Dancing with Sharks literally.
The convulsions were becoming more constant … “2 min 30 seconds check” … a deep voice in the background and a poke on my shoulder. Almost by instinct my hand goes out and signals…OK. My diaphragm is punishing me as I push further… “it’s the carbon dioxide…ignore it…push through…” I hear the voice again and it pounds in my head as I feel my arms and legs tingle and my diaphragm pulsing begin to slow. “TIME”, I lift my head as I hear Stephanie say “BREATH” and count 1…2…3… I had done it…static breath hold of 3 minutes. Stephanie is beaming and gives me a high five.
I have been scuba diving for 8 years and have hundreds of dives from sunny coast of California to remote islands of Papua New Guinea. It has always been fun and exciting, but the time when I feel the most at one with the ocean is when I shed my tank, throw on my mask and fins and dive beneath the surface into the silent but dynamic world on just one breathe.
For years, I have spent countless hours eye to eye with myriads of species as I silently cruise along after a duck dive, a pull with my arms and a few kicks driving me downward. But those beautiful moments are always ended within 30 seconds by my body saying, “breath dummy!” This reflex sends me propelling to the surface with remorse that I cannot spend more time with my marine friends below. I have long thought about getting formally trained in freediving to increase my bottom time and learn the safety aspects about of the art and sport of freediving, but never pursued it. That all changed the day I received an email from filmmaker and conservationist Shawn Heinrichs with a video attachment labeled, “Tigress Shark- Woman Dances with Tiger