Scuba diving is among the most dangerous, high-stakes sports in the world. But, if it just isn’t extreme enough, you might want to check out freediving. The sport is one of the fast-growing in the world, but knowing how and where to do it safely requires professional training.
At its core, freediving is about exploring as much of the ocean as one can on a single breath of air. Divers rely on their breath-holding capability, physical fitness, understanding of dive theory, and little to no gear, save for a mask and pair of purpose-designed freediving fins. Stripped of traditional, cumbersome scuba gear, it provides for unparalleled speed, freedom of movement, and for divers, to get far closer to the marine life. While one breath of air may not seem like adequate time to explore much of anything, new divers often realize that, after just a weekend of training, they’re able to hold their breath for 90 seconds or more.
Freediving schools dot the globe, but only recently have liveaboard freediving tours — trips that involve staying at sea for an extended period — gained popularity. While most liveaboards tend to be rather uninspired and cookie-cutter, Extraordinary Journeys is a decidedly different provider. The mother-daughter team behind the scenes has more than 60 years of combined experience running bespoke travel itineraries to the world’s most exotic, truly off-the-beaten-path destinations. Every one of their trips — including destinations like Jordan, Nepal, and Seychelles — is unique and their latest offering is no different.
They’ve partnered with I AM WATER Ocean Travel, a world leader in the sport of freediving, to provide one-of-a-kind marine expeditions. On each journey, new divers are introduced to the theory behind the sport, including general safety in the water, breath-holding basics, equalization, and finning techniques. From there, classes take to the water to practice and strengthen the students’ underwater skills. Each of the three, all-new trips will take passengers to an exclusive destination including:
- Cape Town: Home to stunning underwater kelp forests, plus African penguins and some of the greatest shark diving in the world, including Mako, sevengill, and blue sharks.
- Baja California: Highlights of this La Paz-based journey include spotting sea lions, massive schools of jackfish, whale sharks, and centuries-old shipwrecks.
- Southern Mozambique: Amid the tropical waters of the Indian Ocean, divers can swim with manta rays, dolphins, green turtles, and whale sharks.
After each day of freediving, passengers will find a host of topside activities as well. Destination-specific adventure and cultural excursions include bodysurfing in Baja, trekking Table Mountain in Cape Town, and beach hikes in Mozambique.
If you love the water but have just never committed to a proper dive certification, learning freediving is a great — arguably better — alternative. Or, for certified divers, the skills learned with Extraordinary Journeys/I AM WATER can help bolster your existing skillset and overall confidence in the water.
All images courtesy of I AM WATER/Peter Marshall, Annelie Pompe, Edwar Herreno