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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 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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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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