Update Summer 2019

By Jens Fischer | September 1, 2019 

Yeah, it's been a while since I posted something on this blog. But let's say, writing about diving doesn't thrill me as much as the diving itself. 😉

So finally, in the fifth attempt, an update about my summer 2019.

La Palma solo

I spent this summer on the island without Eva. She worked on a project in Germany.

A lot of time to learn new things, to get to know new people and to strengthen my existing friendships. And above all: a lot of time to spend in the water.

Start of a freedive with lanyard and pulling system

Tenerife Part 1 - Training

Due to the absence of my favorite buddy, I wasn't able to train as much freediving as I wanted. Snorkeling is nice. But the buoy and the leash were calling me again into the depths. And that takes a Buddy, right?

So I booked the ferry to Tenerife and an accommodation in Radazul.

For one week, I trained at Apnea Canarias Tenerife. It was great to see real professionals at work. Youssef, one of the instructors prepared himself for the World Championship in Nice. His goal: a National Record for Morocco.

But the most impressive experience for me was diving together with a trainee from Poland. He also trained for the championship. With a target depth in CWT (constant weight apnea) of 80m. Unimaginable for me. I felt a very special feeling seeing him disappear with his monofin into the deep blue. Seconds became minutes and then after approximately 2.5 minutes, his shape  reappeared from the blue and took shape. Accompanied by Omar as a safety diver with the scooter, he essentially shot the last meters upwards. With a big smile he pulled the tag out of his hood. Done. Very impressive and inspiring indeed. I wish both of them good luck in Nice!

Besides the regular training there was plenty of time to meet old friends and to make new friends. In particular I would like to thank Frederic. Without him I would have missed a very special, wonderful encounter in the open sea. Thank you.

Diving with Boris

Back on La Palma. I was very lucky to be able to continue training and diving right away. Boris, a Freediver himself, spent a 3-week holiday on the island with his family. He had contacted me in advance via the blog and we immediately arranged to meet for training and diving together. A real win-win situation. We spent a lot of time in the water, often with a short snorkeling session after the actual training. We had a lot of fun. And a new PB for Boris.
So many thanks to Boris and his family.

Pool training

At the end of the training week on Tenerife I had decided to start the AIDA4 diver course soon. I booked an accommodation in Boca Cangrejo, the ferry and the course. Nothing more stood in the way. Right? Well, actually, I was dreading the requirements to be able to pass the course. Especially DYN (dynamic apnea) and STA (static apnea). They don't make me so happy. And I hadn't trained it anymore and there was a lot of catching up to do. But who to train with? Boris had left.

And again I was lucky. On my search for a new dive computer (my Galileo used so far is a little too big for freediving in the long run) I talked a little with "Fili". He's the owner of a shop for fishing equipment. And as it turned out, he was also looking for a training partner for DYN and STA. The local spearfishing club organized a competition which included both disciplines. The competition would be during the time I was on Tenerife.

Again a win-win situation.

After a few STA training sessions I was well above the requirements for the course. But the DYN distance gave me a hard time. After initial successes stagnation followed. Maybe it was because we trained at least two hours every lunchtime during the siesta for the last two weeks before the course. That's exhausting. But I learned a lot and found a new training partner in "Fili". Thank you.

Tenerife Part 2 - AIDA 4: Master Freediver Course

At the beginning of August I went again to Tenerife to Apnea Canarias. The car was quickly packed, this time with my new Mares Razor Matrix fins, which I gifted myself.

In Boca Cangrejo, a small village right by the water, a few minutes walk from Radazul, I had booked a super charming accommodation with a terrace. On this terrace I enjoyed the dawn every day during my stretching exercises.

Also the neighbors were super nice. I'm grateful for the nice party on my last evening. Lots of good mood, tasty food and wine. Midnight swimming at full moon and stimulating conversations. And for my new nickname: "Juancho".

But before that party there was some work to do...

Already scheduled on the first day of my stay, training. On the second day the course started.

We began with a little theory. The content was mainly about the "Failure Depth", the "Mouthfill", "Packing", and "DCI" (decompression sickness). It also covered training, nutrition, and equipment, etc.

But the main emphasis was the training in the water and on land. Stretching with packing. Reverse packing. Mouthfill exercises. Checking equipment and preparing for diving. Setup of the buoy etc.

In the water then Exhale dives, FIM (full immersion apnea), CWT, VWT (variable weight apnea), rescue exercises and the obligatory STA and DYN in the pool. And hey, I never thought VWT would be so much fun. The first time I was still a bit skeptical. Going deep with a kettlebell? The skepticism transmitted directly into too much tension in the body and a swallowed mouthfill. I let go at about 32m depth and swam back to the surface. But the second attempt was great. So relaxed, and the Mouthfill worked. Wonderful. It was clear, from now on I will do this more often.

On the penultimate day of the course I went into the pool. STA was no problem, with 4:40. I was highly satisfied. Then my unloved DYN discipline. But also here the first attempt worked. My inner relaxation was gone right after the first messed up turn in the pool. After the second turn my legs were already burning and the breathing stimulus was enormous. But I didn't want a second attempt... So it was: I pinched my buttocks together and successfully finished the dive.

On the last day, rescue exercises and the evaluation of the written examination. And like that, it was done.

A week before I had asked myself if I would pass the course. Now I was feeling relieved and happy. Many thanks to Omar and Youssef!

In particular Mouthfill, exhale dives and VWT have impressed me. I am looking forward to practicing and consolidating my skills in autumn when I fly back to La Palma.

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