Cat goes for a dive
Some people were born as fish. I know such a guy. His name is Jens, and he’s the one who got me start with diving - and later on with freediving. Up to that point, I felt more comfortable ashore. If Jens is a fish, I’m a cat.
Water is scary
When I was a kid, family holidays always led us into the mountains. Well, nine times out of ten. If I didn’t have a solid floor under my feet, I would sit in my grandma’s chestnut tree. No one ever labelled me a keen swimmer. The open seas frightened me and sometimes even a nice bathing lake caused me a panic attack - I imagined a mysterious creature pulling me into the depths. And up to now I still keep my head above water while swimming. You see - not the best starting conditions for a diving course. But it always pays off to do exactly what scares you most. Jens had lured me with spectacular underwater photos, so I was ready to try something new.
Getting out of the comfort zone: Scuba Diving
We started diving in Egypt, the usual way with a tank on the back. The water had bathtub temperature and we were surrounded by a variety of colorful fish. Paradise! Nevertheless, at the beginning I had a lot of problems getting down. Water is just not my element. Instead of exhaling and letting myself sink relaxed into the depth, I unconsciously inhaled in a state of sheer nervousness - rather counterproductive while scuba diving. But the underwater world was fascinating. That’s why I overcame my fear and kept diving. Slowly, slowly, it got a little better, not least because Jens aka Homo Delphinus did everything to make me feel safe with him as a buddy. Some time after the Open Water I did the Advanced Open Water and in my third diving holiday I dared to do my first night dive- one year before this was unthinkable for me. One special night dive I witnessed an unforgettable encounter with an eagle ray. However the most beautiful thing I experienced under water by that time was diving and swimming with dolphins. It touched me so deeply that it’s hard to put into words.
Shedding all that stuff
Only in my 40s I began to feel really comfortable under water. I remember that special day quite well. We had anchored in a quiet bay on a small Greek island and I made my first little attempts of freediving. Or - as Jens calls it - advanced snorkeling. It felt so good not to depend on technology and a heavy tank. This way I was much more flexible under water and I could return to the surface in no time at all if needed. I got closer to the fish because I didn’t shoo them with heavy bubbles. I LOVED it. I also loved having nothing else between water and skin as a mask, fins and weight belt. And to experience this silence around me. The moments that extend into infinity. I was hooked.
Since then I don’t feel like putting a tank on my back anymore. I still prefer to dive in pleasantly tempered water with good visibility and a varied underwater world. For that La Palma is a good place to be even if it is not as colorful and warm as in Egypt… And I have a great desire to develop myself further in apnea diving. My ability to relax even more in the water and thus being able to spend more time with the fish. To outsmart my brain, which by now allows me to hold my breath for 5 minutes on land while under water I can do only a fraction of this. Well… I am still at the very beginning of my journey, curious about where it will take me.