Monday, 7 September 2009

Triple Depth

Dahab, Egypt

4-7 September 2009

Day one of competition was the static competition. We had to change pools from the scheduled one as it had been used to wash camels which had been relieving themselves in it and was no longer considered sanitary. It suited me as it was closer to my apartment so I didn't have to walk so far in the hot hot sun!

I struggled to get my suit on in the heat and it was great to get into the water. I felt like pulling out the whole way but thought I'd better at least do my announced performance of 5:11. It was a painful dive with first contraction at about 3:10. There was no contrast on the bottom of the pool so I needed to put something down there as I couldn't see if my eyes were fuzzy or not. I guess we live and learn. I aborted at 5:25, which was enough to be the first woman and save some energy for the three days of deep diving. There werre some scientists doing tests on us and the pulse oxymeter was reading 98% again about 1 minute after I completed my dive.

Too many people wimped out of the static even only wanting to participate in depth, and didn't even come and support us in true freediver fashion, so it was a bit of a sad small crowd. A few were sick, so we'll let them off.

I have joined a team with Jana and Alexey. After much brainstorming we came up with a team name that we're very proud of: Sexy flexy mula bandha.

Yesterday was Free Immersion. I announced 58m to set a new national record. The 50m dive I'd done in training a few days before had been really comfortable, and I figured if I was going to announce around the mid 50s anyway I may as well try a little more and set a new record. The dive was relaxed and easy for me. I actually quite enjoyed it! I felt the pressure change a little beyond 50m but could still equalise OK. The hole is beautiful to dive in. The edge is close and you can watch it on the way down. There is light all the way and the temperature is comfortable even without a wetsuit. I haven't seen the arch yet, I think I was facing the wrong way.

I'm feeling a bit sorry for myself today. It started last night. There was a beautiful full moon shining in the cloudless desert sky over Dahab. I had a really sore stomach from allowing myself to get really hungry due to our late competition meeting, then eating too much too fast. On the way home I was offered a 25 Egyptian pound, one hour, in home massage by the dodgey dairy owner. Patti was a little upset because he offered the same to her a few minutes later for 50 pounds. Then while walking between the dairy and home a car came towards me down the road and blinded me with it's headlights for a moment and I kicked a big rock really hard (there are random rocks on the road everywhere). My left big toe nail cracked about a third of the way down the nail and bled a bit. I washed the dirt off it with nice brown bacteria filled tap water and then put iodine on it and tried to ignore it. It actually wasn't too bad while I was diving in my monofin today – it just put pressure on the top of the broken nail which is still attached. I'd also visualised it not annoying me, so blocked it from my mind. I later caught it on the hem of my pants while dressing, which ripped it open again. Later still, during my shower I narrowly escaped further excruciating pain when the shower rose decided to fall from it's wall bracket to the precise point on the floor that my damaged toe had been located just a split second earlier.

Before my dive I couldn't get my nose clip to close properly and I ended up leaving the surface at the last possible moment and blowing bubbles all the way down, then was starting to have equalisation issues (though essentially everything was still working when I turned). I couldn't relax so pulled out at 56m to avoid damaging myself. It was also only my third time doing any depth work with my monofin – we haven't really adjusted sufficiently as yet. I think my team mates are a bit upset with my yellow card, but they have been pushing me to go deeper than I feel comfortable with at this stage. The new national record yesterday was nice though and pretty easy but I felt some fluid in my lungs after it, however didn't spit any blood. I wonder if I have felt this regularly before and just didn't recognise what was happening. My O2 saturation after was a little lower than normal about half an hour later which would indicate a minor lung squeeze. I definitely need more time to adapt to the depth. I put in my nomination today before the team mates could talk me into going deeper. I'll do a 46m no fins dive tomorrow, which I feel mentally and physically comfortable with despite having only done a couple of no fins duck dives (deepest to 28m) since I arrived. When I completed my dive today I realised that my new D4 dive computer that I just won at the world champs is already stuffed. It thought I was still diving 30 minutes later and that it was 55 degrees celcius. It was hot but not that hot! I was wondering about it the other day when it said that it was 27 degrees on the surface and 19 at 50m. I'm fairly certain I would have noticed an 8 degree temperature change while diving wearing only my togs. Hopefully the other one is not faulty too.

On a better note, I feel very relaxed about this competition. I don't feel any pressure to perform or nervousness about the dives. It feels so trivial after the world champs. It's really just a part of my training as I haven't really done enough depth training to justify competing anyway. I have been sleeping particularly well since the bedroom fan arrived (had a couple of hellishly hot nights with very little sleep thanks to one lazy landlord). Until today I've actually felt very comfortable in all my dives and haven't suffered from the usual level of panic state at depth. The water is warm and I think I've finally fallen into relaxed holiday mode.