I’ve long wanted to try out freediving ever since I finished attending my basic swimming classes at Swim Central early last year. But time wasn’t so favorable that I had to postpone it months after months. Come June 15, the day after I celebrated my 26th birthday. I enrolled myself to an Introduction to Freediving organized by My Happy Fins and joined a group of mixed first-timers and second-timers.
Preparations for your First Freediving Experience
Some suggest to try out city diving first before jumping into an open water exposure, but I did not. So far, I don’t regret skipping the city diving experience yet I wouldn’t suggest or recommend it either. What worked for me may not work for you, but this is how I did it.
After a few days of researching, I found My Happy Fins that caters an all-in package of basic freediving lesson to swimmers and non-swimmers for only Php 2700.00/head, perfect for beginners. I personally looked for a package that will provide freediving equipment, lodging and van transfer to and from Batangas cos this happened to be my first solo trip and I wanted it to be as hassle-free as possible.
Now here’s a complete preparation list prior to your first freediving experience.
- Find a freediving buddy! Or enjoy the spontaneity and go solo!
- Look for a trustworthy coach/organizer. Read feedback and reviews, canvass, compare rates and decide.
- I don’t suggest splurging on freediving equipment if you’re a first-timer. Especially if you still don’t know what’s the right equipment to buy – but you do you. This is just my frugal self talking.
- Have comfortable clothes to wear. Salt water can be itchy so wear leggings and rashguard. Comfort over fashion for first-timers.
- Buy reef-safe sunblock like Human Nature or Magwai sunscreens. Let’s not destroy our coral reefs with commercialized sunblocks.
- Make sure your body is in its best condition. Otherwise, consult your doctor.
- Have enough sleep and rest well. This is very important. Much better if you can do stretching routines prior to the activity to lessen the muscle pain and cramps.
- Decide to do it and enjoy while at it!
Theory and Practice: How it went
June 14, 2019
We met up at Edsa corner Buendia Avenue, Makati around 7:30 PM and departed at 8:00 PM. The travel time took roughly 4 hours from the assembly point going to My Happy Fins’ headquarters in Lobo, Batangas. Their lodging caters up to 12 persons, just enough for the whole group. They have spacious shower rooms and toilets available for usage. The place isn’t fancy but is clean and comfortable. There’s no mobile data or signal in the area so I went straight to bed after I changed clothes – hoping for a good night sleep.
June 15, 2019
We woke up 6:00 AM, changed our clothes to leggings and rashguards in preparation for the next activities. We ate breakfast – coffee, chocolate drink, tuna sandwich, egg sandwich, and banana, which they prepared for us. We head on to equipment fitting which includes short swim fins and snorkel masks. They have all sizes available so worry not. They provided us our dive log to be used for all our diving activities.
The lesson started around 7:30 AM. The coaches introduced themselves. Then we used our dive log to log the necessary numbers for our first freediving experience. They provided us fun facts about freediving, techniques, hand signals and other know-how to freediving. I was loving it so far, it made me crave for the water even more.
Now it’s time to put the theory to practice. The beach is just a few blocks away from our lodging. They taught us how to float – which to my advantage, I already know how. It’s good that they went through this process especially for non-swimmers. We then swam a bit further with our fins and snorkel gears on. We used a rope to pull ourselves down and practiced equalization. This can be discomforting to both ears if not done correctly so practice slowly. No need to rush.
We took a break after 2 hours of open water session and ate the lunch prepared for us. It’s not advisable to eat heavy so we avoided pork and beef. We took another 2 hours worth of break before we went back for our second open water session. Some advanced to practicing duck dive while others continued with the down the line activity. the second session lasted for 2 hours before we went back to lodging and prepared to go home.
The whole freediving experience was fun! I couldn’t say it’s easy but I couldn’t say it’s hard either. Again, we all have our own learning curves and we just have to keep going cos, by all means, progress is progress. I was both scared and excited a few days prior to this day, but having to experience it myself – it was so worth it. There’s something about the sea that I’m so in love with. What more if I freedived in a coral-abundant sea, say Apo Reef, who knows? I may be wearing my long fins by then.
My Happy Fins did great organizing this event. The coaches are friendly and approachable – definitely not intimidating in any way. My first solo trip and my first freediving experience went well because of them, so thumbs up! This is not in any way sponsored but I recommend them for the brave-hearts who want to finally tick off freediving from their dusty old bucket list. Also, thanks for the captured videos which I screen-capped for this blog’s sake. Loved it!
This is all for now, see you at my next sea adventure!