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Roland line pull
The first timer

Why did I enroll in freediving lesson?

I enrolled because I have an upcoming trip to Calayan Island this coming April 2023. It will be a 5-day vacation in the remote island of Cagayan with an 11-hour land travel from Manila to Claveria and 5 to 7-hour boat ride from Claveria Port to Calayan Island. Freediving will help me gain my confidence again in open waters.

When I was young, I can swim longer, dive deeper and float effortlessly in an open water. Recently when I tried cliff jumping in Quirino, I found out that I was no longer the same guy who can do such thing. I can float and swim but I easily get tired. From there, I lost my confidence in staying longer in water and I panic if I am no longer in a shallow area. I said to myself, “This is not me! I must do something!”

That’s the reason I enrolled in freediving lesson.


Referral from a good friend

I was lucky that a good friend of mine knows about freediving. She is an expert. Hahaha! (I will not reveal her name) I met her when we did an outreach program in Quirino and she recommended me to contact Coach Carolyn of Rookie Wanders.

I chatted with Coach Carolyn and booked a lesson for me, my daughter and girlfriend.

Rookie wanders
Photo from Rookie Wanders FB page

Oceanarra Beach Hotel and Resort

Our freediving class was held in Oceanarra Beach Hotel and Resort in San Luis, Batangas. The place was good, clean and relaxing. The parking area is spacious too so you have not to worry about parking your vehicle. 

We arrived in Oceanarra at 9:00 AM, perfect time for breakfast. 

There are no accommodation rooms yet in Oceanarra as the construction is ongoing and is expected to be completed in the next few months. We camped at the hill which is also part of the property owned by Oceanarra. More on that later.

Breakfast at Oceanarra Beach Hotel and Resort
Oceanarra 1
Vitamin sea

The freediving class

The class started an hour after our breakfast and we settled in. The class was interesting! We learned how to relax and breathe properly, how to reserve our energy and survive in an open water, how to clean the mask and properly use them including the snorkel. There are some science too so if you miss your biology class, take the freediving class from Coach Carolyn. 

Lecture time with Coach Carolyn
Breathing exercise

Game Time!

We went for the shallow and open water practice after the 2.5-hour lecture. We practiced how to properly use the mask and snorkel, how to remove the water in case it gets inside the mask or snorkel. 

Freedive class 3
Day 1 - G na!
Freedive class 4
Team Lorenzo with Coach Carolyn

Using the mask and snorkel is quite easy because I know somehow how to float and swim but it becomes a challenge if the water gets inside. It is important to regularly apply and practice what Coach Carolyn taught us. 

Breath holding and equalizing are the most difficult part for me and this is the reason why I don’t stay long under the water. Practice and patience are required to improve the breath hold and make the equalization part of the routine. 

We did line diving in a calm water on day 1. Day 2 was more challenging because the wind was blowing and creating waves in the sea compared to the previous day. In addition, I was experiencing body pains due to lack of physical activities, I guess. 

Hannah is relaxing
Day 2 - The wavy sea

I still made some few attempts to polish line diving but way far from perfect. 

While holding the bouy and resting, I enjoyed watching my brave daughter freedive, thread and swim under the sea. She moved gracefully under water! 

Camping at night

We spent our night at the hill. Not much to say here because we slept immediately after pitching our tents. We did not mind if the wind was blowing wildly while our tents resisted.

Hannah the camper
Hannah pitching her tent
Overlooking view
Overlooking view from the hill

Morning walk at the hacienda

Coach Carolyn gave us a quick tour of the hacienda (LOL) before resuming our water activities. We saw the view of the Balayan Bay from the hill, the two cute horses and the garden of the owner.

Hannah and Ganda

The benefits of freediving

We learned a lot during our freediving session with Coach Carolyn – from relaxing exercise which you can do anytime not only in the waters, proper use of tools (mask and snorkel), equalization to line and duck diving. 

The freediving lesson helped me realize my limits which is also an opportunity for improvement. I know I have a challenge with my breath hold and equalization so these are the things that I will focus on in the coming weeks. 

I know too that I am not really in good shape so I really have to reduce weight, trim my tummy and… stop smoking! It requires time, patience and practice but I know I can. Same with the hashtag by Coach Carolyn, for a newbie like me…. #ROOKIECAN!

For freediving lessons, contact Coach Carolyn of Rookie Wanders.

Enjoy the beauty under the sea! 

If you have some tips, suggestions or comments which you want to share, kindly comment below.