Herbert Nitsch, professional apnoe diver of the Austrian Freediving Team, set a new record in 2002 diving 92m in the discipline "constant weight". Herbert can hold his breath for 8 minutes and 27 seconds. In April 2003 he and his coach Harald Lautner headed for Dahab to start the project "Blue Hole - Crossing the Arch" The "Arch" is a 30m tunnel laying 56m deep amidst the "Blue Hole", a famous dive site in Dahab. Herbert was passing this tunnel in 1 minute and 43 seconds being the first human to do so with a single breath.
After this adventure the team takes a brake in Sharm El Sheikh to do some "easy training" aboard the DIVE RUNNER. Backpacks, ropes and buoys are being carried and the crew wonders about the mountain climbers boarding a ship. Herbert and his coach start out to snorkel a little bit as they say, spending minute after minute under water. We accompany them with tanks and meet them again in 18m depth where they wave at us and pose for pictures.
The big sinking: The bay of "Marsa Bareika" lays quiet and free of winds, waves and currents. The freediving team leads down a rope with 8kg of lead. Herbert puts on his green rubber suit and his big mono-fin, takes 3 kg of weight and starts with breathing exercises. He stays at 10m more than 2 minutes. Again he dives: 2 minutes and 30 seconds, 55m - a nice warmup. The next dive is taking him down to 65m, a dive of 2 minutes and 40 seconds. No record, but hey, it’s only for fun. We stand there and watch with eyes and mouths wide open. On the way back Herbert is doing a little "snorkeling" again - to learn from the fish.
January 2004. Despite choppy water Norwegian-Croatian freediver Kike Curevic and his support team decide to do some training immersions from aboard the DIVE RUNNER. The boats heavy steel construction makes her the perfect choice for freedivers where steadiness is a prerequisite. We are asked to secure the dives. Kike is training in the discipline "constant weight", where the diver must not change his weight, e.g. drop weights on ascending. Furthermore the diver is not allowed to touch the reference rope. Kike´s training goal: to venture to the magical 100-meter mark. The video graphing team “Blue Eye FX” accompanied us to film the training, as well as some “fun free dives”.
We approach the training area - amidst the sea, no reef to be seen. A metal platform, the size of a car tire, is fixed on the reference rope the upper end of which is fitted on to a large buoy. Kike is soaping his body in order to be able to squeeze himself into his tight rubber skin. A long briefing, then we enter the water, the ship is moving away. A glimpse down the line: Only dark blue, nothing else. The waves make the silver platform jerk down below. We descend on our securing depths. Everyone wonders: the blinking of the silver platform - will it attract sharks?
Kike is floating on the surface making breathing exercises. Our dive computers slowly glide into deco mode - well, we are on 60 meters. If he is not descending soon we will have to surface. The film team is in position and on hold. I look up, and it’s hard to see details but something is going on above, suddenly Kike is passing me on his way down. 15 meters below me he turns around, gives a short eye contact, everything is OK. My eyes are following his ascend, the critical last 20 meters are passed without problems, and he surfaces. Slowly, really slow, we begin our ascend. Back aboard ship there is clapping and joy - 75 meters, that is a training success and it’s filmed, all of it. Afterwards it was time for a big breakfast and then to head for funky fun free dives at "Jackfish Alley"...