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Freediver in lake Hemmoor, Germany, by Joost van Uffelen

Training for the deep

Usually my dives on one breath are not deeper than 15 meter. 

I encounter most of the big marine life that I photograph in that region.

There have been cases however that I regretted to not be able to dive deeper comfortably and safely.

That's why I decided to attend the the deep dive specialty of Enker freedive experts.

We trained in the Kreidesee in Hemmoor, Germany. The Kreidesee is a former cement quarry near Hamburg.

The quarry filled up with clear water soon after the pumps stopped in 1976.

Nowadays the lake has a maximum depth of 60m and is a recreational dive location with visibility exceeding 15 meters at times.

The lake is popular with tecdivers that like the depth and clear waters for their trainings.

In the middle of the lake is a permanent dive pontoon for freedivers as well.

The pontoon has a permanent rope installation too, which comes in pretty handy, especially when you don't have your own freedive buoy.

I dusted off lots of skills with the help of Nanja, Kees and Judith, which was not so easy in the least.

Dislearning some things and learning new stuff showed me that there is still a lot of work to be done.

The duckdive, mouthfill, frenzel equalization and freefall were all on the menu. 

Quite a lot to focus on simultaneously for someone that usually is pretty messy when it comes to his freediving techniques.

Most difficult I think was the Functional Residual Capacity (aka FRC) dive, where we dove without taking a deep breath before the dive.

Practically it feels like as if you dive without air, although there always is air in our lungs (the functional residual capacity)

With this exercise we simulated the shrinking of our long volume at depth.

I could not resist to bring my camera to Germany too.

The lake is really clear and the shallows were brimming with life.

Also, lots of objects have deliberately been scuttled in the lake for training purposes.

A sailing boat rests in 13 meters with its sails up "Pirates of the Caribbean style".

Strangely an airplane hangs in mid "water" at 15 meters of depth, which makes for a very weird spectacle!

Did you spot it also in the drone image earlier in this post?

It's quite a lot of fun to come and say hi to the "techies" at 15 meters. Mostly you get some very surprised faces!

Other objects remind us of the old days when the quarry was still operational like the sunken forrest and the old road to the pulverizer which can be found at 20 meters.

Next to the pulverizer (where the krijt was pulverized to cement) a big Mercedes truck sits in 20m as if it has just discharged its cargo into the pulverizer.

One of the students of our class brought another toy, an underwater scooter.

We had seen many tecdivers use these machines through the days, but when put in the hands of a freediver it really shows its speed.

It came in pretty handy to transport the train of freedivers including buoy to the platform in the morning. :-)

Later in the afternoon we could discover the sunken forrest.

The forrest makes for a nice moody place to freedive in.

Scooter-Elke zipped passed us and through the sunken forrest almost silently and definitely effortless with the scooter.

So what's next? Some training to keep practicing the new stuff and maintaining the things I was able to already.

And then its soon time to move onto new adventures!


joostvanuffelen's picture
About the Author:
Joost loves the oceans, travelling and (underwater)photography. Combining those three elements he creates ocean art, travel reports and ocean photo stories...

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