Learning to fly: Day 4.

Day one of the SSI level 2 course today. Was up in time for the sunrise again today. Ended up having a chat with an Aussie who is looking for a place to retire to. He was considering Gili Air, because Gili T has become too commercial. He was an interesting individual. Upon his departure, a cat appeared to chase the sand crabs along the waterline. There is no motorised transport on Gili T: only feet, bicycle, and horse and cart. There are also not pets on the island other than cats. As somebody allergic to these fiends, and very much a dog person, this is somewhat disconcerting.

Cats. Typical scene outside the office at Freedive Gili
Cats. Typical scene outside the office at Freedive Gili

After breakfast, we all assembled for the course. What a bunch of characters! We had a yogi/nurse who is training to become a freediving instructor, an ex-saturation diver, a lovely young Frenchman who is terrified of water, two SCUBA diving/rock-climbing Aussies from Perth, and me. We had the lovely Canuck-kiwi Kate as our course instructor, and I was stoked to meet her: she’s off to the AIDA world’s depth competition in September as part of the kiwi contingent.
We started with some yoga and breathing theory – the four step breath, the hook breath, and equalisation. Then it was lunch, a recap, and we were off to one of the spots to the north of Gili Meno. I was in a full 3mm suit. It was 36 in the sun and 29 in the water. Tomorrow, I will wear one of their short suits. I died of heat. I managed 13m FIM on a first attempt ever (not great, but not bad) – I found it very disconcerting to be diving without being attached to line. Maybe it’s just what I’ve been used to, on the few dives in the cold Wellington harbour and practically zero vis. My duck dives were spot on (hooray), but my buoyancy beyond 10m was a bit iffy, and after about 45 min in the water, my right ear started to get gluggy, and my god, the headache… I stripped off the suit when we got back in the boat, and immediately started to feel better, go figure.

These are workhorses in the most traditional sense.
These are workhorses in the most traditional sense.

It’s statics tomorrow morning, and we’re not allowed to eat until we’ve finished that section of the course. So I’m going to do something about a massage and maybe some Italian from one of the restaurants down the main stretch of town after yoga. It’s hatha tonight, and the Imam has announced that Ramadan will begin at sunset. This is going to be interesting…

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