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!

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