Wednesday, 29 June 2011

World Record. Who would have thought?

It is really too strange and still a bit hard to believe, but it's done: yersterday, Andrea Zuccari aka boss-instructor and I dived together to -125m. From there, you can see the bottom! Amazing.

I started the day with my customary rush of nerves, which continued throughout the morning. I have a really special way with this: I do it in half hour shifts, meaning for half an hour I will be totally ok, thinking things such as: what the hell, just a training dive, never mind, etc, and then for the next half hour I will be in a blind panic. Cameraman Emmanuele, who has been in charge of filming the entire process, was laughing at me, telling me I looked like a confused child, because aparently I had taken to twisting my hair to calm down. Well, Manu, you try being sent to 125m by a couple of Italians! See if you have any hair left at the end of it!

In any case, we went out to beautiful conditions and my warm ups were average, as usual in such situations. Then it was time for the first sled warm up to 60m. It was horrible. I felt as stressed as on day one. Surfacing, Marco said: how was it? And my charming partner shouted enthusastically: fantastic! Oh sh....thinks the blond girl, it will all be my fault, it will all be my fault...

Truth was, Andrea was just as bad as me, and when I thought I would faint with the butterflies in my stomach during the final countdown, he could barely breathe from the rush of nerves! Good thing is, once Marco pulls the release, there is nothing for it but to focus, and it worked amazingly well. We touched down in 125m, opened both tanks, shot off the bottom and grinned at each other all the way up, surfacing together. I have forgiven him for pretending he was cool as a cucumber, as he did make feel kind of safe during all our sled dives, and it was really amazing fun to share this dive with him. I will still have my revenge for the other day, though, when he blew the sugar coating off his cake into my face! The gloves are off on that one.

Now it's not party time, unfortunately, since there is the small detail of me having announced another world record attempt in - hold on - 11 days time!

Whoever came up with that stupid idea? I want beeeeeeer........

Monday, 27 June 2011

Going for it

Ok, so I did one good dive, and what do the Italians do? They decide it's time to go for a world record! They are mad, they are. I feel cheated. I never really, truly, thought we would get to this point. It just sounded like a nice, albeit far away, idea, and now it's suddenly real! Oh sh...

The photo above shows me and Andrea at 100m, where, as you can see, he is spitting bubbles at me, making me laugh. Yesterday we reached 121m, where my mask was so squeezed I could not see a lot, and while I was trying to work out if the baloon was inflated enough and just going by the feel of the water moving across my face, he was busy shaking a happy fist at the camera. As a result, we spent a rather long time moving up slowly slowly. But , seriously, what in world got into those men? How did it happen that the blond girl is driving the sled? Clearly, this is not my fault, and in any case, it was very good, because I need to practice long dives for my variable world record. So there.

Truth is, both Andrea and I have been very focused and working hard - me on trying to equalise, him on trying to teach me to do it. It appears to be working. Now let's hope that it will still be working tomorrow.

World record attempt No. 1 - coming up!

Saturday, 25 June 2011


The photo below is not a result of freedivers suffering from cabin fever, but an attempt to strech the (slightly too tight) necks on my lovely new Polosub wetsuits. The one on the right is the 7mm top that will hopefully make me float up like a cork from 40m on my variable weight world record attempt. I have been trying my best to delay wearing it, but boss instructor forced me to put it on the other day, so I would get used to it.

Now. The buoyancy thing might be nice, but try wearing a 7mm suit when it is 42°C outside. I was not happy, and even less so when Andrea said "oh look! A Zodiac!" He meant me. Charming. Problem is, I do feel like a Zodiac in the 7mm. The guys added insult to injury when they taped my legs with brown packing tape on the platform. I got quite upset, wailing "but, but, it is sooooo ugly! Everything is ugly!", which had Andrea promise to bring a marker pen to paint some flowers on the tape next time. I was unimpressed by this suggestion, and anyhow, he was still in the doghouse for the Zodiac comment, which he then tried to get out of by saying: "but there are nice Zodiacs!" Imagine! What a compliment! Just what a girl is looking for. Sweetie, you look like a lovely Zodiac today! Hmpf.

Zodiac suit on and legs taped, we have been doing some funky dives on the tandem no limits sled, getting down to 100m with no problems to speak of. The fun started when we moved the target to 110m. It's the magic-100m-barrier. You have to hit the wormhole just right with the deltaflyer, otherwise, not a chance. First try we made it past the 100m mark, but we were so fast, I couldn't keep up equalizing and hit the brake, thinking we were way off the bottom. Turns out we were - by a whole meter! I stopped the sled in 109m. It will be hard to live that one down.


On the whole, it's all very well, but there is something going on with my mouthfill and I am running out of air too early. A review of the stunning - and embarassing - sled camera footage showed that the amount of air gained in my cheeks when I charge it was equal to, say, a couple of peas. I got quite a talking to by my two coaches for that one. Marco then made me inflate my cheeks right there in the office, and he kept saying, no way, more, put more, you have to relax the muscles, it can't be, you MUST be able to fit more in! And anyway, why are they (the cheeks) uneven? All my cries of it's full, it's full, honest! Did not impress him and he commanded me to go check in the mirror why the left side is inflating more than the right. I was baffled. What the hell do I know? It seems boss instructor has worked it out. It's the dimples. They are uneven. Have you ever heard of such a ridiculous problem?

Somehow the two Italians still have confidence in their ability to teach me. Marco has gone and announced the tandem no limts world record attempt for me and Andrea. Dates are: 25-30th June. Which is starting - hold on - TODAY!! We are currently at 113m.

Did I mention? Oh shit...

Wednesday, 15 June 2011


I have (accidentally) announced a world record attempt. I woke up one morning and it seemed like a good plan somehow. Now the mornings are more along the "oh shit, what have I done!" kind of line. You might ask how this happened. Well. I blame Andrea of Only One. He fixed the final part of my mouthfill, making way for fancy ideas to get into my head. As this is all his responsibility, I have come back to Sharm, where he will be in charge of everything, and if I don't make it it will be his fault! Must have the excuses ready at a really early stage of proceedings after all.

We have been training for a week, which has mostly consisted of the guys trying to rescue some remnants of what we did in April after the hectic, crazy month I spent back home. There wasn't a lot left. We started off with no limits dives on the head down sled, and I was having contractions on the way DOWN on a 30m dive! No limits! Can you imagine? It's just wrong, that is. Meanwhile, there is the small detail of me having announced a variable weigth world record, so I will have to swim up. Boss-instructor arrived on the first day and gave me the program. It involves a mix of dynamic and swimming in the pool every morning, plus streching, plus breathing exercises, plus mouthfill exercises. When am I to work on my tan I ask you? Looks like it will be a tough month.

Some things are at least working by now, and after I took a mouthfill from ten to sixty meters head down four sessions in a row, the coaches gave in and we went to play with the shiny, new, lovely toy: the monster no limits sled!

I think it is a bit like a space ship. It should have a fancy name, like the delta flyer in star trek.

We have it set up for tandem at the moment, since Andrea and I will be doing some deep diving together. I did a sweet and easy eighty meters with it yesterday, lots of fun except for the cold water inflating my suit from ten meters onwards during the 60m warm up dives. Tape. Will buy tape.

Can't wait to do more! I simply love new toys. Meanwhile, there was something - oh yes - 24 days to go till the world record attempt. That is - hold on - less than four weeks!!!

Ohhhhh shit...