Posted on June 17, 2016
Posted on July 23, 2016
My first time freediving in a cenote near Tulum, Mexico.
Max depth was only 8 metres, but there were 42-metre swim-throughs, and an amazing halocline (salt water mixing with fresh—it makes everything look blurry and dreamy)! Loved every second of it. Will work on steadying my camera hand, going forward. 🙂
Thanks to the guys at Lobo de Mar hostel in Playa del Carmen for organizing the trip and showing me the swim-throughs.
The past few weeks have been simultaneously busy and relaxed. Mornings spent training in the ocean are balanced by afternoons spent napping, hammock lounging, and cooking. To-do lists with only two or three items take days to accomplish. There’s a part of each day that is officially too hot for life, during which nothing can be accomplished (except perhaps a desperate smoothie-run). Such is life on Utila, and such are the (somewhat weak) reasons for my tardiness in providing updates.
So… I cancelled my flights back to Canada.
With just a few mouse clicks and a quick Skype call, it was done. From the moment I arrived in Utila, I knew that leaving first thing in June would be way, waaaay too soon. This freediving thing—it captivates me in a way that I don’t think I can adequately explain to anyone who hasn’t tried it.
I grab the thick bunch of celery in my left hand and hold it against the plastic cutting board. With a swift motion and a satisfying shhhhwoop, I slice through the base of it near the fat root end, freeing the individual stalks. I chuck the root end into the compost bucket, and then rinse the individual celery stalks under the running tap, scrubbing them with my fingers to remove any dirt. Then, I transfer each stalk back to the cutting board.
Chop, chop, chop; I slice off the leafy bits. Aligning the thicker stalks, I slice lengthwise to create thinner pieces; then, moving quickly, I cut the stalks into half-inch, angled pieces—these are for vegetarian chili. I pause to admire my handiwork. The pieces are uniform, crisp, and green. Lovely! But I’ll need more.
My knife moves up and down rhythmically. Chop, chop, chop, chop. Something strange begins to happen. With each motion, I feel a tightening in my diaphragm—almost like a hiccup, but smaller. Very small. I shrug it off. I’m fine. It’s nothing.
So…I’m back on Utila.
The little island off the coast of Honduras first nabbed a piece of my heart in 2014, when, during a two-week vacation, I fell for its carefree island lifestyle and clear, warm, current-free waters. Last year, I returned to Utila to complete a divemaster scuba diving internship with Utila Dive Center, and also discovered freediving. Despite an aversion to holding my breath and a fear that something would go horribly wrong in the depths of the Caribbean Sea, I quickly developed an addiction to the sport. There’s nothing quite like the calm you feel after a good breathe-up and a relaxed freefall.