There was a one-way system in place so people did not bang their heads. This meant that when you got to the final hole you had to get back to the beginning.
Taking a fin on and off is a chore so the best thing to do was to pull yourself along the ropes on your belly and watch the divers pass under you. ‘Stranded seal’ springs to mind when I think back to when I accidentally let go of the rope a couple of times.
Just before the end of the session we were invited over to their recently designed no-limits sled. It looks an excellent design and will be a good tool for equalisation practice in the cold 48-metres-deep lake. After our quick sled ride we headed back to get changed. No tiring surface swims -just a leisurely walk back.
We got quickly changed and headed back to our digs for the night. It was a fire station. We were like kids again being shown round all of the different engines, rescue boats, and even a hovercraft.
I would like to mention now that our Swedish hosts were excellent. The diving was organised, and there were meals, accommodation and even evening entertainment in the form of freediving films and pictures at the fire station big screen. George just about summed our stay up by saying (with a free beer in his hand and a grin from ear to ear) ‘I see no reason to ever leave’. I thought he was going to emigrate. Oh yeah, the Swedish hospitality even included a traditional Swedish sauna, ideal for getting your core temperature back up. We had a 100 degrees Celsius temperature change in the space of a couple of hours. Our hosts gave us top tips like ‘don’t move around too quickly or it will burn your skin’ and my favourite tip was ‘drink from the beer can regularly, so it doesn’t burn your lip’.
I must have looked well cooked when I came out because someone reached out to grab me as I exited. I must have looked like I was going to collapse. What they didn’t know is that I always look like that after a few beers! Alun in ,articular, had a couple of ‘which way do I look moments’ in there but it was a great way to chill out after diving- if you’ll pardon the rather brutal pun.
A meal, a few videos and some pictures left us ready for a good night’s kip. I had such a good night’s sleep that it wasn’t until morning that I found out the station alarm had gone off. The sirens had sounded, lights had come on, a half-dozen officers had left the building in their engines- and I didn’t hear a thing. Thank God nobody was counting on me to put their chip pan out or flush their cat out of a tree!
Day Two was just as fun. The holes were quicker and easier for us to open. Overnight the perfectly-cut triangles had slightly melted, and now had smoothed edges which were all sloping towards the water below. It meant that it was a bit harder to get out and very, very, very, easy to get in, whether you meant to or not.
All my life I have been drawn to water, but this was different. Once you were a half-metre away from the hole, it started to draw you in and once you started to go it was a slow-motion, rather inevitable head-first slide in. Nowhere to grab hold of, you can’t stand up, can’t sit down- you can just look at the hole and see where you are going to end up. Every now and then you knew someone had gone: even if you didn’t actually see it you heard a burst of laughter and just knew someone else had gone for an unplanned swim.
It was a very enjoyable experience but it wouldn’t be the same without a story of at least one hairy moment, an ‘I remember when …’ moment. I remember swimming between a couple of holes and thinking that it was getting near to the time I would like to come up. I looked up and saw the triangle shape of the exit so put my hands up to come up but the exit was blocked!
Actually it wasn’t exactly blocked it just wasn’t there because the triangle I had seen wasn’t the exit, it was the lump of ice that had been cut out and placed on the top and it was masquerading as a lovely inviting exit. The exit was only half a fin stroke away but for that split second I was having what I term a ‘sphincter moment’. Maybe the whole thing lasted about two seconds but it was a loooong two seconds.
The whole second day was chilled and relaxing, it was like we had been doing this forever. We did the compulsory silly photos and videos and when our batteries had expired because of the cold we started to help put back the ice blocks so no-one fell in. And then it happened, the inevitable moment, as I adjusted the blocks I started to slide, nowhere to go, no reverse and in I went, I did it as elegantly as I could which ended up head first and feet following but I popped up with a smile but it wasn’t as big as everyone elses around the hole.
It was back to the firestation for some expresso coffee, somewhat of an Orebro apnea tradition. It helps you recover from the diving coma which I’m sure you have all experienced. We had our last night watching all of the pictures everyone had taken over the two days, some were good, some were funny, some were inspiring and all brought back good memories.
I would like to express our gratitude and thanks to Sverker and all at :
…who we were fortunate enough to meet for a wonderful time. It was good fun with good company and great hospitality…… Thank you!