Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Diving and Spearfishing Progress

Earlier this year I posted some of my freediving plans for the year. It has been quite a learning curve and I have encountered obstacles and have overcome most but not all.

A big plus was the Bruce Mills and I joined forces, Bruce is really keen of freediving and we have teamed up to safety for each other in the pool and at sea. Zephyr, my 9 yrs old son has made some great progress and has experienced a paradigm shift in skill and ability in both freediving and spearfishing - here I see the one activity benefit the other.

I have adapted to my ChenBin monofin I got from Trevor and it is seeing considerable service. I love the efficiency of it and I am very confident with it. My goal for the year was to reach 60 m on constant weight - I am close at 56.4 m. Thanks to Bruce for meeting me at 15 m on that dive - great to have that extra bit of confidence. So at least I beat my former(2001) variable weight PB of 53m - it stood for longer than it should have. My dives involve little warm-up - thanks to Trevor Hutton's tips I adopted. I do only three ~7m dives and one of ~20m before the big one. The prep dives are on exhale to prep me and then I take a 5-6 min rest and go with 7 packs.

Technically I use a tuna float with a cleat to anchor my 12mm rope - it is marked with paint every 5 m and each 10 m marks has a painted pattern to indicate the depth - I did this for a back-up in event of a depth gauge failure. Keeping the rope strait is a challenge - typically currents run at different speeds and wind also pulls the boat so I use 15+kg on the rope below my luminous base plate. The bright base plate, fitted with lumo tags is a must, often it's really dark - for instance the other day I could not see my watch at 42 m without tilting it to catch the light at the right angle to be readable.

Sea conditions have been tough - poor viz and freezing water - down to 8 deg C have test Bruce and me but we coped and are now a bit tougher. I am quite content to drop down from 20 deg water into 8 deg.
The main issue with viz is that we need to see each other for safety - this is good so far as we have had clearer cold water below the top murk.

Anchoring the boat in a big swell and fair current results in us spending extra effort to stay on the rope - or being swept off and swimming back especially in FIM or CNF disciplines. I did my first FIMs the other day and enjoyed it - much easier that CNF. On poor days I do FIM with still fins as a back-up for safety.

Sharks - none so far. We did however, have a Brydes whale circling us the other day - for this reason I am rather nervous to use a lanyard - imagine the whale tangles in your rope as you reach the bottom plate and you are fastened to the rope! With a lanyard we will have to use a knife to be able to cut free. In the last 6 months two spearos in PE have had their boats dragged about by a whale - one time the diver was on the boat and the other time they watched the boat steam off by "itself". Later the whale unanchored iteself and the boat stopped its excursion.

While preparing for dives I found a need to store items such as snorkels and cameras etc. - I bought a 2cnd hand life ring and fitted a net inside - this is clipped onto the tuna float.

Two challenges so far have been to fight current and surge as well as to retrieve the weights that anchor the rope vertically or nearly so. Weight retrieval has been direct manual - good FIM training! I will experiment with using the boat to pull it up as fishermen do with anchors. Alternately I need a drogue on the tuna float to anchor the float while the driving boat lifts the weight and the cleat anchors it. The surge and current problem was partially solve with a big parachute style drogue - thin material makes up my 3x 3 m drogue and it anchors the boat well with the wind. I do find some unfavourable angles in the rope when the bottom plate is deep - most likely a counter current below with the faster surface current pulls the boat and drogue in the opposite direction.

In terms of training I have evolved a few new ways to boost my mono skills and no-fins - home style low cost systems. I need a a variety of training methods of I loose interest in the tedium so I have a good few. Pool training I do once a week with Bruce and Zeph - mostly anaerobic work or simulated sea dives in the pool. After a nice little samba in the pool I have steered to less oxygenation - I was being watched and the samba only came after my first breath. I need to work out a long term training plan and have some good insights from a triathlon training planner.

Zephyr has made good progress in taking many PB fishes and has now qualified(in dads) mind to participate in the adults comps in future instead of the juniors. He has also done some freedives with me in the Keubooms River - he dived 8 m easily and even chose to leave the fins on the boat and comfortably went to the bottom at 8 m and returned with a stick in one hand exclaiming to his cousin how easy it was. I still watch his every dive in the river or sea to make it safe.

In all I have enjoyed the freediving pursuits and self exploration recently. I look forward to the rest of the years freediving. Through the Gullyjumpers club I have applied for a donation from the lotto fund and if we are successful I can expand the freediving activities though training and equipment. Now it is time to get Zephyrs gear ready for tomorrows dive...  Good night.

4 comments:

Rene Potvin said...

I wish I had your training dedication. I used to play underwater hockey and train 20 hours a week, but somehow I got more into expeditions and speargun designs. I'm @living_outdoors btw.

NIBIN said...

great blog keep going

nitha said...

great work done by you

Ratheesh said...

your post are really nice.expecting more from you