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Gray Whale Season 2022 Wrap Up

BY: Valentina / 2 COMMENTS / CATEGORIES: Baja, Conservation, whales

Gray Whale Season 2022 Wrap Up

Gray whale season in Baja is officially over! It’s always a bittersweet time of year to see the whales leave: we will not see them until next year, but they’re migrating back to Alaska where they will be eating 1.2 tons of food every day to get strong and be able to come back to Baja next year. They have the longest migration of any mammal on Earth!

Spy hop
Gray Whale watching

This season has been outstanding! We had a 100% sighting success during our daily expeditions, and we witnessed some incredible behaviors. The most unforgettable moment to me was to watch the gray whales courtship and mate! We were able to see a male following the female, showing us the pectoral fins, twirling around and even saw the 2m (6 ft) penis! The most beautiful part was when they were belly to belly mating.

If you’ve come to our expeditions, you know that it is much more than whale watching. As a marine biologist, I love educating people who come onboard about gray whale biology, behavior, reproduction, ecology, conservation and pretty much anything I know. I take data of weather conditions and sightings every day, to be able to understand the whales in a deeper way. However, the captain, José knows the gray whales like his own family. He knows what time of month and day is best according to the moon and the tides. He runs a family business, where his fisherman dad provides the food that we eat on the tour, and his wife or sister cooks it for us. Best scallop you’ll ever try!

Gray Whale watching
Captain Jose

I also like to show the diverse ecosystems that Baja California Peninsula has to offer. On tours, we often visit the frigate bird colony in the mangroves, or wonder in the sand dunes next to hundreds or thousands of pelicans, cormorants and seagulls.

This Gray Whale season we were very happy to see moms with calfs, and very young whales (around 1 or 2 years old) which makes me so happy to see them healthy, meaning they have survived the most critical part of their lifetime!

Isla Margarita
Bird watching Baja
Sand dunnes

We can’t be grateful enough to nature and to the Gray Whales for being so generous and friendly! They made us cry tears of joy, laugh and smile. They’re presence fills us with joy and we can’t wait to see them again next season starting January 15th 2023! If you’d like more information about our daily or multiple-day expeditions, we organize tailored expeditions to fit your desires. Thank you whales and thanks to all of you who help make this happen!

Now it’s time to say goodbye to the Gray Whales, and hello to the Mobula Rays! The largest schools in the World can be found here in Baja, and it’s one of nature’s most spectacular events. Mobulas are famous for their high jumps and acrobatics in the air. Freediving with hundreds or thousands of them is a unique experience that you can’t miss. Check out our Mobula Ray Expedition on May 15-19, only 4 spots available. Email us to book your spot 🙂

Gray Whale watching
Mobula Rays
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2021 Recap with Freefall Academy

BY: Valentina / 0 COMMENTS / CATEGORIES: Baja, Course, Espiritu Santo, Freediving, Sea Lions

2021 has been a wonderful year in the underwater world. We’ve had so many adventures that it’s hard to put it all in one blog post, so here is a little summary of the top moments of 2021 with Freefall Academy. Let’s recap!

Gray Whale Tail
Gray Whales

It all started with Gray Whale Season in january-march. We went north of La Paz on day trips to do whale watching. Gray Whales are the friendliest whales in the world. On calm days, you can see dozens of them in the shallow water lagoons of Baja Califonia. Spy hopping, breaching, head slapping, lob tailing and slapping, and pectoral slapping! Some days the friedly whales came right to the boat and allowed us to give them a good old cratch!

Freediver Ivan diving among thousands of mobula rays with freefall academy!
MOBULAS

Then, in March-May we had the Mobula Ray season! This is one of my favorite times of year because we are often surprised by unexpected visitors. On 2021 mobula season we also watched or swam with: turtles, sharks, dolphins, yellowtail fish and orcas! The mobulas didn’t disappoint, they showed as all their best acrobatic tricks from topside. And underwater they gracefully danced all around us. Imagine freediving and being surrounded by mobulas everywhere you can look. A truly magical experiece.

sailing
SAILED ACROSS THE PACIFIC OCEAN

At the end of May, Freefall Academy team took a different path and sailed across the Pacific Ocean to French Polynesia! The navigation took 18 days from Cabo to Nuku Hiva Island. It was a crew of three: Tyler, Oli and Valentina. The trip was far from easy, we started off by running from two tropical cyclones, then hit inconsistent winds. However, we had glorious days, breathtaking night watches looking at the universe, pods of dolphins riding the waves and uncountable learning lessons. Just this section deserves a blog post itself. You can read a little more about it here if you’re interested.

Baby Whale
HUMPBACK WHALE

June to beginning of september we were in French Polynesia. We had many underwater adventures exploring the crystal clear waters of FP. However my favorite one was an encounter with a humpback whale calf, mom and escort. We were on the boat waiting for them to come up to breath, and suddenly the calf came right under the boat. I was in the water next to the boat, it showed us its belly and flipped its tail out of the water. The calf was looking at me and playing with the air in her jaw, making a lot of noice! Then mom and escort came up to breathe, they all showed me some dance moves and then went back down.

Orca and Valen
orcas!

September to december it’s my favorite season to teach freediving courses and trainings because of the environmental conditions. The 31 st of October I got an Orca report from the captain, so the 1st of nov we went out on a mission. We were lucky to be the first boat who found them. A split pod of 5 orcas, including one mom and calf. We decided to give some space to mom and baby, and we stayed with a very curious young male that kept coming so close to us! A day I will never forget.

Freedive Cabo Pulmo Freefall Academy
CABO PULMO: SHARKS, JACKS AND HUGE GROUPER!

October to beginning of december is the best time of year to go to Cabo Pulmo. This specific day we had an incredible day freediving with the famous school of jacks, as well as freediving with about 6 bull sharks. We were surrounded by a huge school of yellow snapper, then a bull shark gracefully came very close to us to check us out. But the cherry on top was being eye to eye with a Pacific Goliath Grouper that looked as big as the bull sharks! An overfished species that is rare to see, but is now more common to watch in Cabo Pulmo due to its protection as an MPA. They’re usually shy in scuba, but when freediving they come very close!

Marlin Expedition
MARLINS, DOLPHINS AND MORE

Marlin season this year was outstanding! Not only we saw dozens of baitballs being hunted by marlins, but so much more! Mahi mahi, sea lions and wahoo joining the hunt. Superpod of thousands of common dolphins. Bryde’s whale eating the baitballs. Humpack whales dancing with dolphins. 100+ marlins on the same baitball. One of my favorite days out at sea guiding with Nakawe Project, we found a pod of hundreds of Pacific White Sided Dolphins. We spent hours having intimate interactions with them. As we freedived down, the dolphins would follow us and look at us in the eye. They were so curious! I have to admit I had tears of joy. For marlin expeditions, email us.

But what is the common characteristic of every single adventure? We are surrounded by people that love the ocean, like you! Our passion is to share these kind of adventures with people, and make them fall in love with the Ocean. Join us this 2022 and create unforgettable memories with us.

 

Thank you from Freefall Academy team! We wish you a wonderful 2022 full of magical underwater adventures.

Freefall Academy

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5 Razones para proteger los Océanos

BY: Valentina / 4 COMMENTS / CATEGORIES: Conservation

5 Razones para proteger los Océanos

La conservación marina ha sido un tema muy mencionado en redes sociales, pero ¿Porque es importante proteger los Océanos? Sin océanos saludables, nuestra vida en la Tierra sería severamente desafiada, incómoda y quizás imposible. Cómo lo dijo la Dra. Sylvia Earl “No blue, no green”. El océano está conectado profundamente con cada uno de nosotros, necesitamos de él. Aquí les dejo algunas de las miles de razones por las cuales es sumamente importante proteger del Océano:

1) Son los pulmones de la Tierra

más del 50% del oxígeno que respiramos, fue producido por fitoplancton. El fitoplancton son organismos marinos microscópicos capaces de producir oxígeno vía fotosíntesis y se encuentran en la base de la red trófica marina. Son alimento para todo tipo de organismos, desde animales pequeñísimos como el zooplancton, hasta animales gigantescos como la ballena azul.

2) Regulan el clima

 el océano es crucial para mantener el planeta en la temperatura perfecta para la vida, ni muy caliente ni muy frío. La mayor parte de la radiación solar es absorbida por el océano, reteniendo y distribuyendo el calor por todo el planeta. El agua del océano se evapora constantemente, aumentando la temperatura y la humedad del aire para formar la lluvia y las tormentas que luego son transportadas por los vientos a grandes distancias. De hecho, casi toda la lluvia que cae en tierra comienza en el Océano. Las corrientes son igual de importantes ya que ayudan a contrarrestar la distribución desigual de la radiación solar que llega a la superficie de la Tierra. Sin corrientes, las temperaturas regionales serían más extremas.

3) Economía azul

según la ONU, el valor de la economía global basada en los océanos se estima entre 3 y 6 billones de dólares/año y más de 3 mil millones de personas dependen de los océanos para su sustento. Según la CONABIO, entre 2003-2006 los estados costeros contribuyeron al 43% del PIB nacional.

4) Alimento

la FAO indica que 4.3 mil millones de personas dependen del pescado para el 15% de su consumo de proteínas animales, y la cifra es mucho más alta en países en vías de desarrollo. En México durante el 2017 hubo un consumo de 12.6 kg de pescado per capita. No me gusta promover el consumo de mariscos y pescado, pero es evidente que muchos mexicanos dependen de ello. Lo importante es que conozcan de dónde viene lo que comemos, asegurarse que provenga de un método de pesca sustentable y que las especies que estás comiendo no estén vulnerables o en peligro de extinción.  Es un tema muy complejo y por eso, próximamente, le dedicaré un artículo especial.

5) Nos genera felicidad

¿quién no quiere ir a la playa de vacaciones? El mar nos tranquiliza, nos da paz y felicidad. Ya sea para verlo desde lejitos asoleándose y tomando margaritas, o como me gusta a mí, explorando sus profundidades y su vida. Unos segundos después de que nuestra cara toca el agua, el ritmo cardíaco disminuye, provocando una relajación profunda.

¿Cuáles crees que son los fenómenos principales que estamos haciendo los humanos que daña al Océano? ¿Cuáles son las principales consecuencias del daño que provocamos? ¿Qué puedes hacer para ayudar? De eso les platicaré en el artículo de la próxima edición, ¡Manténganse al tanto!

Artículo escrito por Valentina Kochian Grimaldi para la revista Beyond Line. Artículo original aquí.

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Freediving Intermediate Course

BY: Valentina / 0 COMMENTS / CATEGORIES: Baja, Course, Freediving, Freefall

AIDA 3 Star Course – Freediving Intermediate Course

In this post you will find all the information you need about the Freediving Intermediate Course; the purpose, prerequisites, itinerary, costs, knowledge development and certification requirements.

The AIDA3 Course builds on the skills learnt in the AIDA2 Freediver Course. It is designed to cover the necessary skills and knowledge for a recreational freediver to be able to safely freedive with or without a guideline. The aim of the course is to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to independently plan and participate in freediving activities with similarly experienced freedive buddies. The course is designed to further develop skills from previous levels, develop new skills and a higher knowledge of safety procedures and techniques for freediving such as Free Falling, Frenzel Equalizing, Training Tables, the risks of increasing and decreasing pressure and how to minimize these risks. Students will train these skills in the most common disciplines of freediving; Static Apnea, Dynamic Apnea, Free Immersion and Constant Weight.

Prerequisites

To enroll in the AIDA3 Freediving Intermediate Course, you must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older (16 or 17 years with parent or guardian consent)
  • Have completed the AIDA Medical Form (provided at course start)
  • Have completed the Liability Release (provided at course start)
  • Have completed the AIDA2 Freediver course
    • Or have completed the AIDA2 Crossover Evaluation if crossing over from another freedive agency or having other adequate freediving experience.

Knowledge Development

During the course we will go through theory taught by your instructor in a classroom. You will be given the AIDA3 online manual. We will go through these topics:

  • Physiology
  • Equalization
  • Barotrauma
  • Lungs at Depth
  • Buoyancy
  • Shallow Water Blackout
  • Training Concepts
  • The Mammalian Dive Response (MDR)
  • DCS and Surface Intervals
  • Freediver Code of Conduct

Certification Requirements

  • Pass the theory exam with a score of at least 75%
  • Perform a static breath hold of at least 2 minutes and 45 seconds.
  • Perform a 55m dynamic apnea with bifins (horizontal distance swimming underwater in confined water).
  • Perform a 24m Constant Weight dive (vertical distance in depth in open water).
  • Demonstrate appropriate rescue techniques and safety in dynamic, static and constant weight.
  • Demonstrate a proper technique of the breathing cycle and finning, body position, duckdive, freefall, etc.
  • Design and perform a STA and DYN Training Table.

If you don’t meet the depth requirements you can get certified as AIDA3 Pool Freediver. If you don’t meet any pool and/or depth requirements you can’t get certified at the moment, we would suggest training sessions.

Itinerary and price

Day 1

9am-noon – We’ll meet at the classroom, fill out paperwork and start the theory lesson.

Noon-1:30pm – Lunch break

1:30-6pm – We will meet at the pool to practice static apnea (holding your breath without moving) and dynamic apnea (horizontal distance covered underwater holding your breath). When we finish with the confined water activities we will finish with one more hour of theory.

Day 2

8am-3/4pm –  We will pick you up at the meeting point in La Paz and go on a 45 minute drive through beautiful Baja scenery. When we get to the beach we will do body stretching to relax our muscles and start the freediving-relaxing mode. Once everything is on the boat a local panguero (captain) will take us to the best spot in the area with the best conditions (from 25-45 minute boat ride, depending on the weather). During this boat ride we may see dolphins, pelagic fish and even whales if you’re lucky! When we get to protected spot we will set the buoy, gear up and start with the open water skills. During this time our panguero will always have the boat nearby with water and snacks.  We usually take a 20-30 minute break halfway through the session to relax and talk a little more easily about how the day is going.  Around 1pm we will take the boat back to shore and be in La Paz around 3 pm.

Day 3

8am-8pm – The same as day 2. After the 30 min break at the middle of the session we give you an option of keep practicing on the line or going to a nearby reef to do fun dives (if weather allows it).

When we go back to La Paz we will take a break so you can eat and relax.  At 6pm, we meet at a coffee shop to do the theory exam and revise it.

Price: $450usd per person

Includes: theory manuals, pool fees, AIDA certification, 2 boat fees, transportation.

*The location of the depth sessions may change according to the weather and the amount of people taking the course.

We hope to see you underwater! If you have any doubts please contact us at info@freefallacademy.net and we will be happy to assist you.

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Freediving Beginner Course

BY: Valentina / 4 COMMENTS / CATEGORIES: Baja, Course, Freediving

AIDA 2 Star Course – Freediving Beginner Course

In this post you will find all the information you need about the Freediving Beginner Course; the purpose, prerequisites, itinerary, costs, knowledge development and certification requirements.

The AIDA2 Course is the foundation course of AIDA, covering the necessary skills and knowledge for a non-competitive recreational freediver to safely freedive. It is a beginner course designed for students who are already confident in the water. The purpose of the course is to familiarize yourself with the skills, knowledge, safety procedures and enjoyment of freediving. You will be introduced to the basic disciplines of freediving: Static Apnea, Dynamic Apnea, Free Immersion and Constant Weight freediving.

The static and dynamic sessions in confined water are used to teach relaxation, breathing, finning, body positioning and safety techniques.  In the open water sessions you will use the skills learned in the pool / confined water sessions and combine those with the basic skills of open water freediving such as; Equalizing, Duck Diving, Vertical Swimming, Body Positioning, Turns and Use of Buoyancy.

Prerequisites

To enroll in the AIDA2 Freediving Beginner Course, you must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older (16 or 17 years with parent or guardian consent)
  • Be able to swim at least 100m non-stop
  • Have completed the AIDA Medical Form (provided at course start)
  • Have completed the Liability Release (provided at course start)

Knowledge Development

During the course we will go through theory taught by your instructor in a classroom. You will be given the AIDA2 online manual. We will go through these topics:

  • Introduction to Freediving
  • Freediving Breathing Cycle
  • Basic Physiology of Freediving
  • Equalisation
  • Freedive Technique
  • Safety in Freediving
  • Equipment in Freediving
  • Freediving Disciplines

Certification Requirements

  • Pass the theory exam with a score of at least 75%
  • Perform a static breath hold of at least 2 minutes.
  • Perform a 40m dynamic apnea with bifins (horizontal distance swimming underwater in confined water).
  • Perform a 12m Constant Weight dive (vertical distance in depth in open water).
  • Demonstrate appropriate rescue techniques and safety in dynamic, static and constant weight.
  • Demonstrate a proper technique of the breathing cycle and finning, body position, duckdive, etc.

If you don’t meet the depth requirements you can get certified as AIDA2 Pool Freediver. If you don’t meet any pool and/or depth requirements you can get certified as AIDA1. But don’t worry, you’re here to learn. As any other sport, practice makes perfect, so here we will teach you all you need to practice freediving safely and with good technique. After the course you can keep training to go deeper 😉

Itinerary and price

We teach this course in 3 to 4 days. The content of the course is exactly the same. However, I find that 4 days is more relaxed, but we understand that some people can’t take too many days off, so we got you covered!

Day 1

9am-noon – We’ll meet at the classroom, fill out paperwork and start the theory lesson.

Noon-1:30pm – Lunch break

1:30-5/6pm – We will meet at the pool or local beach (depending on the weather) to practice static apnea (holding your breath without moving) and dynamic apnea (horizontal distance covered underwater holding your breath). When we finish with the confined water activities we will go back to shore and go through the last part of the theory under a palapa for another 30 minutes.

*If we do the 4 day course, then during the first day we’ll meet at 9 am and have the theory lesson for about 2h30 min. Then we’ll go to the pool or calm shallow sea and do the static session and finish around 3pm. The second day we’ll meet at 9am, have the rest of the theory for about 2 hours, then go to the pool and do the dynamic apnea session until about 3pm.

Day 2*

8am-3/4pm –  We will pick you up at the meeting point in La Paz and go on a 45 minute drive through beautiful Baja scenery. When we get to the beach we will do body stretching to relax our muscles and start the freediving-relaxing mode. Once everything is on the boat a local panguero (captain) will take us to the best spot in the area with the best conditions (from 25-45 minute boat ride, depending on the weather). During this boat ride we may see dolphins, pelagic fish and even whales if you’re lucky! When we get to a protected spot we will set the buoy, gear up and start with the open water skills. During this time our panguero will always have the boat nearby with water and snacks.  We usually take a 20-30 minute break halfway through the session to relax and talk a little about how the day is going.  Around 1pm we will take the boat back to shore and be in La Paz around 3pm.

*If you take the 4 course day, this will be your Day 3.

Day 3*

8am-7pm – The schedule is the same as day 2, except towards the end of the diving session you can choose to keep practicing your skills and go deeper, or go to a reef and do fun dives (if weather permits it).

When we go back to La Paz we will take a break so you can eat and relax.  At 6pm, we meet at a coffee shop to do the theory exam and revise it.

*If you take the 4 course day, this will be your Day 4.

*The location of the depth sessions may change according to the weather and the amount of people taking the course.

Price:

$420usd per person.

Includes: theory manuals, pool fees, AIDA certification, boat fees, transportation from La Paz.

We hope to see you underwater! If you have any doubts please contact us at info@freefallacademy.net and we will be happy to assist you.

 

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Freediving Discovery Course

BY: Valentina / 2 COMMENTS / CATEGORIES: Course, Freediving, Sea Lions, Snorkeling

AIDA 1 Star Course – Introduction to Freediving

In this post you will find all the information you need about the Freediving Discovery Course. Everything from the purpose of the course, prerequisites, itinerary, costs, knowledge development and certification requirements.

This course is designed to be an introduction to freediving for complete beginners. It aims to help the students to develop basic skills, knowledge and safety procedures necessary to enjoy freediving safely within the limits of their experience. This course is divided into theory and practice. Theory is conducted in a classroom (or online) and the practical part in a swimming pool and/or in the sea.

Prerequisites

To enroll in the AIDA1 Introduction to freediving course, you must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older (16 or 17 years with parent or guardian consent)
  • Be able to swim at least 100m non-stop
  • Have completed the AIDA Medical Form (handed at course start)
  • Have completed the Liability Release (handed at course start)

Knowledge Development

During the course we will go through theory taught by your instructor in a classroom. You will be handed the AIDA1 online manual. We will go through these topics:

  • Introduction to AIDA1
  • Freedive Breathing Cycle
  • Equalization
  • Basics of Safety in Freediving
  • Freediving Disciplines
  • Freedive Equipment
  • Freediver Code of Conduct

Certification Requirements

None. Just enjoy, have fun and be safe 🙂

Itinerary and price

This course can be made in 1 or in 2 days:

  • Option 1 (1 day course)

9am – The course starts. We meet at the classroom location and go through theory until 11:30-12.

12-2pm – Lunch break

2pm-6pm – We meet at the pool (or local calm beach, depending on the weather) where we will do static apnea (holding your breath without moving) and dynamic apnea (horizontal distance covered underwater holding your breath). We will also do rescue techniques.

Price: $150usd per person

Includes: theory manuals, pool fees, certification, snacks, beverages and basic equipment rental (mask, fins, weight belts, weights and snorkel). Wetsuit and other equipment can be rented separately if needed.

  • Option 2 (2 day course)

Day 1: same itinerary as Option one above.

Day 2:

8am-3pm – We meet at certain location in La Paz and drive to La Ventana for 45 minutes. Here we will take a beautiful boat drive where we can see dolphins, turtles and other sea creatures until we get to the perfect location to practice depth. The line and buoy will be set at no more than 10m (33ft) deep. We will teach you the equalization and body technique needed to be able to dive safely and practice rescue procedures. We will be practicing the skills for about 2 hours. At the end we will go to a beautiful reef where we can have free time to freedive fun dives. Depending on the time of year, we can potentially dive with sea lions, turtles, lots of fishes and even giant manta ray! We’ll be back at La Paz around 2-3pm.

*The location of the depth sessions may change according to the weather and the amount of people taking the course.

Price:

$265 per person.

Includes: theory manuals, pool fees, certification, boat fees and basic equipment rental (mask, fins, weight belts, weights and snorkel). Wetsuit and other equipment can be rented separately if needed.

We hope to see you underwater! If you have any doubts please contact us at info@freefallacademy.net and we will be happy to assist you.

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Freefall in Freediving

BY: Valentina / 0 COMMENTS / CATEGORIES: CNF, Freediving, Freefall

What is freefall in freediving?

The practice of freefall in freediving occurs when a free diver reaches a point of negative buoyancy and stops finning or swimming downward, allowing the force of gravity alone to draw the diver deeper.  

Why do we freefall?

Freefall in Freediving (CNF) - William Trubridge
CNF World Record holder William Trubridge showing us how its done! Freefalling with no fins.

As a free diver descends in water, the volume of air inside of their body (therefore the volume of the body itself) becomes smaller or more compressed thereby changing the buoyancy of their body.  This is explained by Boyle’s Law and Archimedes’ principle respectively.

Every free diver possesses a different degree of buoyancy which is variable to their freediving gear (i.e. wetsuit, weight belt, fins, mask, etc.).  A safe freediving practice is to have a positive buoyancy of at least 10 meters because most of the blackouts happen between 10m and the surface.  This way, if a blackout does occur, the diver will float to the surface, making a rescue more achievable.  We will discuss more safety protocols in a different blog post.  

The freefall is a technique used by almost every professional free diver.  This is because, during the freefall the diver is not required to use physical exertion to gain distance in depth.  This allows the diver to conserve oxygen and energy while decreasing the rate of carbon dioxide production.  The freefall can be likened to a depth static, where the individual can focus her or his consciousness on relaxation and equalization.   

Freefall Technique

Freefall in Freediving with bi-fins
Freefall in freediving with bi-fins (fins are parallel to the line and knees are slightly bent).

That being said, there is a proper technique to the freefall.  When mastered freefall can lead a free diver into a dream-like or zen-like state.  In general, the ideal body position will be as hydrodynamic as possible.  Specifically, the head should be in a neutral position to aide in equalization, neither looking down or up the line. The torso parallel to the line. The arms and hands should be streamlined along the side or front of the body.  Without fins the legs should be straight with pointed feet, or slightly bent legs with relaxed feet.  With fins, the legs should be slightly bent from the hips or knees so that the blade(s) of the fin(s) run parallel with the line (like in the picture).

A good technique will yield a freefall rate of approximately one meter per second (1m/s).

Personal Preference

While in freefall the free diver has the option to close their eyes, this furthers the relaxation and therefore oxygen conservation.  The current CWT (Constant Weight) world record holder Alexey Molchanov while in freefall has said he only opens his eyes slightly every few seconds.   He does this to make sure he has good positioning along the line.  Other divers, such as Alenka Artnik, the CWT Roatan 2017 AIDA World Champion freefalls with her eyes closed the entire time and feels the line with her hand.  There are many slight variations that are a personal preference for each individual free diver.  

In conclusion, the freefall is a very useful and peaceful practice to improve relaxed gains in depth while freediving.  It is personally our favorite part of freediving, hence the name ‘Freefall Academy’. We hope you have learned something from this post.  Please share an experience or thought with us below in the comment section.  Or better yet, come freefall with us in one of our courses here in La Paz. Safe freefalls. 

Check out this amazing video of Guillaume Néry freefalling at Deans Blue Hole in Bahamas!

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Espiritu Santo Island and Sea Lions

BY: Valentina / 0 COMMENTS / CATEGORIES: Espiritu Santo, Freediving, Sea Lions, Snorkeling

Espiritu Santo Island

A little bit about the habitat of Espiritu Santo Island

Espiritu Santo Island is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places on Earth. It has scenic mountain ranges reaching a maximum altitude of 1200m, extraordinary cliffs made from volcanic stone and pristine white sand beaches.  The amazing water colors, ranging from green turquoise, to deep and transparent blue gives a feeling of tranquility to the soul.

It is a perfect place to experience snorkeling, freediving, scuba diving, hiking, kayaking, camping, stand-up paddle boarding and sailing.

Espiritu Santo Island is apart of the Archipelago of Espiritu Santo, which became a National Park in 2007. Espiritu Santo Island is located in the Gulf of California, North of La Paz, Baja California Sur.  Furthermore, it became an UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site in 2005 along with 243 other islands, islets and coastal areas in the Gulf of California.  These areas contain 39% of the world’s total number of species of marine mammals and a third of the world’s marine cetacean species.

In addition, the island contains many habitats, such as mangroves, sandy bottoms, rocky reefs, estuaries, beautiful isolated beaches and bays. It’s perfect for all kinds of people, from little kids who want to start exploring the underwater world, to experienced divers that would like to see why the Sea of Cortez is called the “aquarium of the world”.

A group of common dolphins in BCS

The Flora and Fauna

Espiritu Santo Island has 38 species of plants and animals that are unique (or endemic) in the whole World.   The juancito, the babisuri, the black hare and the sandy snake are examples. Furthermore, there are 200 species of plants and more than 70 species of animals (not counting the ones underwater).

As you submerge before the surface you can find at least 15 species of marine mammals, including dolphins, whales and the famous colony of sea lions.  In addition, you can find more than 50 species of aquatic birds gracing the waters, airways and cliffs.

Sea Lions of Espiritu Santo Island

The Sea Lions that live in the islets called “Los Islotes” or “La Lobera” are a species scientifically called Zalophus californianus.

A big group of Sea Lions at “La Lobera”

As well as other marine mammals, sea lions are very curious. This attitude has to do with exploration and playing. The young ones are especially playful; they might even play with your fins or other “weird” equipment. Think about a cute little puppy, then put it underwater, let it evolve and you will have a beautiful playful sea lion.

These beautiful creatures are on the island all year around. Los Islotes contain about 500 sea lions every year. The reproduction season initiates with the birth of the pups at the end of May.  Continuing with the breast-feeding and mating time around June, July and August.

Don’t miss the opportunity to swim or dive with these beautiful animals in Espiritu Santo Island. Check out our tours here.

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