I dabble in scuba diving… at least, as much as one can dabble in something so parlous. Uncle Rick, who lives on a sprawling white beach in Florida, usually takes me out during the summers to kick around some coral or find stalk-eyed lobsters hiding under rocks. Together, we’re known as the Thrill-Seeking Havers—those who sneak off under the cover of darkness to casinos, launch bottle rockets from the beds of speeding trucks, and dip under the water with air tanks and spear guns, just in case of sharks. I’m always amazed at the way Rick freedives to verify the “Fishfinder”—a GPS that notifies us of a looming, moving presence just underneath the boat—by jumping in, feet first, and disappearing for what feel like stretching minutes. I’ve tried it myself, and have only made it a few meters before the cold, dark and, well… inability to breathe had me clawing my way back to the surface.
So, I was particularly impressed by this video of the world’s deepest freedive, which managed to capture the feeling perfectly:
This is the visual poem of William Trubridge’s world record freedive to 100 meters (one hectometer, basically one football field length and back) in order to bring light to the plight of the world’s smallest cetacean, the Hector’s Dolphin of New Zealand. With one breath of air and diving without weights, fins or any propulsive assistance, William descended to 101 meters in the waters of Dean’s Blue Hole, Bahamas, the deepest blue hole in the world.
This short documentary of the record attempts to transmit what it is like to freedive deep beneath the surface, and how we can return to explore our potential as an aquatic mammal in the search to help our endangered cousins of the seas.
Watch it here: