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Underwater Photos

September 1, 2014

mark10103 as Smart Object-1

From March through July I took time off to pursue a longtime interest to learn how to freedive in the waters of the Red Sea off the coast of Dahab, Egypt. If you don’t know, freediving is a magical sport that allows you to reach what first must surely be thought of as impossible depths of the ocean and the mind. (Health and Spirituality Magazine has a terrific overview of the physiological and mental aspects here.)

In my own case, I learned how to far better manage fear and to better trust myself. The body flexibility required also led me to break up a lot of scar tissue in my back from an autoimmune disorder I’ve managed for the past 8 years. Frankly, I’ve never felt healthier or more relaxed, and that’s saying something when you’ve just started a PhD program.

I also ultimately ended up posting some impressive depths for a complete noob. My greatest depth was 47 meters/154 feet and I reached that with bi-fins. But the dive I’m most proud of was a “no fins” dive (exactly what it sounds like) of just under two minutes down to 42 meters/144 feet during a competition in a rather chilly lake in southern Germany.

Will I keep up the freediving? Well, certainly for vacations, but it now looks like I’ll be entering “early retirement” from the competitions. My new home of Michigan isn’t exactly the best place to train. I’ll always have the memories though…oh…and of course I’ll also have the very cool photos taken by my friend and underwater photographer, Nanna Kreutzmann. It was not an easy photo session, but I am really happy with the results.

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