Friday, April 11, 2008

Last day of Comp, last day on the island

Well its been a very eventfull day, Kerian made his last dive of the comp today, which turned out to be a personal best, making it to 71m - he was over the moon and so was I - it was great to see him work so hard and get such a great result.

William turned on his magic again today with a world record swim of 108m FIM - came up pretty clean, but very very happy.

Today I got put to the test, one of the divers blacked out underwater - which on any given day isnt that much of a deal as far as treatment, today however one of my worst nightmares came true, with the diver suffering a Pulmonary Odema and going into respiratory arrest. I made the call to take him ashore after about 10 seconds of him surfacing as he was not responsive to the normal "tap, talk and blow" which we do for blackouts to bring the diver around, and he was foaming from the mouth, clearly there was fluid being aspirated from his lungs - then the blood started to stain the white foam coming from his mouth - this is when I realised that we could be in trouble if we did not act quickly - very luckily the next competitor who was warming up on the platform, was a pulmonary specialist, so I called for his assistance, effectively halting his dive as well, but it was assistance that was greatly needed as the safety divers for this dive had never witnessed this type of incident before, and neither had I. The good part of the story is that after some time we brought him back around, and he was sent to the local medical clinic for further monitoring and treatment. He has made a full recovery which is fantastic.

To say goodbye to the hole, I got Kerian to hold a tag down the line, and I dove to get it, today I didn't go as far as I had been, my ears just wouldn't let me go that far but 5.9m with a tag felt pretty good, especially when I had people in the water like Kerian, Ryuzo, Tomoko and Natalia yahooing at the water for me, along with Nick and Fran on the platform.

So tomorrow we jump on the big plane and make the long pilgrimage back to NZ - back to the kids, and like the song says...back to reality, its been an amazing experience being here and being with these amazing people over the past two weeks.

See you all soon - and boys, keep your room clean and take care of nana!

Amazing Day - April 10

Today was an amazing amount of fun, excitement, adrenaline and commiseration all rolled into one.

Fran let me judge the dives today - while she took on the role of safety diver. Leo was first to go, and unfortunately he blacked out just 2m from the surface. This time because I was in the water, i was able to "manage" if that is the right word the initial treatment of Leo, I could grab his neck weight easily to relieve pressure on his trachea- which has caught us out so many times with various divers, and was able to assist the safety divers by giving clear instructions - rather than having to yell them from the platform.

Frank was attempting a national record, unfortunately he could not equalise - so only made it to 15m. Next up was Kathryn who was using Kerian's monofin to extend out her CWT record, which she did with ease, next up....was what was about to become my greatest honor. Will Trubridge with his staggering 86m CNF record attempt.

Will had set the world record at 84m just a few days ago, this being 2m deeper is quite a big deal, so off he goes, quietly i was starting to doubt myself, thinking of all the things that he had to do when he came up, and all the things i had to look for. Grant Graves was the other judge, and he was also the person who trained me, so i felt a bit of pressure as i was sure if there was something to pick up, he wouldn't tell me.

So we hear the guy calling the depths say that Will was on his way back, 50m....40m....30m....20m...."we see him" someone called, and then as I looked down I saw Will swimming strong....really strong, it was like he had just done a training dive and only gone a few meters, then he broke through the surface, a million things are running through my head, did I stop the watch in my left hand, did I start the one in my right hand, did he touch the rope, did anyone touch him, did his airway go back under, he ok, I looked up and wow, the look on his face, so fresh and so so happy, Will was fine. Then the million dollar moment, he produced the tag that he got from the bottom plate to prove to us that he got there, we had to wait 1m before we could show our cards, I held the stopwatch up for Grant to see, as the minute mark ticked over, Grant looked at me and said " are you alright with it" - this was my moment, did I miss anything, confidently I said " yes" and then Grant nodded and we showed our white cards, confirming that Will had just set a new CNF World record at 86m with much yahooing and screaming from everyone around us, and a gigantic arm pump from Will who was ecstatic.
Heres the video of this dive - look for the scary lookign chick with blonde hair and a big mask on - thats me!

Next was "Big Dave Mullins" with his world record attempt of 113 CWT - this was to be a totally different experience, he made the bottom this is the deepest anyone has gone in competition, but started to loose himself around 50m - he pushed to hang on, and met Kerian at around 25m, still pushing, but he knew that he might not make it by himself, Kerian put his hand on his back to support him and helped push the big guy to the surface. When he broke through the surface he was out to it, but certainly not the worst blackout I have seen, and not the worst of the competition, however it was the worst one that Dave has experienced. The "rescue" went like clockwork, Kerian handed him off at the surface, surface safety and I supported him and brought him around without any problems. The big guy was disappointed but it was a good experience to be had, and as was said after the event - what we saw was not only Dave pushing his limits, but Dave pushing the limits of the human body - while it wasn't a world record, it was world history unfolding in front of us.

After the comp was over and everyone had settled down, one of the Safety Divers, Peter gave me some diving lessons and some swimming lessons, he was just the person to help me as he specialises in teaching diving to those who are afraid of the water, not that I think I am afraid of it any more, in fact I don't want to leave here - it is truly so nice, so peaceful and there is much to learn here.

There is only one day left of competition, I am judging the last day again, and we have 2 World Record attempts lined up - fingers crossed there are more white cards in the wings!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The photographic proof!

Today - I tried freediving again, and today it was easier i managed to EQ ( equalise) better, and felt more relaxed and less anxious about being so deep in the water. My first dive was to 4m, i couldn't get my ear to pop so came up rather than push it and give myself less dives.

Fran has shown me how to breathe up - so i am spending just a few minutes on the surface breathing like the pro's do!

My second dive was easy peasy - it was so easy, that when I got to the point where my ears wouldn't pop again, I was really disappointed and spent 7 seconds there trying to get it to go, I then turned upright and gave it another go as i've been told its easier to EQ upright, this time as I went to the surface I decided to let go of the rope - and just put my hands above my head and dolphin kicked - I arrived at the surface really ecstatic but really disappointed I couldn't go further, My dive time 32 seconds, my depth - 6.1m - Fran was screaming out at me " iIgot a great picture of that" and that picture is the one you see there on this page - and yes I am wearing a NZ flag shirt over my wet suit.

We went snorkeling later this afternoon to get some video footage of freediving, it was a great trip for me, we saw a barracuda, an electric stingray and I got to do some filming, which was pretty cool as I forgot completely about being in the water. At the end we literally body surfed in and got tossed around by the waves, I have to say that is one thing i have been afraid of, but it was awesome fun!

The comp has been pretty long, its hard to stay focused everyday, but its an amazing experience, and I will get some judging credit having judged a world and national record attempt, and quite possibly another couple of attempts as well.

So kids - only a few more days till we start to head home I bet you haven't missed us at all

See you in a few days

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Kerian Sets the NZ record in Variable Weight

Today was the day he was waiting for, It was amazing and i was extremely proud to see him prepare and complete an amazing dive.

Kerian, you have achieved an amazing thing, and i hope you are as proud of you as we ( me and the kids) are of you in doing it.

Over the past few days, William Winram said to Kerian " sucks to be you mate, one of only a hand full of people who have swum over 200m in a swimming pool, and 3rd on the rankings list, and still you don't have a NZ record because the other world record holders are also kiwi's!" - its so true!

Kerian will do another attempt in the next few days along with continuing with his CWT dives

SHE DID IT!!!! - congrats Natalia

Today - I want to say a huge congrats to Natalia Avseenko- who achieved the womens world record in CNF today with an easy dive to 57m - the picture says it all, her happiness made many of us scream in excitement with her, and also cry with happiness too. Natalia, you are a beautiful person, your smile lights up the room, and this picture of you will light up the world - congrats - and may this amazing achievement help you move forward with your freediving with much confidence!!.

I am extremely privileged to meet you and also to witness your amazing dive.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

HE DID IT...and oh by the way so did I!!

Ok guys and gals - the big news of the day is that "drumroll please" William Truebridge broken the current world record of Constant Weight No Fins taking the new record to 84m - wooohoooooo

Heres the article that NZ herald ran about it

And - for the other sensational news from the blue hole is that " even bigger drum roll please"....JoyC made a 6m dive - Whoop whoop - I was sooo bloody amazed, once I got my ears to equalise, i just went down and down, and then thought ok this is enuf, it must be 4m...and headed back to the surface - Kerian and Simon were there to great me, and they are saying "breathe joy breathe" and I was thinking oh come on it was just down there a little - how much did i do, and then Kerian burst into a big smile as he looked at the dive meter and said " Do you really want to know"when he said 5.9m you would have thought i just smashed Dave Mullins record the way i was screaming about punching the water etc.

Kerian had a rest day today, so along with Fran and Simon we decided to do some leisurely snorkeling in Turtle cove - needless to say we are buggered now, so its time for us to head off to bed and get some sleep - tomorrow we have 2 world record attempts to get through - fingers crossed for these wickedly cool athletes.

PS - ive updated more pics - so check out the latest ones!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

3 meters!

So today - i try to dive, i realised today that I am one of the very few people in the world who will get to learn how to freedive in the blue hole.... so i am making the most of it!

Fran showed me how to breath properly for a dive yesterday, so today I used that technique, along with kerians tips on how to go down headfirst, as my "attempts" so far were all feet first.

So I breathed up, duck dived, equalized and off i went , this time to 3 meters, im still a long way away from Dave and his 108m ( that he did today in the blue hole) - but its great to know i can do that, and i want to go a little bit further too!!!

I had to visualise, something to relax me, so guess what i did, i imagined sitting at home at the table, watching Troy, Jordy and Kyle riding their bikes and skates around - I sorta felt like i was home - so thanks boys for helping me do my 3m dive!

Kerian nominated 66m CWT today but only made 60m - Will nominated 101m FIM - and made 90 - Dave nominated 108m CWT and achieved that, setting a new NZ record, along with Kathryn who did an easy 41m CNF and pushed out the NZ record as well - Go KIWIS!

8 more days of competition, to go, my suntan is great - although only on my feet and hands as thats all that pokes out from my wetsuit!!

Did you ever wonder where your rubbish goes?

The blue hole is so totally beautiful - its got georgous beaches, the water ( on a good day) is just amazingly clear and so warm, but imagine swimming in this condition - its a great thing to picture right....untill you get slapped i the face by a sole from a shoe, or a plastic bag...oh and the great bit, the toothbrush. Its so totally terrible and disgusting to see the amount of rubbish that not only washes up on the shore but is floating around in the blue hole.

For kiwis - its amazing that people around here ( who arent locals) just chuck stuff in the water - ewwee

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

3-2-1 Its competition time folks!

Well it is the first day of Competition at the blue hole and unfortunately there has been a storm brewing over the past 48 hours, we have had thunder and lightning, oh and lets not forget the torrential rain that hit us at 3.30pm on Sunday afternoon – this is the time we were measuring and stretching 130+m of rope, needless to say the 3 judges ( Grant Fran and I) were totally soaked by time we had finished with that rope. Because of the storm there is a lot of rubbish around and the visibility at the hole is not that great. William says that he has never seen conditions like this in the 3 years he has been at the Blue Hole.

Today was all about testing the safety procedures and counter ballast system ( this is what is used if the diver is late returning from their dive or there are obvious signs of trouble ) Kerian volunteered to be the crash Test Dummy for this, it was a double edge sword for him however as it meant he was able to attempt a depth of 70m to see how he felt, of course as he was going down with the plate, and being hoisted back up again, it meant that he physically didn't need to do any work. The test was successful, and for Kerian it meant he safely descended to 70m, which of course means he wants to go even deeper now because it felt so comfortable and easy.

Kerian, William and Dave are having a rest day today, and there are 4 athletes that are aiming for National records.

Fran and I have spent what little time we have between judging duties exploring the local shopping, there are only 6 shops in our local area ( ie 50k stretch of road), 2 of them grocery stores, one a bottle store, and 3 of them interesting nik nak shops, what is puzzling is that most stores, even the dive shop, have an unusual amount of Avon products on their counter tops – today we were at the local telco and the Avon lady turned up there with a big smile and lots of product. Despite the baron roads, the houses in ruin's, and the potholes ( some of them you could loose a whole car down i am sure!!) and the lack of development, tI am sure that here is more Avon per head here of population, than there is back home!