Saturday, November 29, 2008


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APRIL 2009

MAY 2009

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25/6-28/6 AIDA** IN Örebro,SWEDEN

JULY 2009
23/7-26/7 AIDA*** IN Örebro, SWEDEN

14/9-19/9 COMBO WEEK

12/10-17/10 COMBO WEEK
12/10-17/10 TRAINING WEEK

2/11-7/11 COMBO WEEK

7/12-12/12 COMBO WEEK
7/12-12/12 TRAINING WEEK

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Carlos Coste FIM WR attempt

Lotta is in Venezuela as a judge for Carlos attempt. Here's her report:

After one and a half nights at home (stayed too long at the WC party in Sham), of I went on a 30 hour trip to Venezuela. Crazy timing, but it wasn’t up to me to decide the dates, since I was chosen as one of the AIDA judges for Carlos Coste’s WR attempt in Free Immersion.

Well in Caracas (the capital of Venezuela) I was relieved to finally have arrived without any major issues… but i wasn’t there yet! Still one flight to go and I realized that even Egyptians can do things better than others … sometimes… If you want to keep your peace of mind, NEVER take domestic flights in Venezuela! If you need someone to help you out, which you most certainly will, ask another passenger, NOT the airport staff, they might send you to the wrong destination, even after having seen your boarding pass!

Finally in Barcelona (no I am not back in Europe) both Gabi and Carlos was there meeting me. It was wonderful to see familiar faces! We went straight to a sailing boat where some of the people involved in the record event stayed. It showed that the captain, Peter had started a dive centre in Dahab a couple of years ago (I will not name it since it is Freedive Dahab’s biggest competitor in Dahab…) Small world as usual. There I also met Carlos’ two safety divers, Enrique from Venezuela and Alfredo from Canary Islands.

After a well needed full night sleep I woke up and started exploring the huge luxurious villa we all stayed in. It is situate at a “lake/canal system” with connection to the sea so all houses have their own pier. We just need to cross the garden, jump in Carlos boat and go diving!

Unfortunately we will not stay here all the time. On Thursday we all have to move to a hotel. The good news about this is that I finally will get Internet…

On Tuesday it was time for Carlos last training dive. We spent the whole day at sea meeting dolphins 3 times and enjoying the sunshine and the 30 degrees clear water… until a thunderstorm started with heavy rain! Luckily Carlos training was done when the weather was still pleasant.

Today, Wednesday, is a day off… for everybody but me... I am also here to teach an AIDA Instructor Course, so there is not much time to rest for me… or my candidates… Alfredo, the safety diver, I met before in the Worlds in Hurgada 06 and Sharm 07. And now he will be my student for the IC… this far he is doing well, even though his English sucks! Fortunately I do understand a lot of Spanish and I have Iru, the other IC candidate for translation… I also met Iru before in the WC in Nice 05 and Hurgada, so I felt like I am amongst friends! (Enrique I never met before, but he made it his task to make me beautiful coffee every morning, so he won my heart quickly!)

Last night the other Judge arrived, Nicolas Laporte, so besides teaching today, we will also check out the official counter ballast system and have a meeting with all the staff. But before this Gabi and I will invade his room at the hotel to use the Internet! We promised him that if he behaves we will let him stay in the room…

18 september

The first record attempt day started off with beautiful weather and good spirits. The judges, scuba divers and other staff set off one hour before Carlos, so that all would be set up and ready at the dive site when he arrived… Did not work… (for a while I thought I was back in Egypt)
We started with looking for the mooring for 45 minutes… two big white buoys at a depth of about 5m. Normally very visible. Eventually the even asked if Iru could go in the water and swim around an look. She did, and I was getting too frustrated to stay in the boat, so I went too, despite my fear of deep waters… And we got lucky, no sharks came and eat us even when we were far far away from the boat… But no, we did not find the mooring. Finally Carlos arrived in his boat and it shows that we were in the wrong place… the mooring was half a kilometre further away…
Now there is only about 30min to “official top”, and this is when they start trying to figure out how to attach the camera arm for the bottom camera to the rope! Carlos could not start his warm-up until the official line was in the water, since he does all his warm-ups there. So when everything finally was in place it was almost noon, and “official top” was at 11am…. Luckily it seemed that nobody (but me) got stressed about this…not even Carlos.

There where quite a few people that had come to see the attempt, even if this one was supposed to be more “private”. The big show should be on Saturday, where Carlos hopefully didn’t have to do a record for real. There were media from all the big TV channels, radio stations and news papers. (Peter, the captain of the sailing boat, whose task was to bring out the media, actually had to leave some people behind since the boat was already overloaded with 35 people!

Unfortunately Carlos didn’t make the dive this day. He blacked out at about 22m. The safety divers did a superb job! He was up in 20 seconds, they started with rescue breath after 10 sec and within 30 sec he was at the emergency boat. Within 45sec from surfacing he was in the boat and under care of a very professional paramedic. He woke up shortly after this, waving and smiling to the media as he left with the boat. His positive attitude paid off in almost all media, except for one radio station that said Carlos was dead!

The Saturday attempt was cancelled to give Carlos more rest days, but he will try again on Monday 22/9.

Until then we have 3 days off… well, everybody else have, not me and my candidates… We start 8 o’clock every morning no matter how late we went to bed. I think they are going to hate me at the end of next week!

Saturday, September 13, 2008



We are very tired, but now we can have some rest.
Half of the safety divers have got an ear infection. The other half got sunburnt to alarming levels.
Stavros' nose is falling off his face.
One is still unusable because of the countdown syndrome, one got a middle ear barotrauma.
Some other got lost on the way. If there was one more competition day, there would not be safety divers left to cover that.

This is me, doing laps in between official tops. The doctor told me at my age i should move a bit to fight the advancing arthritis.

I’m not going to speak about results since I’m sure everybody know them better than me.
But the most amazing news i have today is that i caught Sebastian laughing. Not only: he was laughing reading my blog!! And since i agree that it sounds unbelievable, i took pictures of the event, so i can prove it.
Come on, how many people on the planet can claim they can make Sebastian laugh? Somebody give me a medal.

These last days i noticed people were behaving very strangely with me. They either run away as soon as I approached them, or they were very nice to me (which is not normal, because there's no reason to be nice to me).
I think those are signs of the Blog Syndrome, who affects those that don't want to be mentioned in my blog.
I wonder why.

We collected some data, and we found out that the chance of a BO is bigger if you were diving in line and lane B. I did all my safety in A, and we had no BO in CWT, and as for DYN we had one BO the first day and two on the second day.
Overall, in CWT, there were only 2 BO and 2 heavy sambas, all in line B.
In DYN, 8 BO, 5 of them in lane B.
All in all i only got to rescue 1 diver in 4 diving days! I would have had one more during DYN, but since it was a pretty girl (Liv), Stavros invaded my zone and took her.

Mandy had a BO after the 150m turn.
Russian Alexey came up at 175 and lost it before he realized.
Kiwi Ant keeps trying to make me cry, and got a BO at around 210. I didn't cry, because at the same time i was watching a bad exit on my lane, so i didn't see it happening.
Kiwi Will tried 200, but had a massive samba and messed up the SP.
Even Martin was very close to pass out after less than 160m.
Athletes claim that the hot pool must be blamed for the dodgy exits. Some said they had very late contractions, but then it gets very ugly very quickly and it's already too late.

Hot Johan had a very heavy samba. Being hot in a hot pool doesn't really help i guess.
Is this why most of the hot guys had bad exits?
Anyways, I was next to him ready to take him, and as he was all shaky and trying not to lose it, he looked at me, and immediately snapped back to life.
Now one might think it is a good sign; he saw me, got impressed, and woke up.
But what if instead he woke up when he realized i would have been the one kissing him if he passed out? Which is definitely not a good sign.
However, he got a red card for late SP, and i'm really sorry for him. Even if he doesn't want to kiss me.

The other hottie, Juraj, came up clean after 170. I'm sure he could add an extra 25 mt with no extra effort just by waxing his back thus eliminating some extra resistance. I know waxing is painful, but i'm against shaving: makes the hair horribly thicker, grows back immediately, and it's a real turn off during the romantic moments.
Next year I'll take with me loads of wax, and offer free treatments to the hot single guys. The others will have to pay.

The Italian team was a bit of a shame for the Italian nation, but then came Federico and did a easy 175 with no training whatsoever.
Davidino came up after 100m saying "sorry, but i don't like it!". That was why i suggested he did his DYN holding a speargun, and that we put a big fish on his lane. He could do a WR like that. But they didn't listened to me.
Ilaria, who sometimes doesn't behave very smart, had one of her nonsmart moments when she surfaced.
While she was waiting for the judgment she must have got bored, and decided to take off her fin. Dipping her face.
Dumb syndrome?
Judge for yourself:

Oh sorry, that was the one where she looks smart. The next is the one.

Sofus, after seeing David king walking around with nail polish on his feet, got jealous, and showed up with women shades. Big dark lenses encased in a brown and golden frame. Stylish.

Thank God Weine doesn't have a dick on his back anymore. He must have got back to his senses. Now he behaves very manly again. He screamed like a wrestler before his dive to pump himself up, as he did after, to scare his samba away. It worked.
Weine got very upset with me because i didn't put his picture in the hotties section. So i put one here now, hoping to make him happy. He deserves respect, because he's the only person i know that wants to appear in this blog.

Oh, I almost forgot. Kiwi Dave did another WR. He seemed completely bored as he was standing there on the pool edge waiting for his judgment. Everybody is wondering what secret he's hiding. What did he find out that we didn't, damn it?

Overall i had a very good time. If they take the static out from the next team WC i will apply to be in the safety team again. If not, I'll compete. Or i can apply to go there as the official reporter, if somebody want to sponsor me.

Strangely enough I'm still single. But luckily i didn't lose any member of the Spinsters Team. I post another picture of the team here, and maybe somebody will volunteer to take one (or more) of us out of spinsterhood.

I suggest on the next edition the organizer provides extra medals. For the hottest guy, for the dumbest freediver, for the funniest samba, for the best freediving tan. And I want to be the judge.

About Judges, here pics of the evil lot.

Judge Bill. He's pretty evil, but if you are a girl with a pretty bum, let him squeeze it, and you'll buy yourself a white card.

Judge Grant. Try corrupt him with a doughnut.

Judge Kimmo. Incorruptible.

Judge Marcello. I don't know him very well, but being originally from southern Italy there must be several ways to buy his "protection".

Judge Susan. She's nice, and seems very straight. But being Dutch you can try bribe her with good pot.

Last but not least, Ute. She is very German, and definitely not corruptible.

As for the real gossip, like who slept with who, and who got embarrassingly shitfaced during the party, you can request them by mail at this address:
Charge is 5 euro a piece.

Thanks God this is over, because i don't have any friends left to lose :-)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008



What did I say about enjoying so much doing the safety instead than competing?
I take it back. Safetying at a static competition is the most boring business I’ve ever been involved in. I even had more fun in school, during the math classes.

The only few highlights consist in the (unfortunately few) sambas and bo’s.

Danish Sofus had the funniest samba I’ve ever seen. If somebody has pictures or a video about that, please send it to me. You’ll be rewarded. He still got a white card.

Teammate Henning also had a samba, a cute one, but not as funny. Another white card.

Kiwi Ant had a black out, throwing the chance of a medal. I was co-judging his performance (it’s just a funky way to say I was a timekeeper), and since I have a soft spot for him, seeing his BO filled my eyes with tears. But I restrained myself from crying, since I still have a reputation to maintain. I’m a well known unsympathetic bitch.

Sweet Liv had a red card for doing the protocol to the coach Rob. In a way I can understand why she’d rather see his friendly smile than Judge Bill Nordic frozen stare. But she should have restrained herself for few seconds.

Italian Davidino, also known as the Bimbo, did a happy 5 thirthysomething on what looked like a passive exhale. Here you see him just before his top

Lotta entertained the whole pool (except the athletes that were trying to prepare for their performances) with one of her famous pre-performance breakdowns. For unknown reasons she got very upset with her coach Sebastian, and everybody could hear her yelling and crying until 2 minutes before her official top. She resumed the yelling and the crying as soon as she did her SP, after 5.30.
Coach Sebastian handled that very well. He stayed, and didn’t run away as many would have done. But later on he displayed post-traumatic shock symptoms.
Doctors feared he would develop a condition that affected most of Lotta’s coaches in the past years, known as the Ericson Syndrome, of which the scientists didn't find a cure yet.
Sebastian cured himself the day after with a static performance done as opener, after which he had his usual samba, which burned few of the short memory cells, thus forgetting the traumatic episode, and now he looks happy again.

Speaking about syndromes, Safety Alex got one too. It’s called Countdown Syndrome, and it’s affecting those that soon after their Judge course are put with a microphone at the side of the pool, doing the official countdown for the competition. His very first countdown. He did look a bit worried. He was briefed properly, but something must have happened, and he messed it up completely. He was quickly replaced with Judge Susan, and since then he’s been seen walking aimlessly around the pool mumbling numbers to himself. Sometimes he snaps back to consciousness and he sits at the restaurant eating a hot dog.

Here you can see him after one of these rare moments

I wish I had a result list here with me, but I don’t so I have no clue about most of the other performances, and especially about the overall results. The only thing I know is that the Greek are first, 23 points ahead of the French.
I just sent Rob the King to look for a list to steal. Knowing the guy I doubt he can get himself to steal anything. But since he’s a lawyer, I’m hoping his real nature kicks in, and he’ll finally get mean and sneaky like any worthy lawyer.
Actually this reminds me that I already broke the promise I made him less than half hour ago. I promised I was going to be nice to him for the whole day today, since he allowed me to use his computer and his aircon to write the blog.
On the other hand, he should know better than expecting me to be nice.
Oh well, since I started this, I’m going to add something. Ever since Greek Stavros left Rob’s room and went in the other hotel with the rest of the safety, Rob, feeling very lonely, has been sleeping with a wetsuit placed on one side of his double bed, unfolded in a human-like figure. I’m not the only witness to it. Guillaume saw it too (and don’t ask me what Guillaume was doing in his room, because I do not know).

The swimming pool, which temperature is probably above the mid thirties, to which we refer affectionately like the pissing pool, is a soup of human fluids, snot, spit, body hair, toenails (Sara and Anna have been spotted pedicuring on the pool edge) and bacteria. You look at it, and you get an ear infection.
I had this conversation with some people, and I found out people pee in the pools. I couldn’t believe that.
Call me naïve, but I didn’t know that people are actually relieving their bladders in swimming pools. I always believed the story of the chemicals that make the water red if you pee in it. Once I even had a nightmare about that: I was in a pool with my waterway model 2 (good old times!), and I couldn’t hold it anymore and without being able to control it, I did it. The water did become all red. I wanted to die. Everybody noticed and wanted to hurt me, so I got out and started running. I got on the street with my car key ready to drive away as fast as I could. And my car wasn’t there. Somebody stole it. I woke up all shaky.

About the pedicure, here's some proof

And guess who's foot is this

Yes, it's his: British David King, the most famous transexual in the freediving community.

The French coach saw him and got all excited. Here's a pic of him while is "coaching" Guillaume before his performance.

In order to deal with the pool temperature, the Nordic athletes (Finnish, Danish and Swedish) all showed up with dozens of water bottles containing half frozen water. The coaches were pouring the water on the athletes’ heads during the performances, and obviously it worked, because they were still able to do their usual good times.

One thing that doesn’t have anything to do with the static competition: yesterday morning I was out diving, and after a while British Stuart (member of the UK team, and former student of mine), showed up with not one, but two noodles. Was that a new technique to impress girls?
Oh, now I get it! It must be one of the symptoms of the Noodle Syndrome!

Swedish Hot Johan has apparently the same condition: Swedish team mate Weine has been walking around all morning with a big dick drawn on his back by Johan. It all happened in their room, on Weine’s bed…
Johan, if you read this please contact me. No, it’s not because I want one of your drawings, but remember you want a better picture for your Hotties Challenge? Don’t worry, I have the epilady for you.

Well, enough for today, I’m off diving with Rob and his noodle. Maybe I’ll get to sit on it for a while.


Finally i got a better picture of Johan. here we go

Ops, sorry, i got confused. I meant to put this one:

Friday, September 5, 2008


Today is a day off, hamdulilllah. We’ve been trying to sleep late this morning, but somehow the body went in automatic and I woke up at 7 again.

Plan of the day:
-sneak around and take pictures of the hotties
-eat like a pig
-look for some gossip

I also want to find out who are the hottest girls here. In my humble opinion, I would say the two girls of the safety team (both Freedive Dahab members), and also all the Spinsters team members but maybe I’m not really impartial here. So I’ll go and ask the guys.

By the way, if you want the phone number of any of the Spinsters’ team, drop me a mail and I’ll be happy to comply.

Here 2 pics of the official team (not considering Paoletta and Sara, who are only the reserves)

As for the trend of the year, I noticed all the vulgar jokes about mouthfills and swallowing have been dropped, and instead the most popular line you often hear when you are safetying or coaching is “can you grab my noodle?”
The one who say it more often is definitely Robert the King. He asked me many times. I don’t know if he does that with every other girl.
Yesterday I heard Kirk saying that (or better, screaming it) to safety Katya, in front of everybody. Mandy watch out.
I also heard guys saying that to each other… The other day I was distracted and forgot to grab Rob noodle’s as he asked me, and he gave it to Ricky instead. He said that when he's "in the zone" he doesn't really care who take his noodle.

I really think is a great ice breaker. Not only for a guy to use. Say you (girl) like this guy, you go there and say “do you mind if I seat on your noodle?” or “can I borrow your noodle” or, simply “mmmh, I like your noodle!”
Well, don’t forget he has to be a freediver, and he has to have a noodle (the floating one), or otherwise he would run away quick. Or maybe not.

Ok, let’s get back to the important things, like the real diving.
I’ve seen so many dives these last days, that I remember it all like a blur.
But for sure I remember the more remarkable ones.

First of all, I’d like to remark, once again, that very few freedivers know how to do a proper duck dive.
Next year (and I announce it here officially) Freedive Dahab will organize a half day workshop about duck diving at the WC 2009.
20 euro per person. If half the people who need it sign up, it’ll pay for sure our accommodation for the whole stay.
Also, there are a lot of freedivers that should consider taking a course before showing up at a competition, especially if it is a World Championship.
We give special price for groups.

German Barbara announced the shocking depth of 12mt.The plate was so shining that it blinded us all. Even she told the judges to “please put it at 12, at least”, looking a bit offended, like they were taking the piss.
Apparently, they say, she has so much trouble equalizing that she takes ages to get down. Well, not during that dive. With her powerful carbon fins she rocketed down and up quite fast. Maybe she should slow down and relax a bit; that might help her equalizing troubles. I’m rather sure that was the shallowest announcement in a World Championship.

Deepest dive was announced by Dave (Mullins), with 104. He went just after Ryuzo, who turned at 92 for equalizing problems, I think. Also Dave turned at 92, but because of the deepest announcement he lost more points.

The Kiwi team was actually the favourite, but because of this dive, and especially because of the 33 points penalty of Will, they ended up 5th in the overall result. Ant, my favourite kiwi member, announced “only” 82, and he did a very nice clean dive. His depth is only limited by equalizing, since he keeps losing his cheekful (as he cutely calls it).

Lots of 100 mt dives this year. One was delivered by Martin. One by Greek Manolis, who I think is ripe enough for a WR, but I thing he’s too humble and shy for fame, which I find a very sweet thing.
One more 100 was announced by Guillaume, who chickened out and turned at 98.5, losing 5 points. I can understand if you chicken out at 70 on the way down, thinking is still a long way to go, but Guillaume, 150 centimeters before the plate is silly! On the other hand he’s French, so normal logic doesn’t apply to him.
The last 100 was for Slovak Juraj, who, maybe knowing he was going to win the Hotties Challenge, got distracted and missed the rope on the surface before falling face down unconscious. Pity. But he delivered a very hot smile to the jury when he woke up. He should al least get some points for his perfectly white teeth.

Italian hottie Federico (he’s not on the Hot List just because he’s married and has a kid, just as Ant is, and therefore they are of no interest to the Spinsters team), delivered a beautiful 90, which is the new Italian record. The plan was to share the record with Davide Carrera, who did the same depth the day before, but did the SP half a second too late. Shame: who knows him a bit knows how much he deserves it.

The Italian Men Team is completed by Ilaria, who’s definitely not a man. She did a super easy 60 mt dive, with virtually no training at all. She’s back in competition after a long break, and I’m really happy about that, because she’s good, and because if we find a third member (and if I feel like competing again) we plan to kick asses on the next team competition. The only complain I have against Ilaria is that, like most freedivers she’s not fond of air condition, and she’s forcing me to sleep with no less than 29 degrees.
Why you people don’t like air con? It’s with no doubt the greatest invention of the last century. All these stories about how bad it’s for the sinuses are just myths. Wake up, and enjoy the artificial weather!

Other deep dives were the ones of French Christian (85), Greek Dimitrios (85), Hot Swedish Johan (85), Slovak Martin (81),Finnish Antero (80), French Morgan (80).

Russian Alexey announced 95, which he did very easily, but he got 10 points off for rope violation. Actually he scared me to death, since apparently he did have a BO during the warm-up, and the judges let him dive anyways. As soon as he duck dived I screamed for Stavros to come on my line and to go deep together in case he had a problem. Poor Stavros was still trying to catch his breath after the deep safety for Federico, and he wasn’t looking too happy about the possibility of a deep BO. As it turned out we never made it deeper than 15mt, since there was some mistake on Alexey divetime (which we expected to be 3.15), and he was much quicker than we thought. He came up looking very happy and relaxed. Until he got the yellow card.

The deepest female divers were Natalia (unsurprisingly) with a easy 85 mt, followed by Mandy with 8o mt.
Third deepest was Chzek Jarmila, who already won the Gold last year for CNF. She did a clean 70mt dive.
Other females in the 60 mt range were Brazilian Carol (67) and Russian Natalia (Avseenko) (65) who got both red card but then protested and won (many expressed doubts about the change of the jury decisions). Japanese females all between 60 and 63, all white cards. French Julie (62), American Annabel (61), Italian Ilaria (60), Danish Maria (60), Swedish Annelie did 60 with an almost broken foot.
British MT did 60 but got 50 points for rope violation. American Jessica announced 62 but turned earlier, German Anna announced 60 but turned at 55 disturbed by a cramp.

Now i'm off for some pic hunting. Will get back as soon as i have some good material.


Got the pictures of the Hottie Challenge!!

This is winner Juraj

And this is winner Johan (I have to admit he doesn't look at his best here, will try to get a better shot)

Thursday, September 4, 2008


As usual, things happen, and I’m always late with the updates.
Fact is, I’ve been so busy enjoying myself that I forgot all about my plan of keeping a daily diary on the blog.

The first person I met when I arrived was Guillaume, who finally found out and read my abusive pages about French people on July’s blog, and thought of avenging his fellow countrymen honour by disgracing the Italian population. He threatened me to write an article and reveal some of the things he is witnessing during his stay here in Sharm. Very embarrassing things. And to take pictures to prove them.
If you’ve ever been in a holiday resort for Italians (such as the one we are staying here during WC) you will know immediately which embarrassing things I’m talking about.
Anyways, I thought that was the brightest idea a Frenchman has ever had. I begged him to do that, and promised I’ll post it myself here on this blog.
He said he would work on it, so I’m waiting.

here's a pic of Guillaume with Gianpiero, the shortest safety diver in the world.

This year, the biggest change for me is that I’m here not as a competing athlete, but as a member of the safety team. And it’s being such a blast, that I decided this is all I want to do in a competition from now on.
When I’ve been competing I was always super stressed. When I’ve been judging I was often very bored. But being here as safety is just very funky.

First you get to see every single dive.
You get to see all the black outs and sambas.
If you are lucky you even get to kiss the unconscious good looking freedivers (the ugly ones I leave for the second safety)

Other minor advantages include:
-working on your lactic acid tolerance when you come back from 30 meters with bifins trying to keep up with Ryuzo or Guillaume
-get to congratulate first with every diver (especially the good looking ones)
-kick all the intruders out of the official zone (makes the safety diver feel powerful and important)
-wear the beautiful lycra t-shirt that Marco and Ricky designed for the safety staff
-not having judge Bill checking your lanyard (and invariably breaking it) the night before your dive
-getting to look at the hot Tec diver (the fit one) sitting on the boat edge all morning (waiting to dive in case of a deep accident)
-not having to pay attention during the boring meetings when everybody ask the same questions every single time (and every single year!)

here some pics of the meeting, with various people falling alseep or looking totally stoned

On the other hand, there are some disadvantages.
At the moment, the only one I can come up with is to float in the sea for 5 hours a day with such a rough weather that you risk banging your head against the platform and die.
But then again, it was very funny when the platforms were swinging so wildly under the staff ass to the point several of them fell. My favourite falls were Judge Bill, and rope boy rasta Marco.

here a pic of the safety team 2008

and here one where Ricky is showing his skills as a sinchronized swimmer...he was even wearing waterproof make up, but unfortunately you cannot see it here

The Italian spinsters’ team (of which I am an honourable member) had a votation today to decide who is the hottest Freediver of this year. (Other members being Angela, Silvia-better known as Pina-, plus a married one, Sara and a wannabe spinster, Paoletta)

We came up with two names, Swedish Johan and Slovak Juraj.
I will take pictures of the two and post them here.
If somebody want to file a protest you have 15 minutes.

i just got the team results after the CWT.
1.France, with 260 points
-Nery 98
-Maldame 85
-Bourchis 80

2.Greece, with 257 points
-Giankos 100
-Chatziaslan 85
-Tzaveraliz 72

3.Chzek Republic, with 247 points
-Stepanek 100
-Zlatuska 75
-Vala 72

1.Russia, with 205 points
-Molchanova 85
-Suryakova 55
-Avseenko 65

2.Japan, with 183 points
-Matsumoto 60
-Hirai 63
-Kitahama 60

3.USA, with 171 points
-Wilson 57
-Edwards 60
-Russell 53

I'm afraid for today this will be it. Tomorrow is a day off, so i hope i'll have some time to write some gossip :-)

Monday, August 4, 2008



I think I heard this sentence 300 hundred times a day, during the 3 days we were stuck with a filming crew on a boat in the middle of nowhere for 15 hours a day.
But at least they gave us a lot of chocolate and chips, and sunscreen…

Here you can see the Sinai sunrise as the boat leaves the pier (which means it was veeery early in the morning!)

Here's the meeting before the shooting session

So, the filming crew came from South Africa to film a commercial for BMW. No car in the commercial (it wouldn’t have fit on the boat), just a freediver. More than that: a cool, metallic looking (and sunburnt) freediver, who, with the splashiest duck dive you’ll ever see, swims all the way to 113 meters, comes up, and with the coolest mach look in his eyes smiles at the camera and shows the tag.

The model was Guillaume Nery, who was flown in from France, thrown in the water as soon as he arrived, and left there until 3 hours before his flight to Greece.
It’s a shame we didn’t call the people from the Guinness book, because I’m sure he would have won the world record for the most freedives anybody can do in a day.

Here you see Guillaume in pain after his feet have been squeezed in his tight monofin for 15 hours. On top of that he got a small infection (he must like pain), so the doctor is trying to fix him for the next shooting session.

The director obviously was told that freedivers don’t need to breathe (ever), because as soon as he broke the surface there was somebody there screaming in his ear “ACTION ACTION ACTION!” and the poor guy would dive again.

Here you can see how they're playing with the lights (to make him not looking sunburnt?)

At least he wasn’t requested to do repetitive 113 meters dives (I’m sure it’s just because they didn’t have the right scuba gear to film so deep!). he was diving between 10 and 30 meters, in what can be considered the longest and hardest CO2 table in the freediving history!

Lotta and I were there to provide the knowhow, equipment and being the safety divers. And eat the chocolate.

I don’t think I’ve ever been in the water so much in my life before.
Once in a while we would be allowed to climb on the boat and put a new layer of sunscreen, while the director was already screaming after us “TIME TO WALK THE PLANK!!”.

Here a picture of the director :-)

But hey, on day 2 we had a whale shark visiting us 3 times! Lotta was even caught on film with him. The last time he showed up we all took off and swam after him, while the director, totally unimpressed, was screaming “IF YOU WANT TO SEE A FISH YOU GO TO A FUC***ING AQUARIUM!”
The whale shark must have heard that one, and obviously got very offended, because he never came back again.

Being in the TV changed my little simple life. I feel a much more sophisticated being now. I think I’ll leave the countryside and make my way to Hollywood, in the hope of hearing again the magic words “ACTION ACTION ACTION!”

Here you see the final commercial. 45 hours of water, for a minute of movie.
And hey, i do appear there for about 3 seconds!!! (obviously i'm the one with the funky yellow fins).
Sorry, i'm not advanced enough to post directly the video in here. Apparently i'm ineligible to register to youtube :-(

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


A French friend of mine (yeah, I know what you think, but he doesn’t speak English, so he doesn’t know anything about my francophobia) just sent me this article that appeared a couple of weeks ago on this French gossip magazine, “la gazette Nicoise”.

I am personally very ashamed for its content, but I do feel that the world needs to know, and for this reason I translated and you can find it here below.

“Last week many VIP’s were spotted in our beautiful French riviera. At the same time when Angelina and Brad were giving birth to their 25th and 26th children right here in Nice, two VIP’s of the freediving scene, Lotta Ericson and Francois Gautier, were photographed by some paparazzi while strolling in the romantic alleys of Antibes, a place where several secret love affairs are consumed every summer.

Below you can see the two walking casually beside each other pretending to be friends.

But as soon as they think nobody is watching, Lotta slips a cheeky hand on Francois’ behind.

And here you see the clandestine couple trying to hide from the cameras, as they step out of a romantic little hotel.

And then they get caught in the car, while he’s smelling her underwear!!! (Gosh, underage people, please, cover your innocent eyes!)

Francois lives in Nice since long time, and he was the organizer of the world record event of French freediver Guillaume Nery. Lotta was in Nice for the same event, being the nominated judge together with Linda Paganelli.

Did the two just met there, or they had an affair since long time and this was just one of their many clandestine meetings?

We contacted Paganelli and asked her if she knows anything about the sordid affair.

“I know nothing” she said, “every day Ericson would lock me in our hotel room and order me to scrub the floor, do her laundry and the emailing, and she wouldn’t tell me where she was going. I did notice the underwear disappearance though. Once she forgot the door open, and I escaped and went to the Irish Pub to have a break, and when she found me she slapped me just like Naomi Campbell did with her maid. I felt so very much like poor Cinderella and i cried a lot.”

This episode casts a new light on Ericson, known by many as a selfless and loving wife and mother of one. And the poor Paganelli girl surely doesn’t deserve all this abuse from her business partner.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008



Ok, the news is already a bit old. I admit I have been a bit sloppy with the blog. Many things to do, a bit of celebration, a lot of bureaucracy, paperwork, and finally a rest day.
Now I’m back on track.

As a first thing, the picture of Guillaume after his dive:

Ops, sorry, that was the wrong one.Here we go:

Sorry, another wrong one.Let me try again:

You can see the dive video here

For the French speakers here you find also updates from Guillaume. If you don’t speak French, than is your business.

As for the various parties following the record, the first one was in a pretty restaurant with apparently very nice food, but nobody remember that due to the big amount of champagne flowing in everybody’s glass.

Actually that has ben the first time for me to drink champagne. I know it sounds difficult to believe, but I could never stand even the smell of wine, so I’ve always been suspicious of every beverage related to it. I have to say I enjoyed the experience very much!

More parties are planned for tonight and tomorrow, but I won’t be there reporting that, since I’ll be travelling to Italy tomorrow to see some friends and family.

Yesterday Lotta and I had a blast in the Decathlon in Cannes. We bought so many things we don’t even know how to carry them out of the hotel.
We bought a huge massive buoy for free immersion which is going to make many people happy, especially Robert the King (even though at this moment he’s in Greece and I’m sure he cannot care less).
We also bought a special sled for variable weight, we’re going to take some funky pics and you’ll see what I’m talking about!

When Francois came to pick us up after our shopping orgy I realized it was the saddest moment of my life. I could see myself back in Dahab, without a Decathlon, without an Ikea, no Carrefour, no shops and sales, no shopping. I don’t know if I want to go back. Maybe somebody here wants to adopt me.

To make me feel better, Francois took us to Antibes, which is a very pretty village on the sea, packed with lots of rich rich people. Our plan was to find a rich (part time) husband for me, so that I could stay here few months a year, and go to Decathlon every day. They even have a coffee machine there.

The plan didn’t work quite the way we hoped, so we came back with no husband, and I’m slowly accepting the fact that I’ll have to leave. But Francois promised he’ll keep looking around.

As for the French habits:

Bread update: it is indeed true that when they buy bread, they carry it in their hands. What I didn’t know is that they roll a napkin around their baguette, so that they don’t make it too dirty with their hands (but they don’t seem to be bothered by poisonous gas spat out from car exhausts, or pigeons falling shit, or whatever other aerial bacteria is infesting the place).
Now, what happens if you buy 2 baguettes is that you have no more hands to carry anything else. And this is when you can have 2 more baguettes under your armpits (this is how you make the aromatic bread, and you don’t even pay extra for it). Guillaume though must have found an Italian baker, because I’ve seen with my eyes that they have a proper paper bag for the bread, like in all other civilized countries (actually also in third world countries like Egypt).

Another very puzzling French habit is this kissing business (nothing to do with the French kiss). So, this is how it works: you go to a place where you don’t know anybody, and you have to kiss on both cheeks every single person is in there. Not only: if you meet the same person several times a day, you’ll have to kiss him/her every time. I find it very stressful and time consuming. What was wrong with the old good handshake? Or with the classic oral greeting? (I don’t mean the other kind of oral!). Ok, it might be useful to break the ice when you meet a potential part time husband, which is not very often anyways.

But this just makes me sadly realize why French Patrick (now living in Dahab but not behaving less frenchly than any other French) was kissing us so much every time we met. It was not because he particularly liked us, as we were convinced of. Strangely enough I never saw him walking around Dahab with baguettes under his armpits!

Now I’d better stop, because I just got a mail from a friend who’s going to visit us in Dahab soon, and said I should stop writing these things when I’m still here in France if I want to leave the country alive :-) (thanks for the advice Daan).

2nd JULY

So, I’m in Nice all by myself, sitting in a Irish pub (don’t ask me why) (the answer is that I saw enough French people today) all by myself. The head judge ditched me for some old Danish friends, and she ordered me to write the blog and answer the mail, so this is what I’m doing, while I drink Baileys trying to forget how miserable I’m feeling now…

The big dive is planned for tomorrow. We’ll meet the staff and Guillaume at the pier, and around 10 we’ll have a new WR (we hope).
Guillaume looked chilled and rested today. Hopefully the sea will still be nice and flat tomorrow.

Yesterday we were out on the boat, trying the safety system, which seems to work quite well. We did many dives, to see how the human counterballast was working. There is no big weight to drop, but people pulling up the rope from the boat. I also did a dive to try, and during my descent I felt like I was gonna freeze. It’s SOOO cold! But it’s kind of funky. I’ll dive some more if there is time. Apparently it does miracles to the blood shift. I think the secret is that it freezes the brain, which in response doesn’t burn any oxygen. My doubt is: will the frozen brain cells get back to normal once back on the surface? Looking at all these Nordic freedivers I know, my answer would be no. Guillaume looks pretty normal though. Maybe he’s just pretending.

Today was a day off for everybody. The head judge and myself went on a shopping mission. A very successful one. Lots of new clothes! The problem is that they don’t fit. We’re eating like pigs here, and bellies and buttocks are growing to enormous dimensions.
I’m trying to burn the calories in excess by swimming along the beach every day, but the risk of
-getting run over by a 100mt ferry,
-or by the kayak national team,
-or to be fished up by the dozens fishermen throwing their fishing rods on my head,
-or to be smashed towards the bottom by the many kids diving down from the big rocks
-or to be shot by the few amateur spearfishers swimming around with their weapon (I think they are not so many because they regularly shoot each other by mistake on a regular basis),
-or the kids throwing rocks from the cliff
is very high. Actually I’m quite surprised I’m still alive.

As for my research about the French people, this is what I found so far.
As for the table cloths: I would say that majority of restaurants use them. I don’t know what people do at home though, I’ll have to investigate a bit more on that.
As for the bidet: they definitely don’t have a clue what they are for. My conclusion is that they just don’t wash.
As for their knowledge of any foreign language: they don’t even know that there is such a thing as a language that is not French. When I try to speak English, or Italian, or even Arabic, they just look at me like I have a terminal form of Alzheimer, and they ignore me. This is also why I’m here at the Irish pub. Unfortunately I don’t understand them because they speak some version of English that is too advanced (or too prehistoric) for me.

1st JULY

Just after finishing our 5th Instructor Course, Freedive Dahab jumped on a plane and started a 30 hours trip towards civilization, in the place of Nice, France.
30 hours! You might wonder, did we swim? No, we flew with Alitalia, which is the most unorganized airline in the world (and we know what we’re talking about, since we flew with Egyptair a lot in the past few years!)

some of the survivors of the instructor course

But apart from that it took long because we had a very pleasant 24 hours stopover in Rome.
So, we checked in into a hotel, put on our miniskirts and high heels and went exploring the town. The high heels turned out not to be the smartest idea, since now our feet are covered in un-fashionable blisters, and even more un-fashionable electric tape. Well, the only excuse I have to justify that is that I didn’t quite realized how much bigger than Dahab Rome is, and that it takes a lot of walking to move from one place to the other.

Anyways, the bright side of it is that we got to see St. Peter’s Square, and the Trevi fountain (and nothing else, because we couldn’t walk anymore!). Also, a recommendation for who is planning to visit St. Peter: do not go there with short miniskirt and micro tops, they won’t let you in! Obviously we weren’t thinking that far!
me at trevi fountain, pretending not to have blister pain

Since the blister accident, the other half of Freedive Dahab (Lotta) is happily sipping red wine at every corner, thus forgetting the pain and discomfort. But I’m not worried, we cleverly bought some vodka at the duty free, and now I’m feeling much better, too!

lotta in st. peter, (when she was still sober!)

We landed in Nice on Sunday, and Julie (Guillaume girlfriend) picked us up and delivered us to a pretty hotel with a fantastic view on the bay.
The reason why we are here is that we are the nominated judges of Guillaume world record attempt in constant weight (-113 mt).

Lotta, being a B judge, is obviously the head judge, which means that she can finally boss me around as she pleases, and I have no right to answer anything else than “yes sir”.
We measured the rope straight away, since Guillaume was planning an official training dive the next day.

So yesterday morning, at 7 am our alarm started screaming, miss head jugde kicked me badly out of bed and ordered me to get her some breakfast (ok, I’m exaggerating a bit here, but I truly do feel treated like a slave).
Some more slaves came to take the rope, which was sleeping with us in our room, and carried it down to the pier (Lotta was nice enough to save me from doing this job, since my neck and back are being very dodgy these last few days)(yes, I know, it’s the age), where Francois (Gautier) was ready with the boat and the set up. Everybody else arrived and got ready, and at 10 Guillaume was ready for his dive.
All went well, except that the bottom camera didn’t record anything because it wasn’t turned on! Luckily it was only a training dive.
Since I’m a very discreet person and judge, details about the dive won’t be reported here.

As for the weather conditions, the atmospheric temp is quite high (30+) and quite humid. Sea is flat and friendly. Visibility is not very impressive though (10+), especially for me, since I ever only dive in the Red Sea. Surface temp is around 23C. What is shocking is how much colder it gets at depth! But I was being very cool about that, pretending I wasn’t really noticing the hibernating temperature drop below 20 mt.
Very surprisingly Lotta wasn’t as cool about it, despite her countless scary tales about dives in 4C Swedish waters.
Was she lying the whole time? Maybe she’s not even Swedish after all! Or she’s just getting old and wimpy.

I’ve decided to use these days to dig into the French culture and see if all these prejudices they teach us Italians in school about French people are true. They tell us they are barbarians.
For example, we are taught that they don’t use a table cloth when they eat (only when I started travelling I found out that Italians are the only population to ever use table cloths). Also, we know they don’t have the bidet (or the water pistol). What do the wash with after they’ve been to the toilet? And apparently when they go and buy bread they don’t use paper or plastic bags and they just carry it in their hands.
I want to know how much of it is true.

For example yesterday I found out that here they make cappuccino with coffee, milk, and chocolate!!! How shocking is that?
I will investigate more and keep you updated with more dodgy French habits.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Ok, so this will be the last thing i'm writing about Triple Depth 2008, because we are all tired and we feel it's time to move on with our lives.

Lotta and I are going to be very busy during the next few weeks, with an Instructor Course starting tomorrow, and soon after we'll fly to Nice to be the judges for Guillame Nery WR attempt.

Hopefully the rest of July will be a quiet time so we'll have time to rest and sit home in our air con knitting and cooking :-)

But what I'd like to do here now, is to thank all the staff that worked in TD, and try hard to say something nice about each one of them :-)

The safety

Let's start with the lazy Spanish safety, Miguelito and Alex. They weren't lazy because of bad intention, but just because it's written in their spanish genes. This is why we love them anyways.

The only thing i blame Alex for is his bad smoking habit. He smokes way too much, even though he cut to half his original dose, and as punishment he's always being sent out of Aqua Marina restaurant every time he is seen with a fag in his hand. We are going to abuse him more badly during the Instructor Course, so hopefully he will stop completely.
As for Miguel, he is the antipode of punctuality, and this is why i was so surprised to see him arriving in time for his safety shifts. Maybe that's because he was scared of me, remembering those times when, as my student, he was continually screamed after, especially for showing up late in the mornings (every single one!), using as an excuse the fact that he had to cycle against the wind.

As for Patrick, his bigger fault is being French, but since there’s nothing he (or us) can do about that, we decided to accept him as he is. The good thing is that he’s becoming very funny when drunk, especially when mimicking me during the party.

Marco the Rasta is actually even lazier than the Spanish crew. And on top of that he’s so easily distracted by any female presence, to the point where he only wanted to do the safety for the female athletes, and one time I had to do the safety myself for Liv dive, since Patrick missed an equalization and couldn’t go down, and Marco was looking at bikinis swimming about, missing completely the whole thing. Despite this, and the fact that he admittedly doesn’t wash his hair with shampoo since 1998, everybody loves him, and I have to say I miss him very much, because he’s very funny and nice with everybody.

The official surface videograper, and much more

Dean, our Canadian rock climber instructor(the one on the right in the picture) got caught into the freediving business when he fell in love with beautiful Katya, few months ago. Now that it’s to hot to climb he always comes diving with us, and our favorite pastime is to challenge ourselves in races for the faster rope puller at the end of the dive sessions. He still didn’t beat me, but I know he has a pull up bar in his place, and he’s training hard. He’s been working so hard during the competition, and we thank him from the bottom of our hearts, because without him we would have been in deep trouble.

The land coordinator

Peter Ericson, who can be seen standing in Aqua Marina restaurant with a binocular trying to understand what’s going on inside the Pyramid, and informing the athletes when it’s their time for the official warm-up. He’s also the one in charge of being polite with the tourist police anytime they come over (about 10 times a day) and ask the list of the athletes and nationality (yes, it’s the same every day!). Luckily it doesn’t have to be me doing that, because I’m well known for my short fuse, especially when confronted with useless bureaucracy and inefficiency.

The judges

Obviously I’m not going to thank myself, also because I’ve been a bit useless (I got flu 2 days before the comp). I’d like to thank Katya, who was also uselessly sick, but she’s been there, sitting in the sun the whole day in spite of feeling so weak. And thank you Lotta, for taking charge of everything and not making me feel bad about being absent when there was so much to do.
Judge Lotta wearing her Judge uniform

Next one is Judge Katya in her charming hat

This is me being silly, in a shot of Richard.

The drivers

I’m thanking the drivers only out of diplomacy (which as many of you know, is one of my best qualities :-) Thing is that our bright Bedouin driver Mohamed, got married just few days before the comp, and the wife didn’t want to release him from the bridal bed. So the poor guy had to co-ordinate from home some less bright relatives of his, who were often late, or lost, or didn’t understand, and whatnot.

The Scientist

Dr Erika Schagatay has been sitting on the platform taking measurements of every athlete after their performance, to see how hypoxic they were at the end of their dive (for some of them you didn’t need an oxymeter to see that, believe me), and how long they took before getting back to normal levels (some of them will never go back to normal, I suspect). Hopefully all this research will give us more information and open new doors and shed some light on the mysteries of this beautiful hypoxic sport :-)