We both completed a 2-day freediving course for beginners in Bali in summer 2020. It was an absolutely new experience for us, we fell in love with this very special sport and the philosophy behind it! We really wanted to continue the training, and Egypt turned out to be a perfect destination for that!
Egypt is a perfect destination for divers!
- The underwater world in the Red Sea is fascinating and very diverse!
- In Egypt you can swim and dive in the sea every 12 months of the year!
- There are many inexpensive (also direct) flights from Europe to Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada.
- Short flight time.
- Egypt is one of the few countries that are now open to tourism during the "corona time".
What is freediving?
Freediving is still called apnea diving. In this sport you dive into the oceans without oxygen bottles or other aids! You only have to rely on your own lungs!
I find that fascinating and also very practical. If you fall overboard somewhere, you probably don't have an oxygen bottle with you. With the freediving skills you have more chances to survive.
Do you need a visa for Egypt?
Owners of an EU passport (also visitors from Russia, Ukraine and many other countries) do not need to apply for a visa in advance, they get an entry stamp upon entry (usually for 30 days, for some passports up to 90 days). This stamp used to cost 30 USD. It is free now in 2020-2021. This stamp can be extended for another month free of charge (depends on the passport).
Photo: Marco Nones, the founder of the Only One Apnea Center, Sharm el Sheikh
The origin of freediving
I thought freediving is a modern sport! But not, it is very old! Archaeological finds prove that humans have been freediving since around 4500 BC! They earned their living with apnea diving! The first freediver were Haenyo people in Korea and divers in Japan. They dived into the depths holding the breath, collected food, mussels and sponges from the sea. In ancient Greece the freedivers helped the military to attack Sicily - they had to break through underwater barriers so that the Greek fleet could get through undamaged.
Photo: Great fun before the freediving course, Only One Apnea Center, Sharm el Sheikh
Only One Apnea Center, Sharm el Sheikh
We chose the Only One Apnea Center because:
- This freediving school offers individual lessons - adapted to the needs of the students and their goals. (other schools only offer courses according to certificates such as AIDA / PADI Level 1, 2, 3.)
- This is the oldest freediving school in Sharm el Sheikh! Marco Nones, the founder and the owner of Only One Apnea Center, was the first person who started teaching freediving in Sharm el Sheikh in 2007. During this time he trained a lot of freedivers (from beginners to professionals) and organized various international freediving competitions and championships.
- The Freediving Center is located in the Reef Oasis Resort right on the beach. The trainings take place in the beautiful coral reef right in front of the door.
- The freediving school is run by a European (Marco Nones from Italy), which means - we have similar expectations about safety, hygiene and service.
Photo: With Marco Nones, the founder and one of the trainers in the freediving school
From the small pier (right side in the picture) we jumped into the Red Sea and landed in our "classroom" in a beautiful coral reef!
Can I learn freediving in Europe?
Yes! The Only One Apnea Center has another location in Italy. On the beautiful Tremiti Islands.
Photo: learning one of the most famous ear equalization techniques - the Frenzel method.
We booked a 5-day course for both of us.
• We had about 4 hours of training every day: theory and dry exercises (on land by swimming pool in the resort) and a practical part in the sea.
• We learned a lot about our body and understood the internal processes that are very important for freediving.
• We did different breathing exercises every day. With the right breathing techniques, you use less oxygen, produce less CO2 and save energy.
• We learned different methods of ear equalization. This is very important - without mastering the ear equalization, you cannot dive deep.
• We learned techniques to control our bodies. Also the parts of the body that were previously considered to be uncontrollable for me - the diaphragm, the glottis, the soft palate ... Fascinating how great a human body can perform if one work on it consciously!
Foto: Federica, our second trainer, has her breathing under control. She already dived over 100 meters deep ... using her lungs capacity only!
Photo: With our teacher Federica. Trying to get into the tight wetsuits, what is not easy! This is only possible with some soap! The wetsuits should be as tight as possible so that no water collects between the skin and the fabric. So the body stays warm.
Anna is learning things super quickly and had great results on the first day! For me it took longer - I was distracted by colorful fishes around me;)
Self-control and relaxation are extremely important for freediving. We practiced various techniques for relaxation, for pulse reduction and stress control. And we got homework every day! Marco and Federica take it very seriously, they want to see progress!
Photo: A meeting after a good dive.
This is how training in the water looks like. I kept the original sound in the video, so you can hear and feel the pressure of the water ... When I see this video, I automatically hold my breath because of solidarity!
What is important in freediving?
- Relaxation. There are certain exercises and techniques for freedivers for this purpose.
- Control over your body.
- Ear equalization. There are several methods, the most popular is the Frenzel method.
- Correct diving techniques.
- Self-control. The ability to overcome stress.
I am often asked why we are doing this? And why do we take such a risk ?
I see it totally different. For my daughter who is going to sail around the world one day, this course is a must! And I see it as my parental duty to give her a possibility to get the knowledge and to learn things that can save her life in the future.
• She should feel safe in the water.
• She should be able to control her breath and her body.
• She should know how to move properly and be able to use less O2 and to produce less CO2.
• She should be able to control her mind and not allow panic.
• She should trust herself.
Many people think one needs big lungs to become a good freediver. And a person with a large lung can stay longer under water and can go deeper. Our teacher Marco Nones explains in this video why this is not true.
Video: An interview with Marco Nones, our trainer and the head of the Only One Apnea Center
My Anna dived 21 meters deep during the training! With one breath only! 1.5 minutes under water! We all are so proud and happy! This great result exceeded our expectations! Marco and Federica showed us a new world and made a huge contribution to our confidence not only in the water, but also in our daily life. Now we know - we can do much more than we think! Even unbelievable things are possible! Thanks to our dearest teachers Marco and Federica!
Anna started to save the money for the next training! She is going to go to the next level!
The Only One Apnea Center has two locations. Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt in winter and Italy (Tremiti Islands) in summer. Both locations are offering tailor-made courses for every level, from an absolute beginner to a professional freediver.
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