Thursday, November 30, 2023
FreedivingYasemin Dalkilic, "World's Deepest Woman" dives for the sponge hunters!

Yasemin Dalkilic, "World's Deepest Woman" dives for the sponge hunters!


Yasemin Dalkilic, the 6-time Freediving World Champion from Turkey is getting ready for two of the most interesting and challenging projects of her career. On September 29th, Yasemin will perform the most unique dive of her career. Wearing nothing but a swimsuit, without the aid of mask, fins, wetsuits, and of course, any air cylinders, just like the old sponge hunters, she will hang on to a rounded heavy marble that will pull her to the bottom of the Aegean sea, 50 meters below the surface. After reaching the bottom, Yasemin will return to the surface under her own power, again, without assistance. This symbolic dive will pay tribute to the old ways of sponge hunters, an occupation very popular in Turkey for centuries and which Yasemin has always admired.??

The dive will take place in the waters of Bodrum, one of the old centers for sponge diving in the whole Aegean Sea. All remaining sponge hunters will be invited to the event, presided by Mr. Mehmet Bas known as Aksona Mehmet, one of the most famous Turkish sponge hunters, still alive today and a resident of Bodrum. After the dive, in a reception that will take place in the famous "Castle of Bodrum", Yasemin will present all attending sponge hunters with a commemorative plaque, accompanied by the major of Bodrum and other important guests and sponsors of the event. Once the official presentations are over, all participants will be free to share their memories once again, as they have for centuries, bringing back one of Turkey’s most memorable ages of marine interaction. The dive and the reception will be broadcasted on all national and international networks.


"I am very excited" said Yasemin, "The old sponge hunters have been one of the biggest inspirations I had for my love of the sea and its depths. This is my opportunity to thank them for all their contributions to our culture, commerce, folklore and history, and to remind them that the new generation never forgets the old one. This is a well deserved tribute and I am honored to bring attention to these people, a true glory of Turkey"

Cliff Etzel
Cliff Etzel
Cliff is the former Freediving editor of He is now a freelance journalist and film-maker.