Last night CBS re-aired a 60 Minutes segment from January, featuring an interview with badass British/Caymanian world-champion free diver, Tanya Streeter.
If you're like me, up until recently you had no idea what free diving was. In this potentially lethal sport, the diver goes hundreds of feet into the depths of the ocean with no oxygen tanks or equipment of any kind. Before going down, divers will perform breathing exercises to expand their lungs to the size of watermelons. Streeter has held a whopping 10 world records in the sport free diving, which she attributes to her ability to equalize the pressure against her ears while underwater. I had one of those moments where I could barely watch and barely look away at the same time.
Some divers claim that the without the oxygen tanks they are free to explore the ocean more peacefully. But it doesn't sound very peaceful; Streeter described the pressure on her ears as an "elephant sitting on her chest, stabbing hot pokers in my eardrums." Often times the diver will experience narcosis and become totally disoriented underwater. Streeter was practicing "No-Limits Diving," where was pulled 525 ft down into the ocean by a weighted device, traveling faster than a WWII-era submarine. For the moment she forgot how to get herself back up, and if she'd stayed underwater any longer it would have cost her her life.
Streeter said that free divers don't go that deep into the ocean to look around, but instead to look within. When asked why she continues to dive despite the agony and danger, she simply replied, "I want to see what I'm made of."
Thanks to CBS
Images via gophoto.us