Freediving – Initiation course

Saturday 18/11

By Florence:

This morning we woke up early (before 7am) to take a taxi. We woke up, packed our bags, checked out at 8am, and went to go get a taxi. On the way, we stopped at a bakery to get some breakfast. We arrived at the place after 15-20 minutes. We were at a free dive academy! We arrived and went to the room that we booked for one night. The room was a family room (3 big beds). We then went and waited for the people of the academy to get ready. When they were ready (around 9:30am), we went to a “classroom” and this guy called Vincent thought us a lot of things. He first thought us some things about equalizing and stuff like that but then he explained about free diving and safety. It was really interesting. We had a small break to eat. We ate at the restaurant of the “resort” (just beside). We ate chicken adobo and pork adobo. After that we continued and then there he explained to us about the equipment. When he was done, we got all of our equipment and went to the pool. We did some exercises in the pool about safety (rescue) and free diving. We stayed in the pool for maybe 1 hour. When we were done we went out to the ocean. They prepared a buoy and a string for us. The string was attached to the buoy and went 5 meters deep. We had to go down with the string while holding our breath. Jules didn’t do any of the activities in the ocean because he was scared of the jellyfish (he got stung actually). When we were done with that exercise, we had to duck dive down (not deep). It was really fun. When we were done, we stayed in the ocean but went a bit further to do some snorkeling (Jules still didn’t come). When we arrived there, there was a humongous “cloud” of sardines. It was an amazing feeling being with all the sardines. We stayed there really long but it was tiring because we were all trying to catch the sardines. We went back to the room and we wanted to eat but the restaurant was closed. We had to walk to another restaurant. We went there and we ate chicken adobo again. It was really good. That was an amazing day. I will never forget it. Bye.


By me:

Not much to add to Florence’s nice summary. I’ve added a few things directly on her text.

Just maybe to explain what chicken / pork “adobo” is: adobo is a popular dish and cooking process in the Philippine cuisine that involves meat, seafood, or vegetables marinated in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and black peppercorns, which is browned in oil, and simmered in the marinade.

And to give more info about the freediving initiation programme (‘Basic course’):

The centre where we follow our introductory course is the ‘Freedive+ Freediving Academy’ (

An interesting thing that we learn is (to put it simply) that we basically don’t need to inhale (or at least not that early, the world record without breathing being above 20 minutes) but we need to exhale, as explained below.

When we take a breath and try to hold it, it doesn’t take long before we feel the ‘urge to breath’, that tugging in our chest. Where does that feeling come from? We tend to guess that our body needs oxygen, and that it translates this need into a physical response urging us to breath. This is close, but not correct. In fact, this reflex comes from the other half of the same cycle. Breathing is a two-part process, composed of an inhale and an exhale. The inhale brings fresh oxygen into our lungs, which gets absorbed into our blood and carried through our body. Meanwhile, blood is circulating back to our lungs, carrying carbon dioxide bi-product from our system. This carbon dioxide is released from our blood into our lungs, which is then expelled by an exhale. This process repeats for as long as we keep breathing. The ‘urge to breath’, then, doesn’t come from the need for oxygen, but rather from a build-up of carbon dioxide. When we feel the need to breath, we are actually feeling the need to exhale!

For freedivers, the urge to breathe often manifests itself as a burning sensation in upper portions of the chest or in the form of contractions/convulsions of the diaphragm directly under the ribcage. Despite these feelings, which can be overwhelming and unnerving for untrained divers, there is no need to panic as these are only signs that the levels of CO2 in the bloodstream are increasing (as explained above) and there is still plenty of usable oxygen remaining in the system. The ability to recognize our personal limits and tolerance to increased carbon dioxide levels is something that is developed over time and with practice — ultimately dive times can be increased by training the body to tolerate higher levels of CO2.

I’d like also to add the result of the breath-holding exercises we did during the freediving introduction course. We had to hold our breath as long as we could (basically until we feel the ‘urge to breath’). Florence reached 1’34”, Jules 1’38”, Ludivine 1’43” and both Isabelle and I 3′, which surprised us very much (and which is apparently good for untrained people).

We all obtain the ‘Freediving Basic’ certification.

I work on the terrace until midnight.



Sunday 19/11 (1/2)

Wake up early (7am).

Kids and Isabelle go to see the sardine run (Jules didn’t see them yesterday since he was afraid of the jelly fish). I’m not too excited to go since I know that we are going to see such sardine run, on a bigger scale, in Moalboal in 2 weeks.

Meanwhile, I write a bit.

We take the breakfast before leaving; it’s not good.

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