“My eyes closed, rocked by the water, my breath at peace. I relaxed completely. A couple of minutes and sleep was moments away – the time had come – I opened my eyes and focused on the dive. My last exhalation pushed out all the air left in me and I inhaled as much as was possible, gently removed my snorkel and unclipped the safety catch. I let the weight pull me down.”
Emma Farrell, from One Breath – A Reflection on Freediving
I have always been fascinated by the underwater world and particularly diving with no more than the breath in your lungs. At the age of 9 I lived in Brunei for a year and spent most of my time in the pool and sea. In that year I went from non swimmer to falling in love with the floating isolation that comes from being beneath the surface.
By the time I left I was able to swim over 3/4 of the olympic size pool underwater. The deep end of the pool had a 10m board and the pool was over 4m deep to accommodate the diving boards and I loved nothing more than swimming widths along the bottom at the deep end watching people above landing in the water in a haze of a million bubbles.
At 15 I fell in love with the film The Big Blue and longed to recapture the passion I had developed only a few years earlier but, like so many, my Freediving remained an unfulfilled desire apart from the odd snorkelling session.
At the age of thirty my interest in breath hold diving was rekindled and I read all the books on the subject and searched forums and visited websites until I came across Deeperblue.net, now DeeperBlue.com, and booked myself onto one of their Freediving courses held in the Submarine Escape Training Tank (SETT), Gosport, UK. The course was well run and I was lucky enough to be taught by Sam Kirby and Emma Farrell.
My enthusiasm was stoked and I found it eye opening that such an accessible course existed which could safely introduce so many to this wonderful sport. Along with this new found interest went a realisation that unfortunately there was not much on the market in way of good books on the subject of Freediving.
I had stayed in contact with Emma Farrell and mentioned to her that I thought there was a gap in the market for a book on Freediving and she said she had been wanting to write one.
Emma had already prepared a DepperBlue manual to accompany the freediving courses. We also knew that there was a manual of freediving being developed by Umberto Pelizzari at the time with a bigger budget than we could ever match and neither of us felt inspired to write or produce such a book.
The book we wished to write and produce would be one to inspire and kindle an interest in the mindset and approach of a freediver to the sea and to life more generally – by being aware of the breath and the utter importance of each remarkable breath we take. We also wanted to publish a book that would be as beautiful to look at as it would be to read and devour mindfully. A reflection of Emma’s experiences both as a freediver and an instructor.
It was agreed Emma would write the book and Pynto would design and publish. Emma wrote a few chapters but life caught up with us all and it was a few months before we saw a real plan in place and Emma’s writing develop and blossom.
We needed good quality images to truly convey this story. We approached Fred Buyle, an extremely talented freediver and underwater photographer, who was keen to join the project and very forthcoming with his images. Fred’s amazing underwater photography is remarkably taken on one breath – and my favourite photogragh is one taken at 55m of another freediver surprising three scuba divers. Simply amazing…55m…over 150feet!!
Chantal – a book editor and former colleague of Tamsin’s, agreed to edit the book professionally. Chantal worked closely with Emma and helped enormously to fulfill the potential within the writing and structure the book.
Tamsin and I worked on the design of the book. We tweaked it until it was just right and picked the images. Emma approached Tim Ecott and Tanya Streeter to review the book and write a foreword which they both very kindly agreed to.
In October 2006 – two years from my first freediving course and meeting Emma – the book was finished and a huge print order was placed.
Emma had been busy with pre-launch marketing since she had finished writing. When it was published it was well received with great national and international coverage and the UK scuba magazines gave great reviews. Our pre launch sales almost covered the cost of print and so our risk and gamble had paid off.
The book continues to sell well and despite the huge work load at the time I am so very proud of the book and the personal achievement it represents to all involved. A big thank you from me to all. And thank you to the several thousand who have supported us and bought the book and the wonderful feedback we receive each week.
Learn more about the book One Breath – A Reflection on Freediving.