SHEEPHAVEN divers had an opportunity last weekend to avail of a training session in free-diving, delivered by Hanno Windish under the auspices of Scuba School International.
The training was delivered each day in the Sheephaven club house to small four man groups with a morning of tutorials, followed by in-water training in Downings harbour.
After a dinner break another round of tutorials was followed by a second in-water training session.
The core of the training involved Hanno taking the divers through a series of breathing exercises, which are designed to increase their breath holding capacity and achieve deeper and longer free-dives as a result.
The virtues of snorkelling have always been enjoyed by Sheephaven divers and it is the corner stone of a divers’ in-water fitness, so last week’s training that enhanced those skills was greatly appreciated indeed.
It was quite apparent at the end of the second in-water session that the divers could comfortably free-dive to 8 metres, which is as deep as the water was near Downings pier and remain there for considerably longer than they could before.
Snorkelling and free-diving make a demand on a divers fitness and at the end of two sessions everyone knew that they had a good workout and are now motivated to push on to greater depths and longer durations.
The Sheephaven Sunday morning dive and snorkel took place in PortnaBlagh, where the weather conditions were closing in but had not yet deteriorated to the forecasted westerly gale, promised for later in the day.
However in-water conditions were near perfect, with clear water through-out the site and a very comfortable temperature of at least 12 degrees celsius.
For the divers who had completed the free-diving course the day before it was an opportunity to practice their newly acquired skills, with depths of over 8 metres and extended durations being achieved.
But for one young diver it was a very special day indeed, when Adam Cassidy, having completed all the preliminary Irish Underwater Council training modules that prepared him ready for his first scuba dive finally got a chance to put his training into practice, under the expert guidance of club instructor and M3 Anne Boyle.
Undoubtedly in years to come Adam will have many more diving adventures and can look back at his first dive in the most auspicious of diving conditions.