we've got to pass the pebbles!
Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path and you will find you have crossed the mountain.
Our Ambassador, record holder and lover of the deep blue is returning from the Freediving World Championships. She's under the impression that it didn't go as well as it could've, we're under the impression that this trip was more like a bunch of pebbles she needed to pass and that her mountain is still very much in view.
A heart felt email from her is below, we don't care how you look at it Ms H - we couldn't be more proud of you!
Today is the last day of the Freediving World Championships in Greece 2011. As you know from my last email, I did not compete on the 19th for the no-fins category. The current world record holder Natalia from Russia attempted to better her record of 62, but got disqualified after pulling twice on the rope at the bottom when turning. Two other girls failed their deep dives, and the gold medal went to a lovely young Czech girl who did a 56 meter dive… the same depth I did over three weeks ago in training. So close… But without health, everything is out of reach.
The day after the CNF competition I went back out into the blue to try for a deep dive with my monofin, to see whether not using my arms affects how my lungs and throat reacts at depths, and whether I could still do a National Record. After a gentle easy warm up dive I still had a cough attack and blood flecks. It takes long to heal when you expect ultimate performances from your body. I discussed my situation with a freediving doctor, and he recommended I stay away from depth for at least two weeks to let my injured trachea heal… and to not incur permanent damage. After the amount of dives I’ve done, tried my hardest to heal and be on top, and hurting myself… I was ready to heed his advice. I decided not to do the Constant Weight with Monofin or Free Immersion pulling down and back up the rope disciplines. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to accept… I feel so ready. I am so in love with that feeling at depth, I have no fear, only joy in the water and at depth. I want to be there more than anything… But I don’t want to risk not ever being able to dive deep again. So my decision was made, no more deep diving this time.
I have spent the last two competition days coaching friends and assisting others. I enjoy seeing people reach their goals and surpass their expectations. My own disappointment and sadness comes in waves, washing over me I feel my legs grow heavy and my stomach churn and I want to sit down and cry for the beautiful dives I didn’t get to do. A few times I have done just that. But every time I look up and out to sea and remember why I do this. The records, the depths and the achievements do have value and I plan to return to them, but the knowledge of my potential in water, my joy in submersion and my dedication to this big blue world is far greater and carries me over the waves of disappointment. Depth and I have unfinished business, and I will look her up when the time is right!
Where to from here?
On Monday we fly back to Tel Aviv and I take the dusty road south to Dahab, a couple of days with Sara and then home. I land in Cape Town on the 1st of October. I am excited to be coming home.
The rest of 2011 will be very oceanic for me. I have already set dates for upcoming courses and the projects for the I Am Water Trust are picking up momentum- teaching PDI courses, continuing with our fight for more Marine Protected Areas and less shark nets. My Belgian photographer friend Jean Marie Ghislain has come with a very exciting proposal, a book and documentary series where I freedive with large marine creatures around the world, and October I will be ten days in the Maldives with Manta Rays and Whalesharks, November in Southern Red Sea with the Oceanic White Tip Sharks, and further plans for Great Whites in Guadeloupe in a few months.
And depth? I want to start diving deep in Cape Town. Every 2nd or 3rd week I want to head out to sea, find depth, drop a rope and dive below 60. Then 70. And more. I want to do strong dives where it is not dead still and aqua blue. I want to do deep south deep dives!
The no fins world record is still very much on my mind, and I am making plans to have another go at it before the end of this year or early 2012.
I will keep you posted on all these coming plans, I have never had this much support when attempting deep dives or competing, and it has been incredible, in so many ways. I wish I was bringing home more tangible results, but I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for making this journey possible for me. The results in learning, growth and motivation are immeasurable and I would never have achieved these without you.
I plan to have an evening of feta cheese and olives, images and storytelling soon, I will let you know when and hope you can make it!
We can't wait Ms Hanli, we can't wait ;)