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Happy Birthday SaltFree!! 5 years old!!

samdive

Mermaid, Musician and Marketer
Nov 12, 2002
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Five years ago I had a dream.... actually I didn't. I just wanted to be able to do some serious freedive training in the UK, and stop spending a fortune on weekends in Nice. Just as my bank balance was suffering from too many plane tickets, I heard about a possible new dive quarry on the edge of Wales.... and on the May Bank Holiday 2003, SaltFree was born.

I've been thinking on the drive home today (after Laura reminded me about the anniversary - thanks so much for the card, cake and most importantly for remembering!).. about how things have changed in the past 5 years we've been diving together.

5 years ago...
1. I could dive deeper than Dave King
2. We had a couple of old plastic canoes to lean on instead of our super-duper pontoon
3. Our line was marked with a yellow ribbon every 5m so we knew how deep we were (played havoc with lanyards, before the days of computers on everyone's wrists)..... and we only marked it to about 30m
4. It never, ever rained on the weekends we freedived
5. One of our key Angels was called "Fizzy Phil"
6. We were very limited in the amount of kit we could have - cos it all had to come back to my flat-share in Bristol, get washed in the bath and fit under my bed until the next time
7. We were known as the "NDC posse".. then "the green meanies" and finally, after a rather drunken sunny afternoon (still at the front of my memory) chez Harris..... Mark came up with the name "SaltFree!"
8. Liv was a scuba diver, took great photos of us, but NEVER EVER held her breath!
9. We used to always do two dive sessions in a day (when did we wimp out?)
10. B and Bs were for wusses and real freedivers camped and ate huge amounts at Bryn's barbies... (raising the question - have we got old?)

Just a few thoughts - I'd be really happy to hear other peoples' reminiscences.

Huge chinks of champagne glasses :fridayto those of you who've been with us from the start (I wanted to buy some in the bar last night but I'm broke and no-one looked like they were drinking)- and warm welcoming bear hugs to everyone who's so seamlessly become part of the posse along the way. I love you all!! (and no, I haven't been drinking!)

S
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samdive

samdive

Mermaid, Musician and Marketer
Nov 12, 2002
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Cornwall (and a bit of Chepstow)
www.samamps.com
thought I'd put up some photos from summer 03

mark - in the days before NDAC was busy, and before he had a proper performance suit

I think he'd just beaten Tanya Streeter's No Fins WORLD RECORD which was 35m (but only unofficially)

Also Dave and Dave - using the, luckily short-lived, "Canoe-pontoon"
 

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AltSaint

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Things I remember from the early days...

  • Fizzy getting lost in the depths of the quarry ( he surfaced eventually, but decided 'Angelling' wasn't for him )
  • We used to swim to the dive platform, instead of catching the ferry
  • The 2004 UK Championships - a top competition
  • The puzzled looks of the scoobies, watching us kit-up ( they're used to us now )
More importantly though, was the turning point that it made for UK freediving. In the days before Saltfree, depth training in the southern UK was really no more than 28 metres - the depth of the SET Tower at HMS Dolphin. So a lot of our freedivers weren't confident going much deeper, unless they had trained abroad, or were one of the hardy northeners that had trained in Dorothea with Alun George. The NDAC had easy road access to the south, deep water, and good facilities on-site. Within a year of Saltfree's emergence, we had a team of freedivers that were hitting respectable depths in cold, low-vis water. The Men's team returning from the Vancouver WC's with silver medals in 2004 was testament to that.

So as well as celebrating a birthday, we are looking at freediving history in the UK. And a huge thanks to Sam and Laura for making it happen. :inlove
 
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BennyB

will freedive for beer
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Happy birthday SaltFree!

I certainly wouldn't have done anything remotely like what i've done without Saltfree, it's one of the best facilities on the planet. Friendly divers, great facilities, supportive staff and lovely cool clear water - what more would you want??

Thanks Sam, Laura and all those that made Saltfree what it is today. I'll have to come back for the 10th birthday celebrations (and maybe the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th if i'm allowed :D )

Cheerio,
Ben
 

Lammy

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Sep 29, 2004
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Happy Birthday!

I've had a great time over the past couple of years, just booking up brownie points so I can come down this summer.

Children under 2 section in the competition ? we're already doing 1m in the pool.

Looking forward to 6th birthday party

Lammy
 

Ross M

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Happy 5th Anniversary Sam, Laura and everyone involved in Saltfree. It's great that you've been able to provide a fab place for people to do what they enjoy doing.

Hoping to get down there again soon as finally sorted my ears out in Red Sea a couple of weeks ago and work is now on even keel.

Have attached a pic of one of Bryn's BBQ's (before the lightsticks started flying) - great memories.

Take care

Ross
 

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Waterysmile

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Jul 4, 2006
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Happy Birthday Saltfree from me too.

September 2006 was my ** course, which launched me ever deeper.

Highlights for me are being present at 60 metre plus dives, helping out at Doubledip 07 and falling in the water when the metal support for the line broke.

Hoping to be in the green this summer
Andrew
 
Happy birthday saltfree! That photo brings back a few memories! That glow stick fight was a laugh until one bounced off Sam's lip!! you try not too laugh when that happens to the person next to you!! Sorry Sam.:blackeye

There is no reason this cant be done again. I have a BBQ and I not afraid to use it.. :)
 
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samdive

samdive

Mermaid, Musician and Marketer
Nov 12, 2002
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Cornwall (and a bit of Chepstow)
www.samamps.com
no worries Bryn - the scar faded! (and I HAD forgotten!)

yup - more barbies soon PLEEEEESE - in fact, we're hatching a plan for a 5th birthday party down in Cornwall - and the barbie definitely needs to come.... if anyone just HAS to be there and wants to start by letting me know dates they CAN'T do, then tell me soon.... as soon as I know Dave's calendar, we'll start organising

S
 

daveking

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Saltfree 5 years old? I must be over 30 now then!

I remember I was living with my parents after a split with a ( stupid) girl.

I had a shit Fiat 500.

I wore bi fins (Cressi 2000's) still got them.

I did SCUBA safety once (and only once)

I was in awe of anyone over 40m let alone 50m or 60m.

That's just me though.

I also remember that we all got pissed sitting around the camp fire one night and had some great stories to tell;).
I remember that Dave and I jumped in sans suit and rinsed off.
Tinsel was the greatest fancy dress we had.
Sam didn't teach all the time.
The weather was better.
A great guy from FHM came down (top lad!)
A photographer effed up his camera!
The bouy's were the best thing to breathe up on (we were tough).
No one had Spheras.
Cyprus comps were on the horizon.
freediver was a magazine and the website to go to.
Loads of other divers came down. Where are you all? Get down here again!

Sam still worked her arse off then and continues to do so today. Without her getting that sorted and all of us going there we would not have a freedive team in this country. Hood off to you Sam and Laura as you two made it happen.
To all the other divers that have been to Saltfree and are still able to, get down there now and enjoy it!:king
 

dolphindiver

Living the dream
I wish I found about about this 5 years ago - its just year since i did my 2* and much as I love this sport I just don't get a chance to practice as much as I would like but without Sam, Saltfree - all you mad people who dress in fancy dress and dive in freezing water I wouldn't be able to dive with dolphins as well as I can and for that I will be forever grateful.

I'll keep an eye on the date of the party but I doubt I will be able to make it. I have flights sorted for the Double Dip so just hoping I'll be able to escape from the mayhem and heat for a couple of days fun in Chepstow. It will be great to see you all.

LOL
 

AltSaint

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The photographer who flooded his camera was Simon Brown. The same day, he managed to drop his £££ wide-angle lens in the quarry as well. Someone on another occasion lost their Suunto Stinger...and one of our Angels once jumped in without doing up their drysuit zip. Wonder who those two were?

Anyone remember those student film-makers that turned up one weekend? They had borrowed a camera and didn't know how to use it...then spent the whole weekend arguing with each other.

Some people have come and gone, and some have been gone too long. Remi and Matthias both missed, and numerous others. But times change, and we have a good mix of new and old these days. Long live Saltfree!
 
These are lovely to read guys 'n' dolls. We've had one pretty wild and wonderful ride. It's all a haze of helium, O2 highs and vodka. Not that I'm complaining :D

And behind that velvet curtain ...

I remember,

Sam and me stressing over the first SaltFree comp. We left no stone unturned! And the exhilaration and exhaustion when we pulled off what some had said was impossible - a Freediving championship with SCUBA support in a cold, deep quarry with low viz. Yeah!

The Angel's Trapeze!! Heaven 24/7. We love that trapeze ... and our own support line.

The P.B's and records - doesn't matter what depth, they're all special.

The triumphs and tragedies.

Those heart-stopping moments when one of you suddenly stops finning on your way back to the sun, and then you grin an evil one and give us a wave. Other than the times when you don't grin an evil one, and we're moving in with an FHOF, at which point the mere thought seems to propel tired legs into a flurry of kicks before they stop again. Please don't do this to us .. our delicate wings begin to flap and our halos flicker frantically.

Tea, muffins and hot gossip with The Angels - that's one of my favourite things. And that amazing spirit we have! And all our gadgets and kit and the fact that Si and Mark W always know what to do when my rig decides to play up and I'm staring at it in a blonde fashion thinking NOT NOW FOR F**Ks SAKE!!!

The NDAC crew - past and present, and their continued support with what we do.

Yeah - The FHM guy - tho I don't remember him being cool :), and the summer solstice and Bryn's BBQs and Barbara's B&B and Jimmy Deans!!!

Yeah, once unzipped never undone!

Salut Sam! Here's to whatever is ahead. And to you, Greenies and Meanies. You are worth it you know ....
x
 
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Donna

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The same day, he managed to drop his £££ wide-angle lens in the quarry as well.
Ermmm, he didn't drop the lens - I was carrying his flooded camera and it just fell off and plopped into the quarry beside me. I was gutted, but not as much as Simon was! Fortunately, I stood completely still exactly where it had dropped in and Simon managed to recover it - just as well it wasn't in 80m!!!!
 
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