Freediving App Review Series: Dive Moken App

Dive Moken

This is part of the DeeperBlue.com Freediving App Review Series – a collection of reviews of Freediving related mobile apps.  Each app has been reviewed based on a standardized set of criteria you can see here.  In this article we review the Dive Moken App.

In reviewing freediving Apps over recent weeks, we have tested a number of “training” Apps that are straightforward variations on CO2 and O2 Tables. Dive Moken is something unique…there’s a challenge element that allows the user to test their breath hold ability, but this is the first App we have reviewed that engages users in a narrative.

The Moken People are a nomadic tribe of Austronesian people who live in the Mergui Archipelago, a collection of over 800 islands in the Andaman Sea. Their story is truly unique, and their incredible abilities as freedivers are the stuff of legend. Living the majority of their lives on their small skiffs (kabang), they return to land only to escape storms and during the heavy rains of monsoon season. They exist on a sea-based hunter-gatherer existence, gleaning almost all they need from the sea.

As the last seaborne nomadic people, their culture is unique, but their aquatic lifestyle has also produced some of the most fascinating freediving abilities. The Moken are quite possibly the world’s best self-taught freedivers, routinely diving to over 100 feet without any specialized equipment, just their extraordinary lung capacity and their unique, physiological ability to see underwater without a mask or goggles. While scientists are not entirely sure if their ability to focus underwater, resolve images more clearly, and dilate their pupils in dim light are genetic adaptations or a learned trait, tests have confirmed that the Moken can see better than other people underwater.

With their population reduced to just over a thousand persons, they are a culture that is on the verge of disappearing. Exploitation by Malay and Thai fishermen, drug addiction, predation by pirates and harassment by local governments have severely curtailed their lifestyle and ability to meet and reproduce with other Moken.

The Dive Moken App starts with a video that allows you to “Test your own ability to hold your breath while floating in their mysterious world.” There is a link on the opening screen that invites the user to learn more about the Moken.

The user is introduced to a live video, where you join “Hook”, a Moken diver, as he starts a breath hold dive to explore the mysterious Andaman Sea. You will have a short countdown, then you get to hold your breath as we watch Hook dive through a surreal underwater temple and elephant statue. A timer tracks your breath hold as he slowly explores the structures and then rises to the surface.

So, the timer runs for a little over two minutes, accompanied by the breathtaking video and serene musical accompaniment. The final screen allows you to share the App with your friends via social media and to learn more about the Moken. By clicking the link, you have a menu of options: Watch a number of videos when you visit a YouTube channel hosted by “Project Moken”; visit the “Project Moken” website at projectmoken.com, which is an NGO that is trying to protect and preserve the Moken People through developing awareness and working towards developing a “sustainable lifestyle” for the Moken.

So, let’s see what we found:

Price: The App is free.

Functionality: This is a really nicely produced App…the navigation is straightforward, the video is fantastic and the “breath hold challenge” is, while not particularly challenging, a fun way to share in the experience.

Relevance/Usefulness: This is a NOT a very useful training tool for freedivers/spearos who want to improve their breath hold time. What Dive Moken does that none of the other Apps reviewed do is engage the user in an educational and proactive experience that spreads awareness and understanding of an incredible people, who’s continued existence is threatened on all sides. We like the social message and that makes this a very relevant App.

Graphics/Appearance: Great video and sharp construction…it is an easy App to navigate and a pleasure to watch.

The Apple iPhone version is available on the Apple App Store for devices that run the iOS 4.3 or later operating system. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, this app is optimized for iPhone 5. The App is FREE and can be downloaded at https://itunes.apple.com/kz/app/dive-moken-challenge-yourself/id535114567?mt=8