The Elixir Series: Free-diving in Cornish waters

Each and everyone of us has a personal connection to the big blue. Some say it
begins with story books and films we see as children, others from memories of
holidays spent by the seaside with loved ones; however once it begins, our love for our ocean stays with us for life. There’s a certain vulnerability we have as humans, stepping into a world parallel to the one we live and breathe in, one where we become the visitor. But what if there’s a way to open that doorway, discovering a whole new universe while we’re at it?
What they say about ‘Blue Mind’ couldn’t be more true; being near, in, under or on
water puts us in a meditative trance, reminding us of how small we are when
compared with our ocean… And with this comes an overwhelming sense of peace, a feeling you won’t find anywhere else, and in turn, crave it for a lifetime.

What is free-diving?
Free-diving is the practise of, and ability to, hold your breath while diving
underwater with zero breathing apparatus aids, travelling only as far as your lungs
will take you. The closest we humans come to being mermaids!
This ocean activity originated in 5th century BC Greece, where fisherman used it as a form of survival and a means to eat and provide, but as time went on, free diving became a popular pastime and competitive sport; an escape to the underwater world.

What is it
(Image credit: @aquacityfreediving)

How to start?
It may seem as simple as wading into the water, diving down and holding your
breath. But there are many more intricacies to this sport, here’s a few tips to follow
before your first dive.

Never dive solo
Always have a friend or two with you underwater, this way you’ll both be safe and
able to look out for each other, while also experiencing the dive together.

Take a friend
(Image credit: @blue_embrace_freediving)

Take a course (we’ve linked a few below!):
It’s always a good idea to educate yourself when it comes to pushing your body to
it’s limits! Free-diving courses teach you how to harness your body’s capabilities,
the safety basics and knowledge of your equipment. They are also a great
opportunity to make new connections and have a professional answer any burning questions.
Blue Embrace Free Diving
Freedive UK 
Freediving South Wet (Plymouth)

Start at a lifeguarded or public spot
As you progress in your free-diving journey, you’ll be searching for unchartered
waters where marine life is flourishing - those of which don’t always exist in heavily populated areas. But, as you begin by building up your confidence, it is a great idea to dive where others can see you and where you’ll ultimately feel safe.

Get properly suited and booted
Start with a pair of fins, either short fins or scuba fins will work perfectly for
someone just starting out, and a low-volume mask (easier to clear water from).
Once you’ve fallen in love with free-diving and got a bit more experience under
your belt, you can invest in other diving gear.
(Image credit: @andy_torbet)

Relax and have fun
Starting anything new can be scary and there’s a lot to think about when you first
start free-diving, but when you feel your brain begin to panic bring your focus back
to your breathing. Deep, slow breathing techniques are powerful when it comes to
lowering your heart rate and calming the nervous system. You can also outsource a breathing workshop, but you’ll find free-diving courses will give you the tips
needed! Once you’ve calmed your mind and regulated your breathing, don’t
forget to have fun! Look around at where you are, the myriad of creatures you’re
surrounded by - it’s a magical feeling to exist below the waves; savour it!

(Image credit @daanverhoevenfreediver)

Warm up slowly and safely (this is where we come in!)
Being in the water for long periods of time, even with the right kit, can be hard on
the body. After your dive, warm up slowly and safely with your Robie, a warm
drink, some high-protein food and layers. Your breathing techniques will come in
handy here too!

Best free-diving spots in Cornwall
Cornwall is known for its stunning beaches, but the true beauty lies within those
waters. Steeped in history, Cornish waters are home to a number of spectacular
dive sites, from utopian kelp forests and thriving seal-colonies, to breathtaking
gullies and mystifying wrecks. Here’s a few of the most beloved free-diving spots:
1. The Lizard Peninsula & Kynance Cove
2. The Isles of Scilly

Isles of Scilly

(Image Credit: @stucornell)

3. Falmouth Bay
(Image Credit: @oceanic.kayleigh)

4. Lamorna Cove
(Image Credit: @inspiredincornwall)

5. Polkerris Cove
(Image Credit: Carl Brightman)

6. Off the Coast of Newquay
Image Credit: @charlottesamsphotography)

If you didn’t think you could love Cornwall more, just wait until you’ve seen what
treasures lie beneath her shores! Whether you’re an experienced free-diver looking for a new spot, or a complete beginner seeking a plunge - we hope this blog has helped. Share your underwater adventures by tagging @robierobes, we’d love to see what magic you find!