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One Ocean International Freediving Wetsuit Series

Introducing One Ocean International Freediving wetsuit series.
These wetsuits are made from high quality Yamamoto Neoprene 39 and come in 1.5mm and 3mm.
One Ocean International 2 piece Freediving wetsuits are lined with a super smooth and flexible Lycra to add to the strength of the suit and to aid in the ease of putting it on, so no lubricant needed!

One Ocean wetsuits have been trialed and tested in all ocean conditions by freedivers for freedivers. 

At the moment we are taking payments through direct deposit until sales increase and we will pay for 50% of the international shipping costs, we do free shipping for Australia!  

For further inquiries contact sales@oneoceaninternational.org

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Belize Eco Tourism and Marine Conservation

Before you guys read this I just want to let you know that this article is based on my opinions and information from talking to locals, I am not a scientist or marine subject matter expert. I just have a passion for protecting that place where I spend so much of my time and want to spread the good work of people doing awesome things as example and a motivation for others… Joe

Belize is home to the second largest barrier reef in the world. The blue waters and pristine coral reefs of Belize are impressive, some of the best diving I have ever done! So it is great to hear rumors that further expansion of the marine parks at Turneff and Lighthouse atolls off Belize were being implemented to protect these waters against exploitation and preserving them for future generations.

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 Josh and I at Half Moon Cay

Josh and I at Half Moon Cay

Half Moon Cay marine reserve at Lighthouse Atoll was the first marine protected area in Belize in 1982 Which is run by the Belize Audubon Society who’s moto is, “creating a balance between the people and the environment”. This set the stage for other marine parks to be introduced, now over 25% of Belizean land and sea is protected.

The local people of Belize are very proud of the fact they take care of their marine environment through marine parks, utilizing eco-tourism to provide a major economic resource and using the knowledge of local fisherman to help manage these areas.

After to local fisherman who have given up there hooks to work to help preserve their environment or even move to aquaculture, there is definitely a shift happening in the Belize fishing culture… It was very exciting to hear!

One of these proud Belizean people wanting to help promote his countries unique marine eco system through eco-tourism is Henry Lopez…

Henry runs a local water adventure business called Contour adventures, a great play on the words; “conservation and Tourism”. It is a great little business in the great location of Cay Caulker just a short water taxi from Belize City offering activities like windsurfing, stand up paddle boarding and surfing.

Henry came out to spend some time on the Yacht Kauela with skipper Josh Knox from Sails and Sandals and myself to do some exploring to see what Turnoff atoll had to offer… and to also do some freediving!

 Henry doing what he loves

Henry doing what he loves

I had the pleasure of running some freedive training for Henry and talking to him about some new ideas to build in freediving guiding into his scope, this was very exciting because Henry has a unique opportunity to employ some expert freediving guides! There are a number of older generation professional spearfisherman who are out of work because of new marine parks popping up and because their work is also physically and financially unsustainable for them, these men would act as the most amazing guides with their years of experience diving the waters off Belize.

We took Henry’s 6.5m banana boat around to the east side of Turneff Atoll and anchored up in a beautiful little bay; no current, 40m visability, amazing coral… perfect!

After brushing him up on some freedive theory covering gear, anatomy and physiology, techniques, safety, rescue and first aid we hit the water.

Henry mentioned he has always had a passion for freediving and it really showed in his enthusiasm! Only after a few dives on the freedive line his streamlining and technique was rapidly improving and with Henry already being a Padi and Naui Scuba Instructor with over 20 year’s experience he took to the training very well.

With recues down pat and after running a few sea survival and first aid scenarios it was time to put the new skills into practice!

We found a beautiful little drop off starting at 12m and off he went, technique was great and looking really comfortable… 15m dive, great surface routine and looking relaxed! It is amazing to see someone getting hooked on freediving!

For the next 2 hours Henry, Josh and I were going dive for dive off this ledge and every time Henry surfaced and finished his recovery breathing he would let out a massive woooo hooooo! This is awesome!

Henry finished the day with a new personal best freedive of 21m, total dive time of 1m25sec! And I must say that Henry is now severely infected with the freediving bug!

Henry already had a passion for looking after his home town of Cay Caulker and the waters surrounding it, but Henry said that freediving makes the connection to the waters of this beautiful part of the world even stronger!

 Henry and I post dive, stoked! 

Henry and I post dive, stoked! 

I am very much looking forward to coming back to Cay Caulker to run some more training for the local spearfisherman, getting them back in the water doing what they love and sharing their passion for freediving and their environment with others.

Spending some time in Placencia I met an interesting man named Nigel Godfree, AKA “Japs”.  Japs was an ex local fisherman who has taken on a new profession utilizing his over 40 years of experience, he has moved onto to guiding and education scientists about the marine eco systems of Belize including spawning, fish stokes, coral health and many other topics only ,”a true Belizean local born and bred fisherman really understands”.  Japs has a strong motivation to preserve the marine eco system of Belize as he understands that it is the key to economic sustainability for his future generations because fishing is unsustainable.

Japs has also moved into Seaweed farming, this was a move to help keep the fisherman in jobs but to lessen the environmental impact. Japs said that the seaweed farms form small eco systems that create a nursery for many small fishes and invertebrates and is also a food source for other marine animals like Turtles and Dugongs.

Japs said that seaweed farming is far less physically demanding than fishing and far more financially viable and is very proud of the fact that he is leading the way for the local fisherman to help create a sustainable aquaculture industry.

In two weeks Japs will be flying into Cairns, Australia to teach the Australians the secrets of seaweed farming. Amazing!

I was very impressed by the Belizean governments pro activeness in marine conservation and I believe that it is a model that other countries can learn from.

 

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Diving the Belize Atolls

As I dropped past the reef edge into the deeper blue waters off the east side of Turneff atoll I settled down on a rocky ledge to see what would take interest in me and come in for a closer look… about 20m away, about 5m shallower, an eagle ray came gliding in, its silhouette ghost like as it past. An enormous school of Jacks were next to come in, seen from a distance, a huge ball of silver flashes coming so close I could see the fine patterns in there scales. As I looked around, the reef was alive! Small and large resident reef fish cruising in and out of the vast array of corals… ascending, an inquisitive barracuda followed me up watching my every move. As I surfaced and started recovery breathing, feeling the warm tropical air filling my lungs, the sea was like a glass sheet with the green mangroves making a beautiful contrast to the deep blue Caribbean water…  

With a water temperature of 30C, 30 to 50 meter visibility, impressive reef structure and an abundance of fish life, the outer atolls off Belize are impressive to say the least and an area that is being preserved for future generations to enjoy with the help of combined efforts of fisherman, tour operators and the Belize government.

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Diving two of the atolls off Belize (Turneff and Lighthouse) was one of the most amazing freediving experiences I have had in my life, each session left me with such a stoke that it felt like I was floating! And spending so much time in the water that it felt like my skin would never return to its normal state! Josh Knox; best mate, legend, skipper of Kuhela and founder of Sails and Sandals and I spent a total of 12 days out at the Atolls and we dove at least 5 hours each day and the only reason that we left was that we need to get Kuhela in safe waters for the  hurricane season…

Half Moon Cay:

The first couple of dives on this amazing drop off brought in some amazing fish; huge Cuberra Snapper, Hog Fish, Grouper, eagle rays, abundance of reef fish, very curious Barracuda and a black tip reef sharks.

The clarity of the water here was breathtaking, being quite a lot clearer than the waters off Turnoff Atoll.

I noticed that littered amongst the sand were hundreds of conch shells, Josh being raised in Trinadad and knowing how heavily this shell is fished told me that it is the most conch shell he has seen in one area before! An amazing sign to show that the management of the marine parks of Lighthouse Cay are having a noticeable positive effect.

After some amazing dives it was time to get back to Kuhela as the sun was setting and we needed to negotiate the reef pass in the tender. Another amazing session in the atolls!

The Blue Hole:

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A marine park and world heritage site the blue hole is very well looked after by the friendly marine officials of Half Moon Cay. Two crew, from the Belize Audubon Society, manage the ranger station at Half Moon Cay and see to the upkeep of the environmental education center there, as well as collecting marine park fees from visiting tourists.

After Josh and I introduced ourselves and got a good run down on how the marine park is operated, the two polite and helpful rangers, Josh and Bill, took Josh and I for a run to the blue hole to do some freediving and take some shots.

Arriving at the blue hole was for me, an experience I will not forget, the sheer size of it leaves you in awe… when I jumped in the water it took me a moment to orientate myself and to take it all in.

Caribbean reef sharks were the first to see what was going on cruising up over the ledge and just as ghostly, disappearing into the darkness as schools of silver drummer danced in and out of the shadows of the boats.

Slowly warming up the dive reflex, diving down to the ledge, the sandy rim was like the boarder of an oasis in the desert with amazing coral and fish life dropping away on the edges of the hole into the blue. After a few more warm up dives I really wanted to check out the stalactites that started at around 90ft, these stalactites were apparently formed when the ocean levels were much lower and the blue hole was above sea level! As I descended down passed the rim I felt the pressure slowly build up on my chest and throat as I filled my cheeks with air to help me equalize my ears, I looked at the sheer walls of the hole and appearing out of the darkness were huge stalactites, the biggest I have ever seen, like huge rocky spines pointing towards the darkness… a sight I will not soon forget.

Josh and I spent the morning exploring the hole and diving amongst the huge stalactites, and admiring the immenseness of the hole, it truly is a humbling experience.

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Long Reef:

This fringing reef produces some very diverse and breathtaking ground; swim-through caves, sheer drop offs, small pressure pockets on reef pinnacles and sandy bowls… Josh and I spent around five days diving and exploring the fringing reef and had some amazing dives!

With sheer drop offs and little current this area was perfect for freedive training, so over a couple of days Josh and I set up a dive line and did some really fun training. It is a new experience for me, coming from the cooler waters of southern Australia to be able to freedive in warm, clear and totally calm water, it is just bliss! We even had some inquisitive Caribbean reef sharks come in to check out what the action was all about…

I would say that freediving long reef was the highlight of my time out at the atolls; the depth, clarity and biodiversity was the most impressive I have ever seen. I am going to do my best to describe a typical dive at long reef but I doubt my writing ability will do it justice…

Floating on the surface in a complete glass out with not even a ripple to put me off my breath up, I am looking down lining up my dive, already seeing cod, snapper, eels, turtles and sharks that would make for great photo opportunities. I finish my final pre dive breath and duck dive into my first kicking cycle, being as quiet and streamlined as I can as not to scare any fish, I feel negative buoyancy and start to free fall into a sandy gutter near the drop off.

With the camera in front of me and my head down so the fish cannot see my eyes moving I wait to see what comes in… 3 huge tarpon… as I look up his tail almost hits my mask, I glide towards the drop off and descend down to a ledge and find a barracuda hiding behind a coral fan, a tear drop snapper comes in for a closer look and a solo Giant Trevally swims past asserting his dominance. Leaving the ledge and starting the ascent I follow the coral line to find myriads of small shrimp, moray eels, parrot fish and too many other cool little creatures to name, chilling out in the coral gardens. Looking up I see Josh waiting for me on the surface silhouetted by the sun as schools of small bait fish dance through the water column.

As I surface and start my recovery breathing Josh is waiting to see all is good, then we just start laughing as we look around and realize how lucky we are to be in such an amazing place, doing what we love! Stoked!

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I was once given a card with a quote on it form a close friend, I cannot remember who wrote this quote but it still sits strong in my mind, it reads, “if you can dream it, you can achieve it. Boldness and courage have real magic in them”, I remember the day I received that card and it was exactly what I needed to get going and I used to look at it daily for motivation.

If someone had of asked me 2 years ago were I would be now I doubt I would have said travelling the world on a yacht with a best mate and freediving the most amazing locations whilst running an ocean awareness organization! 

A huge thanks to everyone who believed and supported my dream and fed it tons of positive vibes! So blessed and grateful!

Yew!

Stay tuned for more epic ocean adventures!

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Belize Teaser...

You know when you have those experiences in life that are so amazing that it leaves you with a stoke so awesome it feels like your floating! Ha Ha! Well that is what happened in the outer atolls off Belize... From freediving courses, environmental education, training, photography, sailing and so much time underwater i thought my skin would never get the wrinkles out! Ha Ha! So stay tuned for the full write up!

Joe

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Surf Survival Bali

It was a great atmosphere at Salt Gypsy HQ in Cenggu as Claire, Fi, Danny and Jade took their seats and prepared for the mornings lectures; great environment, great food, great people!

The team presented with a broad range of experience ranging from 4 years surfing experience to highly experienced professional surf guides… I very much enjoy training people who are passionate about the ocean and I could tell as soon as I met the team that they were pumped to get into some training! Awesome!

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With the team prepped with some exciting new knowledge it was time to put it to use…

Static Apnea Training

I love watching students learning about how their bodies work and being able to put it into practice, moving through all the symptoms of the urge to breath and no longer having a subjective approach to the myriad of strange feelings but being an observer.  Objectively and logically analyzing the responses their bodies are having.

Some great barriers were pushed thru during that session both physical and mental with some static times of up to 2 minutes and everyone over doubling their breath hold times, it was lining up to be a great day!

Some extra in water static Apnea was done back at Salt Gypsy HQ two days after the completion of the days training to give a couple days to absorb the new knowledge learned.

After a brief yoga session and some breathing exercises to warm up the girls dive reflex it was time to put knowledge into practice… Claire and Danny were super comfortable and relaxed heading into the static and both got amazing times of up to 2min25sec! Both girls had heaps of fuel left in the tank as they came up for their surface protocol and I was stoked to see them smiling commenting on how easy and comfortable it was.

Freedive Skills

Surfers… what can I say… they just know how to move in the water!

The team was so quick to adopt the newly learned Dynamic Apnea No Fins and duck diving techniques! Before I knew it they were off! Swimming up and down the Cenggu pool like grommets who just realized that their parents weren’t watching! So much fun! The team got some great results with up to 40m underwater swims with heaps of fuel left in the tank!

Rescue

There were some amongst the team who new first hand what it is like to undertake in water rescues so the playful mood got serious momentarily for the rescue session… it is a big reality check when you realize how heavy a lifeless body can be in the water, but after a few drills and rehearsal of techniques the team was all over it, again impressing me with their ability to quickly learn a new skill.

Surf Skills

With a quick refresh of some survival swimming techniques it was time for the team to put all these new skills into practice in a fun game that I learned at the Navy Dive School… well I think its fun.

After 1 attempt and some great communication the team blitzed the training session and cemented their new learned skills. I believe the value of a new skill is not really truly understood until it is used to overcome a challenge… “it always seems impossible until it is done” Nelson Mandela

Underwater disorientation drills… the team seemed a bit apprehensive about this training session, but it did not take long for the water(wo)man side to take over… I love seeing the response a surfer gets when they realize that they have the ability to hold their breath with an increased heart rate and half a lung full of air just by applying a few simple techniques! Well done team! Some very impressive results!

Sea Survival

With boat charters becoming a preferred option for surfers and many stories being told on the course of cases of surfers being lost at sea or vessels sinking, it was a great motivation to get into some sea survival training. After a few drills, heaps of laughter and some fun new skills the team was ready! Life jacket or no life jacket!

After a solid 9 hours of training it was time to rest and fill our hungry bellies! It was such a privilege to train such a fun, experienced and easy going group of water(wo)man!

I hope that the team never gets into a life threatening situation where they need to apply these skills but I feel confident that if they did they are more than competent to overcome whatever challenge they face.

A huge thanks to Salt Gypsy for your amazing hospitality and for hosting the course! Looking forward to getting into some waves with you all real soon!

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Apnea Level 1 - Byron Bay

Apnea Level One - Byron Bay 12 July 2013

Amazing weather! Amazing people! Amazing ocean Conditions!
Apnea level 1 with Bia, Ben, Tomi, Jean-luc and Ash! The team did an incredible job with so much fun had by all! Some great mental and physical barriers were pushed through to achieve some outstanding results with static apnea of over 3min, dynamic apnea over 50m and CW dives of up to 20m! Outstanding!
There was impressive team work and comradery throughout the course which added to the relaxed atmosphere that is so important with freedive training, I was humbled to watch the team take the time to help eachother through the training and enjoy seeing their mates do so well! So good! As I push on all the courses, “it is not all about going deep, its about having fun!”
On the last dives at Julian Rocks we were surrounded by so much marine life; kingfish, snapper, wobbygongs, dart, rays and had a few very curious gray nurse sharks check out the action! We finished off with some great dives around Julian Rocks finding cray holes, swim thru’s and beautiful terrain! So good!
For me, I see the Apnea Level 1 course the most important out of the three as it instills a solid base in which to train from, and I am stoked with how all the team is diving! So keep up the diving, training and healthy living and most of all have fun!
It was a pleasure training this group of outstanding people! I very much look forward to getting in the ocean with all of them again soon!
Big thanks to Bia, Ben, Tomi, Jean-luc and Ash for making the last Byron Bay freedive course for 6 months an amazing one!!!


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Advanced Surf Survival - Alex Frings

Throughout running the watermanship courses i have the opportunity to meet some amazing people, that's one of the reasons why i teach...
Alex Fringswater photographer, surfer, waterman and all round legend is one of those amazing people!

Alex approached me wanting to improve his breath hold times and awareness in the ocean. His main motivation was to be able to enjoy the ocean, having had a near drowning experience in the past in Bali. And also to improve his skills as a waterman for his business as a surf photographer.

I contextualized an Advanced Survival Course for him which covered aspects of sea survival, freediving and surf rescue.

Alex stood out straight away! He is so comfortable in the ocean and has incredible mental focus! a great combination!
Smashing out over 3min in static apnea and a 50m dynamic apnea i was very impressed with his watermanship skills!

Alex was able to put his new learned skills into practice with outstanding performances in the disorientation drills. Doing a Surf Survival Course record of a 2min, elevated heart rate, disorientation hold down!!! Very impressive Alex! And he still had more left in the tank!!!

Out in the ocean, Alex impressed me yet again by putting his skills into action in the surf, currents and undertows surrounding Julian Rocks off Byron Bay. Gliding through the ocean like a seal! We even got the opportunity to swim with a couple of friendly turtles! So much fun!!!

It was a pleasure teaching Alex and i very much look forward to getting in the water with him again soon!!

Check out Alex's testimonial! 

 

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Salt Gypsy's Danielle Clayton

 Danny at the Maldives

Danny at the Maldives

One Ocean International strongly believes in sharing stories of amazing people doing amazing things to inspire others, and Salt Gypsy's Danielle Clayton is one of these amazing people.

I was first introduced to Danny by a mutual friend of ours; surfer, artist and legend Jess Letmanis , and i was soon to find out what an amazing waterwoman Danny is!

Here is sneak peak into Danny's creation...

 

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Salt Gypsy was born from a desire to showcase and promote independent surfwear design, handmade and earth-friendly lifestyle products for discerning waterwomen. We have a passion for sourcing independent and emerging designers, with emphasis placed on product created by other chicks who rip. Salt Gypsy also champions the everyday female surfer and works to promote a higher calibre of surfing ability. 

Salt Gypsy creator Danny Clayton was once told by her family`s cardiologist, “Don`t ever surf again.” Not letting a congenital heart arrythmia (Long QT Syndrome) and the fear of sudden death get in the way of living, her path has been an eclectic mix of dreams lived: from studying Sculpture at university to teaching English in Japan, working for international surf company, Billabong (NZ), to surf guiding in the Maldives. Now recently relocated to a sweet wee pad in Bali, she lives and breathes a surf lifestyle, loves the fact that Canggu Deli stocks NZ`s own Whittakers Chocolate, and more recently found herself the new owner of a toe-biting ginger kitten called Squeak.


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Surf Survival Course – 9th June

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Surf Survival Course – 9th June

Experience Counts!

Congratulations to Brendon, Ted and Tim for completing the One Ocean International Surf Survival Course! By participating in this course, 10% of the course proceedings were donated to  “Ground Up”.

Brendon, Ted and Tim came to the course with a huge amount of ocean experience! Their goals were to extend their breath hold times, feel comfortable with big hold downs and have more longevity in the surf. And in my eyes, they certainly achieved this!

These three gentlemen started and finished the course with extreme mental focus and motivation to do their best. I was immediately impressed with their ability to focus during static breath holds of up to 3min30sec!, which was a result of over 30 years of experience in different disciplines ranging from yoga, Qigong and various Martial Arts

The team was so comfortable in the water, quickly applying new skills learned to show great technique in underwater and ocean survival swimming techniques, easily completing dynamic apnea no fins of up to 50m!

It was a privilege and a humbling experience training with these seasoned watermen, I learned so much myself just by observing the way they approached the training, thanks so much again team! Very much looking forward to getting in the ocean with you all soon!

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Advanced Watermanship Course - 8th June 2013

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Advanced Watermanship Course - 8th June 2013

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Well… What an amazing course! The day left me buzzing with enthusiasm and the biggest stoke!

Father, Pete Vanagas and his two sons Drew and Tom came to the course with a very high level of watermanship ability, returning from a recent trip to Hawaii and avid visitors to Indonesia it was a great challenge contextualizing a course to push their comfort zones and extend their knowledge of the ocean and themselves.

So with the help of two impressive watermen; Anthony Superina (freediver, tow surfer and sail boarder) and Dan Haumu (freediver, surf photographer and surfer) we teamed up to push the Vanagas Trio, advance their watermanship abilities and increase their confidence.

Theory…

Starting off with impressive static breath holds of 1 to 2 minutes we delved into some basic science to break down the processes that the human body goes through during apnea, a bit of breath up instruction and combined with some impressive mental determination from the team… static apnea of up to 3min40 were achieved! Very impressive lads! This session left me very excited to see the team in action!

Pool…

With winter setting in and the water temperature dropping, it made for excellent conditions for initial surf survival practical!

With hoots and high fives the team blew me away with their ability to focus and apply their new knowledge in over 20 various disorientation hold downs between them… air pockets, disorientation spins and water up the nose! Upon surfacing for his surface drill, Pete muttered through the giggles, “I felt comfortable, that was really fun!”… Time for the real thing!

Ocean…

Back in their element, the lads eyes lit up as we waded into the small surf at the Pass to board Byron Bay Dive Centers RHIB.  On the run out, as if being welcomed to Julian Rocks, we stopped to admire three pods of Humpback Whales on their yearly migration north, the best way to start an open ocean training session!

The lads slight rattled nerves were settled by Dan and Ant as I prepared for the freedive buoys in the slightly stormy conditions… perfect for training watermen! Ha ha!

Setting the depth at 5 meters and getting the team practicing some basic no fins freediving skills, again I was impressed with how good they all looked in the water! Peter “the walrus” Vanagas quickly applying freediving skills learnt in the pool and combined with his years of experience in the ocean set the bench mark for Drew and Tom! The boys responded quickly to the challenge and completed some amazing dives up to 11 meters! Very impressive!

With hoots of stoke all around, it was time to head in… A sense of achievement was strongly felt amongst the team as we hit the beach. Not only from the students but from the One Ocean Team as well!

Thanks so much again Pete, Drew and Tom! It was a pleasure training and sharing knowledge with you and I very much look forward to getting in the ocean again with the Vanagas Team!

A massive thanks to Ant and Dan! With over 60 years of combined ocean experience, you both bought such impressive knowledge to the table…

A special mention to Alex Frings who attended the theory part of the course even though suffering from a sinus infection and achieving the biggest static of the course of 3min40sec (a total increase of 2min30sec from the initial static!), Alex showed unbelievable mental strength and I look forward to seeing him back for the practical sessions on the next advanced survival course this month!

 

10% of the proceeds from this course have been donated to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, thanks team.  

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