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Freediving alone in Cozumel.

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marshallh7

Marshall
Nov 5, 2001
25
4
0
Just got back in the country from sort-of-a last-minute-run down to Cozumel. Anniversary trip -- 26th.

Did a little bit of scuba diving and a lot of snorkeling on the shallow reefs where I could walk and swim out to. Tried to join several scuba diving boats and talk the divemaster into letting me freedive. In the past I have found operators that let me, but this time, no dice. I think it scares divemasters that don't understand freediving and aren't used to it. Plus, they're afraid of you surfacing so often with too much boat traffic at the popular drops. Yeah . . . that's legitimate.

The only serious freediving in deeper water -- our last morning there, very early before the boat traffic started in, I swam out . . . and out . . . and out . . . from the hotel beach to finally find the drop-off. White sandy bottom with coral heads and fans cropping up. It rolled off pretty steep and plummeted into deep blue. I had been making warm-up dives deeper and deeper as I swam out -- the last few were between 50-60 ft. Dawn was just breaking. Visibility underwater probably 80+ feet. I estimated the drop off at about 75-80 ft deep, so I thought I could make a few dives to that depth without any problem. Surface was completely flat, smooth as glass. Scanning the horizon, still no boat traffic, so I could concentrate on the dive. Short breath-up and began kicking slowly toward the edge where it rolled off into blue. Nice comfortable dive and before I know it I'm swimming right along that lip. Very strong current down there along the wall, carrying me fast, so it was that wonderful feeling of flying -- fast. Roll to my back and see the surface still in view. Morning light streaming through in rays and glistening on the surface where I would need to run to in a moment, but right now I'm good, still feel strong. Glance at my depth gauge and I'm cruising along at 102 ft. deep. Not a big deal to many more accomplished freedivers, but a new personal best for me.

To be all alone, so far out there, in the middle of that moment, and come up with a new depth so easy was one of the coolest diving experiences I've ever felt. Very comfortable ascent, no panic, no gasping at the surface. I was good, I was safe. I felt like I could have made several more drops just like that, maybe deeper, just as easy, but I decided to leave it at that. It was one of those deals that I doubt could get any better just by repeating it -- it was perfect. And I had a hell-of-a long swim that I needed to get started on. In a few minutes it would become a four-lane thorough-fare of dive boats, between where I was bobbing in the deep blue and the shore.

In the forum, the argument often rages against diving alone. I understand all the reasons why we shouldn't, but I also understand the reasons why we do!

Another thing this reminds me: There is such a contrast to making a dive purely for fun. I've worked and worked running up and down a line, in a mine here in Missouri, with a buddy spotting me, trying to get 90-100 ft depths to be friendlier to me. Equalization gets hard. It gets scarry in dark cold water. And sometimes it's just work to make the target. I think I could be pushing to deeper depths, at a quicker pace, but why? I want to be comfortable and safe. I kind-of want 40m this year but not because I want 40m, it's so I'll have more confidence and be stronger, and have more bottom-time recreational diving 10-20m. Going for depth on a line is like practicing musical scales over and over -- it's boring -- then you get somewhere like Cozumel and the moment is just right and you play a song with the skill you've aquired. It was very cool.
 

Erik

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2001
4,731
753
218
Ahh.....Cozumel.
Thanks for taking me back there for a few minutes. Nice to see you on the forum again too, Marshall.
I found that the operators in Playa del Carmen were happy to take me out freediving alone. Cheap too, and really no boats to speak of overhead. I saw Bullsharks there, after the DM said that he'd been scubadiving for 4 years and never seen them! I guess he should have left the tanks behind once in a while.
Congrats on the PB, especially when it was so easy.
Cheers,
Erik Y.
 

ash

New Member
Nov 5, 2002
160
22
0
That's a nice story, thanks for posting it and as Erik says, well done on the PB.

I have been diving solo since I started freediving and I actually prefer being by myself in the water.

I don't do any deep stuff without a buddy but I really enjoy the freedom of going where I like and doing what I want to do.

I recently moved towns and found a spot round the back of a little island about 800m off shore. A nice easy surface swim followed by a few hours of exploring in the rocks at between 6-12m is just what I need to make my whole day.

It's fun diving in the truest sense, I am just not worried about depth at all.

I understand the increased risks in diving solo but as long as I am careful, I don’t feel in any danger. There is probably more risk driving to Auckland than there is when I am diving solo.

Cheers

Ash
 
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