Freediving

Freediving

Freediving offers both underwater freedom and unique interaction with marine fauna.

As paradoxical as it seems, freediving also teaches us to breathe better. Immersed in water while freediving, our tensions dissolve, our heart rate slows down, and our mind reconnects with the present moment

It is the sport of well-being by excellence!

Here in Santa Maria, you benefit from an environment favorable to free diving exploration. Mobula rays, bicudas, wahoos, groupers, amberjacks, sea turtles share underwater sites befitting of Indiana Jones with their tunnels, arches, caves and canyons.

Because of sea currents and waves, let’s remember that a good physical shape is necessary to enjoy your time with us.

Diving explorations start from the shore or from the marina by boat. At the marina you can find showers, restrooms, and a concession stand. Your equipment is rinsed and hung inside our building. Dry and ready the next day for your next outing.

On site, we limit exploring to 20 meters deep, and training to 35 meters deep. This is to make sure everyone has a pleasant and safe experience. 
You will have an equipped buoy to facilitate your explorations (free immersion, variable weight, help with verticality)

One Day Try Freedive

AIDA 1
Fee: 90€
Insurance included
Prerequisite: Be able to swim 100m non-stop

Program of the day 

  • Freediving introduction / breathing techniques / relaxation / equipment / safety
  • One session of freediving in swimming pool or calm ocean near the shore
  • One session of freediving out in the ocean
  • End with exploration of one of our favorites sites
  • Debriefing

At the end you will have

  • Experienced the basics of freediving including relaxation, full and recovery breath, duck dive, finning, equalization and buddy rescue
  • Dived to a depth of up to 10 meters

Bonus
The one day program can be recognized with the 1st level of freediving (AIDA 1).
Just add 10€ to the price. Possibility of a half-day try freedive (50€, no certification).

Excursion

Fee: 42€
Duration: 2h
Who: Beginner to advanced freediver, scuba diver with try freedive experience or with previous experience in open sea freediving.

Sites (To know more about the excursion sites, please have a look at “diving area”)
Many choices from shore to off shore; all suited to freediving: Big blue, caves, tunnels, archs, rocks.

Species possibly encountered
Groupers, bluefishes, parrotfishes, amberjacks, blacktail combers, damselfishes, triggerfishes, hogfishes, garfishes, bermuda sea chubs, seabreams, derbios, salemas, mackerels, blennys, sardines, scorpionfishes, morays, conger eels, stingrays, turtles, barracudas, wahoos, bonitos, tunas, mobula rays, manta rays, baitballs…

Off Shore Highlights
Discover the magic of Dollabarat, Formigas (full day) and Ambrosio (*)

 

Package 4 days / 8 excursions: Starting at 300€

Possibility of mixing freediving and scubadiving (*). With a waiting time of 12 hours in-between freedives and dives, and a waiting time of 24 hours in-between dives and freedives.

(*) Extra fee. Just ask Steffen or Ondine for a personalized offer.

Courses

AIDA 2

Fee: 220 € (included: 20 € certification fee)
Duration: 2 days (*)
Insurance included
Prerequisite: Be able to swim 200m non-stop without fins or 300m non-stop with bi-fins

At the end of this course, you will have

  • Gained precise freediving knowledge (physiology, equalization, safety)
  • Learned the main technical aspects of freediving: Relaxation, full and recovery breathing, duck dive, finning, use of buoyancy, equalization, buddy rescue from the surface and deep buddy rescue
  • Hold your breath for 2 minutes
  • Covered a dynamic apnea dive of 40 meters
  • Dived to a depth of up to 20 meters (minimum depth required to pass is 16 meters)

Note
This course comes with a written exam (passing score: 75%)

(*) minimum. Based on your initial level, the number of days in the course may not be enough to validate that course for you.
Please, contact us for a personalized offer.

 

AIDA 3

Fee: 320 € (included: 20 € certification fee)
Duration: 3 days (*)
Required: AIDA 2 Level

At the end of this course, you will have

  • Gained in-depth freediving knowledge and used it to progress with your buddy
  • Improved your preparation and present freediving technique
  • Gained new skills such as the free fall
  • Strengthened your skills concerning safety and meeting contingencies
  • Hold your breath for 2 min 45 s
  • Covered a dynamic apnea dive of 55 meters
  • Dived to a depth of up to 30 meters (minimum depth required to pass is 24 meters)

Note
This course comes with a written exam (passing score: 75%)

(*) minimum. Based on your initial level, the number of days in the course may not be enough to validate that course for you.
Please, contact us for a personalized offer.

Special One Day Monofin Course

Fee: 120 €
Prerequisite: Ability to swim, desire to learn the dolphin kick
Bonus: No need to bring a monofin, you will be offered one for the day !

Morning

  • Introduction to the technique: Muscles involved, how the body moves, which parts of it must be locked. On-land exercices
  • First kicks in swimming pool or calm ocean near the shore: Without fins, with short bi-fins and with monofin
  • Debriefing

Afternoon

  • Short briefing on safety when freediving with a monofin
  • Let’s go to the ocean and find friends to swim with ! Ambrosio with its mobula rays could be our favorite (weather permitting), and on the way we may also encounter other sea creatures
  • Debriefing

At the end of this course, you will have

  • Experienced what is to wear a monofin
  • Learnt to swim with one
  • Gotten precious advice if you want to follow the practise
  • Experienced the new sensation of swimming like a dolphin!

Coaching

We offer special skills days to:

  • our snorkeling friends who wish to go further in their practice of the sport
  • our scuba divers who wish to optimize their air consumption and further master their safety procedures
  • our surfing friends who wish to develop their ability to hold their breath longer and serenely

 

Super weeks

Special weeks such as dancing with mobulas, free diving photography, yoga retreat, etc… are organized through the season. Find out more in the link News on our website.

    Ondine – your instructor

    Ondine – your instructor

    “One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.”
    – Antoine de Saint Exupéry, The Little Prince.

    I am a child of the ocean.
    I have forever admired and deeply respected this powerful force of nature.

    When I was young, playing with friends on one of those dangerous beaches of Vendée in France, I would throw myself into those 6 feet high waves, jumping over, and diving through as they came crashing.
    More than once, I felt transported by the forceful rolling wave that does not seem to end till it hurls you down into the sand, scraping your back, leaving you feeling in shock and almost unconscious.
    Today, I encounter the majestic ocean again, way down in the Azores, through a new passion of mine, Free Diving.
    In between, I attended university, worked as a computer engineer, and as a project manager for several companies. I’m also a singer, composing and interpreting my own songs.

    One often returns to one’s first love as a child. I am back and in your company this time.
    Together let’s be marveled, and meet again with the sense of what is essential.

    Freediving offers

    To offer a service of quality, we limit the number of persons to 4 for excursions and to 2 for Try Freedive and for courses (exceptions for families or groups are possible)

    Before taking part in any free diving activities, you will have to complete a medical questionnaire and a liability release form. Minimum age for freediving courses is 16 with parental consent. You should be in good shape and without any congestion conditions when doing freediving.
    Regarding insurance, may we recommend DanEurope.

    Suggestion

    We strongly suggest you plan a stay of at least 7 days. This will give you the best chance to discover the richness of the sites according to weather conditions, and also have a day or two to rest and visit the island. 

     

    Booking & Payment

    • Rental gear (5mm wetsuit, bi fins, snorkel, mask, weight belt): Available for 18€ per day
      Note: Weights are always included in the activity price
    • Extra charges for Ambrosio, Dollabarat and Formigas are to be paid on site. (Only accessible in good weather)

    We do not accept credit cards. Payments are only by bank transfer or in cash on site.
    There are several ATMs on the island.

    For any further questions or to inquire about individual group offers, please contact us via contact tab or Ondine directly by email. We will answer as quickly as possible.

    Terms of payment

    50% deposit upon booking by bank transfer. Balance either 7 days before arrival by bank transfer, or before departure in cash on site.

    Cancellation fees
    Up to 7 days before arrival: 25% of the full price. For cancellations on short notice (less than 7 days) we reserve the right to keep the deposit as a cancellation fee.

    Covid-19
    Due to current situation, all cancellations related to Covid-19 are accepted without any cancellation fee. Furthermore for any kind of bookings we do not charge deposits until further notice. (March 2021)

    Place of venue: Vila do Porto, Santa Maria, Azores, Portugal