Lubomir Stefanoff | freediving and UW photography

First time to Thassos and new PB

by on May.25, 2009, under Freediving

Mitko with octopusI had not planned another freediving trip this month, but when Ceco and Mitko suggested going to Thassos I didn’t hesitate too much. We arrived on Thursday and spent 3 days on the island. The other guys knew the good places and we had the chance to visit them with the boat.

We arrived on Thursday in the afternoon and immediately went into the water. I dived with Mitko at shallower dephts, exploring the marine life.  The visibility was good but I didn’t take any pictures…just made some videos of Mitko passing through an arch and doing funny things while surfacing. Mitko had not slept well the previous night and went to the shore with the camera…OctopusHalf an hour later, when I headed for the shore I noticed a small octopus on the sandy bottom. As I touched him, he tried to escape and released lots of ink, but I managed to catch him gently and bring it to the shore (my camera was there). We took some pictures and returned the octopus to the sea – he was very scared by that time.  I’ll remember this encounter because it was the first time I managed to take pictures of these creatures :-) .

On the other day we visited a few dive sites with the boat.  Again I was diving with Mitko but this time we set up a line and did some repetitive dives. After a short warm-up I did several 30 m CW dives and then went to the bottom at 33 m – that was a new personal best for me. The dive felt great  – I was relaxed, equalizing easily and freefalling straight down the rope. I felt that if I had not hit the bottom I could have gone deeper, but I was pleased with 33 meters and decided to try 35 m on the next day.

On Saturday we went to a small island, but there were some currents and we moved to another site where we saw a lot of fish. It wasn’t deep enough to set up a line for constant weight dives, so I just tried  to relax and equalize with the techniques that I’d been learning recently.  I also did several dives to 15-17 m withought a weighbelt – a good exercise for practicing the duck dive (wearing a full 7 mm wetsuit with thick socks and gloves).  Later we went to the rocks near the monastery and finally set up the line for constant weight dives.  After several dives I tried 35 meters . I went down, equlizing easily, at 25 m I felt the thermocline, then heard the dive alarm at 30 and soon I even passed the end of the rope. I looked at my divewatch and saw 35.8 m – a new personal best! I headed up and felt relaxed – at 10 m my buddy was waiting for me – and I surfaced feeling great, with more air in me. I was happy not because of the PB, but of the whole dive – it was one of the greatest dives I’ve ever made! Big thanks to Mitko – he was safetying me (perfect timing!) in a way that made me feel more relaxed. I’m  sure that I’ll reach 40 meters soon – I even thought about doing that on the same day, but it’s better to progress gradually and focus on feeling good.

So, in June I’ll do more dives below 30 meters and if I have the chance to dive more often – I’ll attempt 40 m. After the last few days of diving, I’m convinced I can do that…

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