I have always thought of myself of having an adventurous spirit, but I’m also not much of a risk-taker. Sure, I’m all about discovering and trying new things, but I’d say I always err on the side of caution.
Freediving? Oh, like a glorified snorkeler? What do you think of when you hear “freediving?” It does sound dangerous as much as it sounds super cool, but if you learn more about it and actually do it, it’s the most calming and gratifying thing you will ever do.
WHAT IS FREEDIVING?
In its most basic definition, freediving is essentially diving underwater with just holding your breath. No tanks, but just fins, mask, a snorkel. Now, we’re not talking about holding your breath for a few seconds and diving down a couple of feet. We’re talking about 30+ feet and being able to hold your breath for at least 1.30 minutes.
FREEDIVING VS. SCUBA VS. SNORKELING
Freediving, scuba, and even snorkeling all have different disciplines. I wouldn’t say one is better than the other mainly because all three have different experiences. With scuba, you can enjoy longer periods of time underwater and enjoy the surrounding environment. Snorkeling is just staying mainly at the surface of the water and enjoying being immersed in the water while observing life from above. Freediving, as the name suggests, can move “freely” underwater without the hassle of heavy tanks, but go the depths compared to snorkeling.
PROS of FREEDIVING
Freediving is a great way to challenge your body and mind. It’s not something where once you learn how to do the basics, then you’re set. There’s always room for a challenge: going the depths, breatholds, and even just discovering your inner self. As far as the underwater experience goes, freediving definitely has the advantage of immersing themselves and being part of underwater life. Bubbles from scuba can scare-off marine life, whereas with freediving, you can easily swim and be part alongside the life underwater. Freedivers are also more agile underwater because of the lack of gear. They are able to swim through small spaces and explore in detail. Along with that, freedivers don’t need to worry about decompression sickness because of the elimination of the mixed gases from what you get in a scuba tank.
CONS of FREEDIVING
I wouldn’t say there are a lot of cons with freediving, but like I have mentioned before, it really all depends the type of experience you want. Unless you can hold your breath underwater for an hour, then scuba would be the best to experience the world beneath. Also, the colors you see underwater isn’t as vibrant compared to scuba, because with freediving, you are not underwater long enough for your eyes to adjust.
Texas isn’t exactly the place you would think of when you think of doing any diving, certainly not San Antonio. Luckily, I was able to find a trainer near Austin who is a PADI certified instructor. I received by PADI Freediver Certification through Freediving Texas with Phil, and I have to say, it was one of the best decisions I’ve made. I had plans in 2019 to sign up for the course in 2020 before my Philippines trip, but everything got put on hold because of The Pandemic. Fortunately, Freediving Texas finally opened up classes but, of course, had minimal availability to keep classes small for social distancing. I’ll talk more about my class in another blog and the requirements for certification, so stay tuned!
Once I received my certification, I was itching to dive. I immediately reached out to one of my classmates (turned dive bestie/buddy) to test out our new skill. Our favorite place to go to is Overlook Park at Canyon Lake. It actually is a popular dive site because of the depth and the steep limestone wall that just drops to well over 100ft. It apparently is one of the “clearest” waters in Texas, but I don’t quite agree with that. We’ve been there a few times and it really does depend on the day/time/year. Overall though, I am not going to complain. It is a beautiful place and a fun place to dive.
Another place we’ve been to was Windy Point Park. It’s where I did my open-water training for Freediving. It’s actually a popular site in Austin for diving. Infact, it was primarily for divers only, but since the pandemic, the owners opened it up to the public for camping, bbq-ing, recreational, etc.
One of my last dives of the year was by far the most beautiful. The Headwaters at Frio River is super clear, but really cold. I believe the water temperature on my dive watch read somewhere in the 50s. While underwater, it looked like you were swimming through an underwater canyon. There was a good amount of marine life, but most of all, just the underwater landscape was an experience in itself. Above water was also a sight to behold! The vibrant colors and virtually secluded in this area of land made the experience even more worthwhile since we were the only ones there! This place however is located on private property, but one of the divers we were with was able to gain access. You can check his beautiful underwater pictures on his Instagram and subscibe to his youtube channel for awesome dive sites and treasure hunting in Texas.
More on these dive sites coming soon, so don’t forget to subscribe to my blog!
Do you love exploring underwater? Do you scuba, freedive, or snorkel? Let me know your experience or if you have any questions about freediving in the comments below!