Saturday, 7 November 2009

Sled and rain in Athens



I finally had to give in and face the truth: I was not going to make it to the world championships in the Bahamas, much as I would have liked to go. Fellow sad no-goers Liv and George managed to talk Stavros into rescuing us from the approaching winter blues and organise a mini training week near Athens. We were joined by Dave Tranfield and Greg, whom Stavros recruited during a course, and who had thought freedivers were reasonably normal people until he met us lot.

I was so looking forward to seeing the sun, I happily packed my bag full of all the items a girl needs during such an occasion: a range of bikinis, denim miniskirt, shorts, assortment of flip flops, several pairs of sunglasses, sunscreens, aftersuns, skimpy tops, etc etc. I was just done with all this when my friend Jens called me, to complain about me going off to sunny shores while normal people were stuck back in the rain. He asked me what the weather would be like, and I said, no idea, sunny, of course, what else? Ha! Shouted the man and went to check the forecast on the internet. Well. I detected a hint of glee in his voice as he read out the bad news. They involved such things as rain, clouds, storms, and freezing temperatures. I put the phone down, unpacked my bag and filled it with fleeces and woolly hats.

The week was wonderful, in spite of the rather accurately forecast weather conditions. There was not much to do in the afternoons, so we had nice picnic lunches, hung around drinking tea, read, slept. Stavros and Giota took fantastic care of us, driving us around, cooking us lovely dinners, and generally making sure we were having a great time. Most days, I dived with the sled, doing head down variable to 60m, to practise equalization. This was the fastest I have ever gone: I reached 60m in 27sec the first time round! What was most beautiful, though, was diving the mini blue hole they have near Athens. It is more like a black hole, really, as it looks completely dark from above. There is a down current which means the descent feels amazing, simply effortless. At the bottom, the current disappears into a tunnel that has been blocked off to stop stupid divers from going in there. Foivos, who was looking after us lot with amazing safety diving, made me do statics down there, since he has promised to take me spearfishing next time and this was part of the training regime. I stayed for up to one minute, which was a lot nicer than doing a static in the pool, I tell you.

Here is a video Stavros filmed:


Next weeend it’s the Berlin long night of apnea. I have announced DNF. I do not want to do anything at the moment, in fact, I have been overcome by a great feeling of laziness. Anyone want to come and give me a cold? Please?

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