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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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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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