In the first in a new series of blogs for Scubaverse, top freediving instructor Emma Farrell shares her knowledge…
As freediving continues to grow in popularity there are more and more clubs and agencies to choose from and multiple levels to work your way through, so choosing where to start can be tricky. Are you an absolute beginner, or do you have lots of diving experience but no formal qualifications?
Do you have years of open water swimming under your belt as well as lots of holiday scuba diving trips? Whatever the case, you have to choose wisely when you begin your freediving journey, and starting at the top is not going to be the case.
Where to start in freediving – Beginners
Your choices are a little easier if you’re a complete novice, as the first step is to simply find a course list and start at the very beginning. You must bear in mind, though, that there are two entry points to choose from – you can undertake a Try Freediving Course which gives you a very basic but enjoyable introductory session in confined water (i.e. a swimming pool), or go straight for the complete RAID Freediver Course. With the former you will still have to move on to the full RAID course before you are allowed to dive and practise in open water or take part in the open water section of the Go Freediving club. With the latter you will immediately join in with other fledgling freedivers and participate in speciality courses, workshops and club days.
Where to start in freediving – Experienced divers
If you have a lot of experience with freediving and scuba you might feel suitably equipped to join Go Freediving and undertake a more advanced course. Unfortunately you can have all the experience in the world, but with no recognised freediving qualification you won’t be able to join or take part in higher level training. This is purely down to insurance and health and safety reasons, as well as maintaining club standards. As an alternative, we do run a condensed RAID Freediver Course that is tailored to cater to more experienced divers, and can offer this to you so that you can get up to speed quickly and, most importantly, safely.
Whether you are an accomplished spear fisher or a complete newbie, the RAID course will introduce lots of excellent new things to you, and the instructors at Go Freediving will ensure lessons are tweaked in such a way that they make the most of your existing skills and abilities.
Find out more about free diving at www.gofreediving.co.uk
Jeff chats to… Breathwork Practitioner Hannah Goodman (Watch Video)
Swimming and snorkelling with Manatees
We love manatees. And November is traditionally Manatee Awareness Month – a time to celebrate this iconic marine mammal and create awareness of the challenges they face. In this post, our friends at Effortless Outdoors share the manatee love and also some info on many of the best destinations to swim and snorkel with them around the world…
Manatees are really gentle, delightful sea creatures and getting a chance to see them up close should be on the bucket list of anyone who enjoys diving and snorkelling. They’re big beasts (typically weighing around half a ton) and they tend to move really slowly, making them ideal for underwater viewing.
They spend around 6-7 hours a day grazing, eating up to 15% of their body weight every single day. They use their front flippers for feeding; first using them to crawl along the ground, then for digging out plants and finally for scooping the vegetation into their mouths. It’s a pretty unique and involved way of feeding and very charming to watch.
These awesome creatures can live up to sixty years. They are highly intelligent, capable of understanding discrimination tasks and associated items with one another. They have good long-term memory and have often been compared to dolphins concerning their capacity to learn tasks and develop mentally.
Populations of manatees are fairly low. Although they have no natural predators, they are threatened by human activities (they are often killed by ship accidents, as well as red tide and the accidental ingestion of fishing materials). The West Africa and Amazonian manatees are very rare. And scientists estimate there are about 13,000 West Indian manatees with their status modulating between ‘endangered’ and ‘threatened’.
West Indian manatees range up and down the east coast of the Americas (as far south as Brazil and as far north as Virginia) with many of the best viewing spots being well-served for those wanting a manatee experience.
Check out this post about the best places to swim and snorkel with manatees.
Want to read more about manatees? Check out Nick and Caroline’s magical manatee encounters in Crystal River, Florida in the latest Autumn 2019 issue of Dive Travel Adventures HERE!
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Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.More Less
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