The improved weather and conditions have brought the first freediving students of the year; currently apneists are enjoying 20-25m visibility at Ko Haa and Ko Bida with water temperatures of 29C. Seas are calm, the lines are straight... lets go diving! And after the training on the lines there's always time for some fundiving through the gorgeous Cathedral Cavern at Ko Haa, the swim-throughs of Ko Bida Nai or with the resident leopard shark on Hin Bida.
Adeline Ridira is a champion rifle shot back home in France so is no stranger to pressure; with her competitive nature she had no problems getting to 17m Constant Weight on her AIDA 2 star course. By way of celebration she also demonstrated her “spinning top” approach to dancing – other dancers beware!
Chris Carroll had completed his AIDA 2 star on Ko Tao and had definitely caught the apnea bug. By the time he finished his AIDA 3 star course he had reached 30m Constant Weight and was breaking 4 minutes on Static breath-hold. He's now weighing up his choices of whether to continue travelling or start a career in music festival management back in the UK – it's a hard life! - but either way I think we'll be seeing Chris again for more freediving.
IT expert Benjamin Baker from Switzerland was a calm Zen-like individual. Having tried apnea in a cold local lake with friends back home the tropical 29C crystal clear waters of Ko Lanta were a welcome change! By the end of his course Benjamin was achieving the AIDA 2 star maximum allowable depth of 20m and definitely had more gas in the tank.
Benjamin's course-mate was Christopher Esh, a pilot from Alaska, USA who knew nothing about freediving before starting the AIDA 2 Star. Christopher's laid-back view on life concealed a steely determination which was best exhibited by his commitment to beating initial equalisation problems to eventually reach 18m Constant Weight. Good work mate!
In addition to these students Blue Planet staff members Caro and James have both started their AIDA 2 star courses: Caro achieving 20m CWT on her first day out and James a Static time of 2min49sec. With the scuba season really kicking off they're pretty busy now but I'm sure we'll see them on the lines again before April.