Freediving is a sport which lends itself to incredible vistas – unsurprising considering it involves exploring the cool blue ocean. An exhilarating sport at the best of times, these five incredible locations elevate the beauty and experience to another level.
Freediving is a sport that must be undertaken under the strictest of safety precautions, but exploring the depths around the Mexican off-shore oilrigs is a feat that is best reserved for true professionals of the sport. Danger is inherent, but the rewards are simply stunning.
First and foremost it is the unlikeliness of it all which attracts freedivers from all around the world to the Mexican rigs, but then there is also the fact that these man-made structures attract a wide variety of sea life which makes the rewards even greater. This phenomenon occurs because sea life seeks shelter from predators, but then this attracts the predators themselves, and so a whole new ecosystem is created right there. That is exactly what happens with the multitude of support beams which of course are required to elevate these rigs out of the ocean – they also make it incredibly dangerous for freedivers, and so does the fact that they are often located a good distance offshore in the open sea. And one of the biggest attractions is the spearfishing which is available to divers, adding an extra dimension to the experience. And then there are the sharks too! This is one for thrill seekers of the highest order, and obviously requires a fair element of logistical planning in order to access the sites.
Speaking of logistical nightmares, the oil rigs of Mexico are a veritable walk in the park compared to accessing the freezing waters of Antarctica, but if you can find a way, then you will be able to experience one of the most mesmerizing freedive paradises found anywhere on our planet. For those brave enough to delve into those icy waters (and of course the right equipment is needed here), then an underwater dreams cape awaits as you can access under the icebergs and experience sea life varieties which are not found in many places. Then there is the large animal life to boot in the shape of penguins, seals, killer whales and even whales of larger varieties. The possibilities are almost limitless, and is truly one for the most dedicated and adventurous of freedivers.
Here the water will be a little warmer, but the extremes are no less significant. Dean’s is the deepest blue hole found anywhere on earth, and it where record-breaking freedivers come to compete. The hole plummets to depths of an incredible 202 meters (663 feet). The fames William Trubridge himself has set many records at this very spot, and runs freediving courses in this very spot, as well as the Suunto Vertical Blue contest.
“Unsurprisingly, the fame of Dean’s exceeds itself, and it may get pretty crowded due to its accessibility, but the waters are warm, and the very name of it creates great excitement among the freediving community,” says Tim Lowden, a freediving instructor at ResearchPapersUK and DraftBeyond.
We get ever warmer in our search for freediving thrills as now we head for the Maldives, where the water temperature stays at a modest mid-eighties (Fahrenheit) nearly all year round, which makes it 12-month accessible. The sea life here is exotic in the extreme, and the colors and varieties will leave you breathless.
“There are shipwrecks aplenty at Baa too, adding to the offerings as the location provides the kind of picture book freediving experiences that you probably got involved for in the first place,” enthuses Sandy Weston, a travel researcher at Writinity and LastMinuteWriting.
Located off the stunning Italian coast, Elba offers intrepid divers another color-filled experience which are likely to trigger memories of why you got involved in the first place. If you are new to the sport, then this is also a great option too as the rewards are stunning but the accessibility and danger involved is on the easier end of the scale due to the fact that depths are only at about 20 meters or so. The water temperatures are great for most of the year too, while the rich sea life is a great reward for those who make the trip.