Sitting on my bottom and doing very little over the last 11 days has been wonderful…but at the same time with each passing day, I feel myself growing softer. I know it’s good for my yin, but I keep hearing Sifu’s voice from the Shaolin school calling me “soft like the noodles.” He is right…life here on Koh Lanta is perfect right now, but a very important ingredient of vagabonding is missing:
As I was taking my usual stroll on the beach today, picking up shells, and scorching my back because I am too shy to ask someone to rub lotion on it (what a bad pickup line!) I walked past a sign inside one of the dive shops that made me freeze in my tracks:
Freediving Introductory Course
Hmmmm…I stood at a safety crossroads, the one where the logical part of your brain puts the brakes on and says “no way, are you crazy?” and some little devil inside your head gives you what you need to overcome that initial barrier to new adventures. More times then not, the little devil proves to be correct, so it is always worth a chance.
In the last 10 years, I have found some exciting and creative new ways to stress my poor parents out…skydiving, bungee jumping, underwater caving, scuba diving, solo rock climbing, cliff diving…anything that I can afford that provides a good workout for my adrenal glands and makes me appreciate breakfast the following day just a little more.
When I saw the sign, I could almost feel my heart craving that precious chemical of life like a junkie craves his next white line.
2500Baht (US $75) later, and I am now committed to a dive tomorrow morning at 0-dark-30. Freediving is just like scuba diving…you get up way too damn early, hop on a boat with the other divers, wear a wetsuit, etc, but there is one very crucial difference…
You don’t take air!
Freediving is the rock climbing equivalent of free-solo climbing, when you use no equipment or protection. Professional freedivers can hold their breath upwards of five minutes and can go to 60+ meters…twice as much as a “deep” dive in scuba. I shudder to even think about it. They manage to slow their heartbeats to a near coma-like state which uses very little oxygen. When they emerge, they are relaxed and focused, much like they just finished an hour of meditation!
It sounds absolutely amazing, and I know that I will be lucky to even make 15 meters (50 feet), but that is my personal goal. Although drowning is an option, freediving is not really dangerous, you just have to know your limits, pay attention to your gut, and listen to your training…much like the Army.
I will check in tomorrow with the results of my first experience. Damn it feels good to be alive!
Oh yeah…and life is good.