The Daily Herald writes that Free diving is becoming more popular, and chances are Saba will be- come the new free-diving hotspot in the Caribbean. Luis Fonseca, a licensed scuba and free-diving instructor for thirty years, wants to start a free-diving school on Saba. Fonseca was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and started his professional diving career at the age of 17. Fonseca met with Commissioners Chris Johnson and Bruce Zagers on Thursday, and received the green light to start his ambitious project.
Free diving, also known as apnoea or breath-hold diving is basically diving without breathing, scuba equipment. A free diver usually only wears a wetsuit, fins and goggles and then holds his or her breath for a one or two minutes while sub- merged. “Free diving is an extraordinary and unique sport. Swimming underwater on a single breath of air with- out the need of bulky or clumsy equipment has been described as a truly relaxing and personal experience,” Fonseca said. Free diving has historic roots that go back hundreds of years. In the last 15 years it has become more and more popular with the rise of competitive free diving, and athletes like Tanya Streeter and Umberto Pelizzari. Free diving has eight disciplines from static apnoea – holding one’s breath for as long as possible to no limits, where the diver descends using a weighted sled and ascends using an airbag or other lifting device.
Fonseca is extremely pleased with the approval of the Saba Government to actually realise his dream. Many things have to be taken care of first, such as finding a location for his base of operations. He hopes residents will be supportive of his plans and assist him where possible. Plans are underway to develop a Website and Facebook page to promote Saba Free Diving to the world. Advertising in free diving magazines and creating packages which include accommodations will also be part of his promotional plans. “Free divers are very eco-conscious and sport-oriented people who know how to appreciate an island like Saba,” said Fonseca. His business plans actually go a bit further then just diving into the water and looking at the beautiful scenery. He promises his clients a Zen experience where body and mind become one. “My intention is to help my students develop ‘watermanship,’ learn stretching relaxation techniques, conscious breathing and meditation to find the link between themselves and the environment.” Training will be both in and out of the water. Fonseca’s repertoire includes cardio and anaerobic exercises and relaxation techniques like High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), yoga, breathing and meditation although Fonseca emphasizes that most time will be spent in the water.