Why I love Freediving

Photo by Lara Thomas, @larajess

The wonderful thing about the ocean is that the tide never fails to turn.

The world is unpredictable—weather patterns shift, tectonic plates drift and collide, species live and die—but the tide will always come in and go out on time.

I love to sit on the rocky shore just before I go freediving, and feel the vibrations of the swell thundering in. I can sense the moment when the tide changes—the energy of the entire ocean leaning against a continent.

The swells build and explode on the rocks like bass drums. Clouds of spray swirl up in the wind. Frothing water streams through natural canals, pouring nutrient-rich sea into stagnant pools.

Photo by Lara Thomas, @larajess

If my life was a story, it would begin with the tide.

Millions of years ago, semi-aquatic creatures made their way out the tide and onto the beach, evolving into four-legged mammals that eventually, over a very long time, became humans like you and me.

As early people developed in Africa, the tides brought food in the form of shellfish, supplying our growing brains with rich omega fatty acids. And when the world was in the grip of a major ice age around 150 000 years ago, and the interior of the continent was dry and uninhabitable, the sea at the southern tip of Africa quite possibly saved our species from starvation.

Scientists have uncovered archaeological evidence of early humanity’s close bond with the ocean in caves all along South Africa’s wind-battered coastline.

In one dark cave perched on the ocean cliffs near Mossel Bay, archaeologists have found signs of shellfish consumption going back 170 000 years. To the point of human origins.

In another cave a few hundred miles down the coast, scientists found some of the earliest art and symbolic expressions made by people. —> Read More