Diving to 89ft on one breathe hold, in around 200ft of ocean, approximately 3 miles off the coast of Antigua, was an incredible life experience for me, said, Veta Wade, the owner of AQUA Montserrat and now Montserrat’s first AIDA trained Freediver.
The camp was hosted by Eli Fuller of Adventure Antigua and Sam Moore, and taught by World No.3 Freediver, &. Verticle Blue, Chief of Safety, Jonathan Sunnex!
“Freedive Camp was a rigorous 5 days of intensive skills and safety training. We learnt to explore our bodies limits, understand the science behind our urge to breathe, and learn more about the art and benefits of meditation and visualization; it was a complete training of mind and body,” said Veta.
“The ocean relaxes me, it is there I find peace of mind, in all of life’s challenges and day to day hustles, Freediving is the activity I do at sea that is the most positive. For me it’s not about depth. It’s really very much a meditation. Like Yoga but better! When I Freedive, I let go of everything and enter a totally new world where I need to fully relax and be in the moment. I learn to find my stillness in order to consume as little oxygen as possible. Then I can become one with the sea, and explore coral reefs and observe the wonders of this underwater world.
“Anyone who has held their breathe under water has Freedived. It is sometimes odd to me that people regard Freediving as an extreme sport. There is of course a sport to it, however, however Freediving is so much more than that. It is its recreational benefits I love most and which we promote at AQUA Montserrat!”
Veta recognizes, the loss of Freediving legend, Natalia Molchanova, earlier this year as a tragic and rare occurrence. There are actually not that many accidents in Freediving, it’s certainly isn’t any more dangerous than Scuba Diving. “There are accidents when people go horseback riding or skiing or even just when you drive on the road,” Veta added.
For as long as mankind can remember, the ocean has had a mystical effect on our collective imagination. What lies beneath the waves? How can we see it with our own eyes? For centuries, we asked ourselves these questions, until at last, we found a way. Scuba diving brought the underwater world within reach for most – but in all the excitement that followed, many of us had forgotten about an older, even purer form of underwater exploration: free-diving.
Imagine a dive in complete freedom, without bulky gear or tools, surrounded by exotic corals and underwater wonders, this is the world of Caribbean free-diving.
It was after Veta did her Scuba Diving Training in 2013, with intentions to participate in coral reef check surveying in Montserrat with Coral Cay, that her interest in pursuing Freediving peaked! “Having spent many hours snorkelling around Montserrat’s reefs with local spearos, it really hit me how much easier and more fun, it is to explore our sea life without the expenses or weight of using Scuba. At times we would snorkel for up to 6 hours at times, I also learnt basic breath holding from our local divers, and was able to get up close to numerous sea life and have fun exploring my islands, seascape. I had learnt a lot from our spearo’s and have been equally inspired not just by their gracefulness and skill at breath hold and depth , but also their ability to read the water, weather and behavioural patterns of our sea life!” said the naturalist, explaining how her passion for Freediving developed.
Veta, a born Montserratian, who was forced to leave her home island in 1997 due to volcanic activity, relocated to the UK for 14 years, before returning home, to contribute to the redevelopment of her island, talked of the vision behind her business. “When I created AQUA Montserrat, I knew Freediving would be our unique selling point. It is Freediving that resonates best with our business model, in its purity, and our islands heritage.”
Veta had been looking for mainstream certification to validate what our ancestors have done for years, with added focus on safety and best practice, the Freedive Camp with AIDA certification provided that!
What next? Veta intends to share her new skills through her underwater photography and ocean conservation work at AQUA Montserrat, as well as raise awareness of the wealth of benefits in Freediving to our community, and visitors. It is Veta’s intention to continue her training to instructor level with Johnny Sunnex over the coming months! To stay up to say with Freediving on Montserrat, like and share, AQUA Montserrat Facebook.
Additional information and resources:
Aqua Montserrat: http://www.aquamontserrat.com
Fish ‘N Fins Facebookpage: https://www.facebook.com/AQUAFISHNFINS?fref=ts