom and start making my way back up through the calls of encouragement.
All of a sudden Kirk and Tom are in front of me and I know that I am at 30m. I give Kirk a little jester with my hand to let him know all is well and then suddenly I’m at the surface. I do my recovery breaths, then we all cheer that I just completed 74m with ease. All the work I did on my arms before getting here is paying off as they feel so strong. I check my dive time only to see that instead of getting faster I slowed down. Total dive time was 3:09 making it my longest dive ever!
Next up is Doc. He has gotten his warm-ups down and is ready to go as soon as I am up. This is important, as the longer we take between divers the longer our safety diver’s deco time gets. Kirk starts Doc on his 5 minute countdown. Doc looks very relaxed and in his element. We can all see that this will be a good dive. Zero is called and after Doc takes his final breath Danny releases the sled and Doc starts to drop into the blue. We can feel the sled hit bottom and are waiting with baited breath for his return. Soon we see Tom, Kirk and Doc ascending. They break the surface, Doc does his recovery breaths takes his mask off and tells us that he is OK and did hit bottom. 57 meters, it’s a new personal best! And it looked so easy from where I was. Later we hear that at about 20m Doc started strumming air guitar to Kirk and Tom on the way up. Can you say 60m???
After Doc’s dive I got on the sled for a trial dive to 95m. I am backing off and trying some new techniques and suit combinations. On this dive I wear my 3mm suit instead of 7mm and make my breathe up more relaxed. All goes really well and other than my arms being a bit tired (having just done 74m FI) I think it is a successful experiment.
Back on shore we stop off for a quick lunch and then it’s off to the airport to pick up Tony M. Tomorrow our judges, Bill and Nicolas arrive. Each day brings more friends and freedivers who are coming down to lend their support and good cheer. Only one training day left, but I think that we are ready to break some records. Stay tuned for the big stuff!