Free Diving; pushing the limits for the gill impaired
I arrived in Dahab, Egypt to the peaceful and almost deserted Red Sea town. After finding a great place to stay, The Sunrise Lodge, the rest of the morning was spent walking along the towns boardwalk. I had spent some time before coming to the Red Sea to learn about the dive sites (http://www.divesitedirectory.co.uk/red_sea_dahab.html) and was prepared for some free diving adventures to push my gill impaired limits .
I had snorkeled before and am a certified PADI scuba diver but wanted to experience the new tread of Free Diving. How long could I train to hold my breath for? I could do 1 minute 10 in the room but could I do more under the water while swimming around?
After buying my Free Diving gear which did not include a snorkel, just a mask and fins. I wandered to the edge of town, near the lighthouse. I stood in the bright sunshine, on the warm sand and waded into the 22 degree water. In a matter of seconds there were more than 10 different colourful tropical fish. The amount of fish and brilliantly colored soft and hard corals in front of Dahab town was great. The vibrant orange, yellow, blue, green, pinks, and reds excited my eyes.
It was about a kilometre out-of-town and only a 5 to 10 minute walk from my bungalow. Once there I walked out into the water along the sandy sea bed and swam two hundred meters out to the reef. There was a wall covered with colourful hard and soft corals continuing for kilometre in either direction. Swimming under the water along the wall until seeing the eel garden. I had covered some distance but was going with the current
. There were Thirty, 3 foot tall green eels standing out of the sand waving with the seas current. I had held my breath for close to 1 minute 30 but then surfaced decided to head back to the corals.
I flippered around seeing Lionfish, Dogfish, Pufferfish, Barracuda, Crocodilefish, Frogfish, Eels, Angelfish, Emperorfish, Seahorses, Bannerfish, Scorpionfish, Clownfish, an Octopus and an Eagle Ray. I became completely engrossed in this amazing underwater world, the sport of free diving and felt what the hype was about. It felt as if I were a part of the underwater world, searching for new varieties of fish and corals, while pushing my physically limited lungs. Eventually some improvement came and I was able to do 2 minutes 20 under the water. The freedom to explore the corals, and fish up close without the use of scuba tanks was liberating and challenging.