The ocean is our favorite place to be. It's so quiet, so peaceful yet so alive and colorful!
Because we are traveling full time and living out of our backpacks, we have limited space for what we can pack and own. What we can't imagine traveling without is our camera bag for capturing all the beauty around us, as well as the daily raw life. And our mask and snorkel.
So what is free diving?
Free diving or breath-hold diving is diving under the water purely relying on holding your breath until resurfacing. By training and practicing breath-holds you will be able to stay under the water for around 2-3 minutes and dive down up to 20 meters or even more. Although the World’s record is over 24 minutes, I think that 2-3 minutes is a very good breath-hold time:)
When free diving, you are not using any breathing apparatus such as scuba gear. Therefore with a little bit of training, experience, and respect for the ocean, anyone can easily free dive and enjoy the underwater world.
The big advantage of free diving is that it's very affordable, accessible and you don't have to rely on having to rent or to own scuba diving gear. Which is very heavy, big and usually quite expensive. If you learn how to free dive, you can just jump into the water, explore, and admire.
Just please, before you start free diving and holding your breath under the water for a longer period of time, make sure you do a free diving course. It’s super important to learn all the safety tips first, to learn to listen to your body, and gain confidence under the water. But as well important is to learn to respect the ocean and to know its risks and danger.
Our FREE DIVING TIPS for anyone who wants to start free diving:
- Before you dive down into the marine life, calm your heart and your breath. Slow and deep breathing will slow your heart rate which will help you safe oxygen. That way you can stay longer under the water.
- One of the most important things is to know how to equalize your ears. Make sure to equalize your ears at least once every 1 meter. The first 1-5 meters are especially important. Because that’s when the largest proportional pressure change takes place. It’s necessary to equalize before you physically feel the need to and of course before you feel any pain or discomfort. If you can’t equalize your ear, do not dive any deeper!
- Equalizing the pressure in your ears is really important if you dive down. Without equalizing you can seriously injure your ears and your diving will be very painful. Look on the internet for instruction on how to correctly equalize your ears. There are plenty of videos out there.
- It’s basically plugging your nose and pushing the air through your ears until you feel the “pop”.
- I can't stress enough how important is to always free dive with someone else with you.
- Never free dive alone. If something should happen to you, if you will experience a cramp in your muscle or blackout, it’s important to have someone with you under the water to help you out!
- To avoid the shallow water blackout, you need to practice your breath hold, never hyperventilate between dives, and make sure you have enough rest between each dives down. Blackout is caused by a lack of oxygen coming to the brain. Never push yourself into the limits.
- Stay calm underwater, focus on your heartbeat, save your energy and oxygen by slow but effective movements.
- Don’t hyperventilate. Hyperventilation is breathing very fast and exhaling more than you inhale. You might feel after long breath-hold like you need to breathe very fast to get quick air. But excessive breathing will cause the level of CO2 in your blood to decrease and that can lead to narrowing of the blood vessels that supply blood to the brain. After coming up on the surface, make sure to breathe in and out slowly.
- We can highly recommend doing a free diving course, where they will teach you all the tips and tricks on how to dive deeper and how to hold your breath longer. And mainly the most important thing, the course is great for learning all the safety rules so you can enjoy free diving in the ocean or the pool while you are safe and confident.
Best places for free diving
Obviously, the best places for free diving are the ones with clear water and rich marine life.
Our old-time favorite places to free dive are:
- Raja Ampat, Indonesia – The most alive marine life
- Barracuda Lake, Philippines – The clearest water
- Gili Meno, Indonesia – Swimming with wild turtles
- Exmouth, Australia – Swimming with wild Whalesharks
- Nusa Penida, Indonesia – Swimming with wild Manta Rays