A Night Diving Adventure 🤩

So far this has been an interesting year. Downs and ups and a lot of insecurity.

Luckily my girlfriend and I managed to squeeze in an actual holiday abroad. It is our last holiday with just the two of us, since we are expecting a child somewhere early November. After we’ll always have a third wheel 😉

So there were multiple reasons why we craved for a holiday, and all other previous plans had been cancelled this year due to Covid-19. Not to mention we had been working quite hard from home, which comes with challenges of its own.

At that time Greece was still considered to be code yellow – luckily we didn’t book anything to Spain… – but with mandatory PCR-test with a negative result no older than 72 hours before departure. It raised the price of the holiday a bit, but it was well worth it and it meant a return to Zakynthos for me.

And when on the Island of Zakynthos, I contact Apnea Academy instructor Ioannis Aliazis for some freediving 🤿 I joined him for around five sessions and had a lot of fun. But the most memorable session was the night session, especially because of the aftermath! Below you can read the long post I dedicated to it on Instagram:

These pictures come with a story about an adventure ⬇️⬇️⬇️ An adventure that ends with a death ☠️ 

A couple of days ago we went freediving at night 🌚 It was a bit scary but SO, SO, SO AMAZING as well.

Ioannis borrowed extra torches that lit up the midnight sea to a blue that’s hard to describe. And when we turned them off, flapping our fins made sea sparkles light up 😍

After some awesome line dives we decided to snorkel around the cave at Korakonisi a bit. I took my camera from the buoy and Monika (@apnoemoni) and I swam over there. Inside we decided to turn off the torches to look at the bright moonlight entering the crevasse. As I turned off my torch, my camera slipped out of my hand! Whaaaa!!! And in a strange movement to grab it (as I clearly forgot to put the wrist band on) my left foot slipped out of my fin’s footpocket. This shifted my focus from grabbing the camera and as a result BOTH the fin and the camera sank into the darkness… 😳

With the help of Ioannis and Imane (@imanezza_) we managed to find my fin back that same night. But after multiple dives by Ioannis and Monika, the camera was nowhere to be found. Which concerned me, as it was an Olympus TG-Tracker that can manage 30 meters of depth without any extra housing, but can’t do so for multiple hours. And now it was somewhere on the bottom of the cave, anywhere between 15 and 22 meters. But since I couldn’t possibly ask the others to exert themselves further, the camera had to spend the night 😴 at depth before I could go look for it again.

My far along pregnant girlfriend waited up for me that night, as she knew how sad I would return. Especially since the SD-card in the camera contained a lot of footage of the turtle 🐢 I swam with the day before.

The next day the trooper (yes, referring to my girlfriend) offered to go with me as a spotter 🙏🏻  So instead of going out boating, as originally planned, we left for Korakonisi again. I inflated the Subea Seatrekking and Spearfishing backpack (🎒 awesome thing!) and we swam around to the cave. There we tried to spot anything resembling the camera to no avail, even though the visibility was awesome. Definitely 25+ meters(!), but I still had to dive down to really distinguish things. 

After some dives I saw this drone 🛸 lying there on a big rock. I returned to the surface and asked my girlfriend with her big baby belly to keep the backpack/buoy above there and did my breathe-up. I dove down to 21 meters and recovered it. No sign of my camera however 😔 We started to think it maybe got stuck somewhere shallow and someone there before us might have found it. 

It was time to take a short break and try just a couple of more time a bit later. We had some water and some Greek 🇬🇷 snacks and returned to our quest 🧜🏻 I decided to search for the camera a bit more structured: diving down from the back of the cave and finning out. That way, if it was still there I must swim over and see it, right?!

🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻😍😎🤓 Well… that totally worked! I found it! There it was, between two rocks at 19.8 meters. Back to the surface for a good breathe-up and go! I dove down, got it and cheered so hard when I came up! The Olympus was back on land and the SD-card and battery slot looked quite dry! I was confident the footage was safe, which proofed to be true and so more turtle footage to come 😁🎉🎉🎉 And I’ll do you one more: we managed to recover the footage from the drone as well! 🥳

The camera itself was not in that good of a condition though… So I had to put it in a bowl of rice 🍚 to give it a chance. I left it for the night as well, but unfortunately it didn’t seem to help. It did turn on but then the screen gave a white noise. On the other hand: it looked like it would possibly still record something. And it actually did!!! We went out boating 🚤 the next day and it actually took one last film for us from the surface before it definitely passed away ☠️ and I had to give it the proper burial (see pic below). But that last film. A film of…… wait for it…… another turtle(!) 🐢 swimming beneath us!

O, Poseidon 🔱, as you please, you give, you take, you give back and take back! Thank you for this adventure with a little cost and a lot of joy 🙏🏻

Enjoy this edit of the salvaged footage 😎

Freediving PB testing the Apneaman Buoy

Last monday I went out diving with a buddy to properly test out the Apneaman Freediving Buoy. Or maybe it’s brand name is Apneautic; hard to say, but it deserves a mention here anyway.

I got the Apneaman Freediving Buoy a couple of months ago. I ordered the complete set with the buoy, inner bladder, 40 meters of rope, weight strap, carabiners and bottom plate. Mainly because it is very competitively priced.

I believe Apneaman is Martin Zajac’s company. Martin Zajac is a freediving athlete, coach, trainer and instructor from the Czech Republic and is competing at the Vertical Blue competition this year (held this and next week). I would imagine he can properly test (and stands behind) the gear he sells.

Since there is not a lot to find about this freediving buoy on the internet I decided to make an unboxing and first real use video about it (see below). “Firs real use” in the sense that I did use it once or twice before for some shallow and exploration dives.

As you can see in the video, the first buoy that arrived had a problem with the velcro. The Apneaman staff assured me this was something that happened rarely, if ever. Their service and understanding was exceptional and they sent out a new buoy within 24 hours. Not to mention that after I sent the faulty one back, they fully reimbursed my shipping costs. So… big props to Martin and the guys at Apneaman!

Now, to the diving. I took the complete set out; buoy, bladder, rope, bottom plate, weight strap, the whole lot. It was also a good opportunity to learn something about rope handing (line handling?). And well… that sh*t ain’t all that easy, guys! But I’m getting better at it and I plan to do a video about it soon.

My buddy (a PADI master freediver) and I swam to the furthest end of the dive zone at the Vinkeveense Plassen. We let down the rope with 9kg (+/- 20lbs) of lead attached until it touched the bottom. After we got the rope tight and right, we started warmin up.

We did some free immersion dives first, then some constant weight dives. In between we tried a couple of FRC dives. I tried FRC for the first time and went to 9.6m on it. It’s a strange sensation and you get to free fall very early. Also, FRC helps practising the right equalization technique, but comes with some risks and needs to be done with care and preferably with someone who can guide you through it.


I did the final constant weight dives with full lungs again and managed to reach the bottom plate! With which I also set a new personal best constant weight dive to 18.8 meters (61.6ft) of depth!

If you’ve been following this blog, you might wonder how I fared with equalizing at that depth. If you haven’t been following the blog: equalization didn’t come easy for me, as you might also be able to guess from the titles of some of my previous blog posts.

As with lots of acquired skills I believe it takes some time for the brain and body to realise what is expected of it. In that sense the old adagium “practice makes perfect” holds true for anything you want to become proficient at in life.

When you train regularly and your mind and body are getting used to float about deeper and deeper under the surface of any body of water (even if it’s green, dark and murky), you get more relaxed, you start to have more time to feel what is happening inside. This makes it possible to process new things and adapt.

Together with my buddy I figured out it I was sometimes slightly opening my glottis and transitioning back to valsalva equalization at a certain depth. So focusing on not doing that and sticking to the frenzel I got deeper and deeper more comfortably, until I reached the bottom plate.

I won’t lie to you and say that equalisation didn’t become more challenging near the end (as before it became more challenging near the previous “end”), but I didn’t feel any uncomfortable pressure or pain. And that’s how going a bit further every time and getting used to it, relaxing into it, is how we will creep a bit further away from the surface every time we practice. Slowly.