WHY FREEDIVE IN THE GILI ISLANDS

   

  

There are many incredible places in the world where the ocean is calm, with warm turquoise waters, an abundant array of marine species, set amongst beautiful surroundings. And luckily for us, the Gili Islands tick all theses boxes.

Freediving can be a challenging endeavour, especially in the beginning. But we believe that this is one of the benefits...by overcoming these challenges we receive a great sense of reward and achievement!!

Having the correct environment in which to learn can impact your experience greatly, and we at Freedive Blue Marine Gili Air, believe that we have all of the elements to make for the perfect freediving conditions.

 

CALM SURFACE CONDITIONS
Most of the year we have flat surface conditions, the ocean surface at these times can often be compared to a sheet of glass. Your relaxation phase (calm, slow breathing prior to freediving) is much easier during these times. And even outside of these months we often have much calmer surface conditions than can be found in many other freediving locations.

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WARM WATER
Water temperatures on the Gili Islands range from 27 to 30 degrees throughout the year. During courses we still offer wetsuits to ensure your comfort and protection from the sun, but for most people a simple swimsuit will suffice for your recreational freediving.
P.S We also have great weather outside of the water :-)

GREAT VISIBILITY
April through to October is when the water visibility is at it's best on the Gili Islands, ranging from 20 meters all the way up to 50 meters. This visibility allows us to see marine life clearly, and when freediving in 'the blue' it makes for a spectacular ambiance!

AN ABUNDANCE OF MARINE LIFE
Where to start...Turtles, Turtles, Turtles...they're everywhere. Not only are the Gili Islands known as 'turtle capital of the world', we are also known for our variety of marine species. The list is too long to mention here, but just to name a few:
Scorpion Fish, Lion Fish, Octopus, Sharks, Moray Eels, Sting Rays, Clown Fish, Sea Horse, Shrimps, Nudibranch, Star Fish, Tuna, Trevally, Barracuda, Parrot Fish, Puffer Fish, Box Fish ... And very occasionally, if you're lucky ... Whale Sharks and Manta Rays!!

DEPTH
Many freedivers, believe it or not, are actually limited by the depth of the ocean, which can be frustrating. In the Gili Islands we generally do drift diving, which allows us to find an area where we can maintain a required depth suited for each dive. 

WEATHER
The Gili Islands have two seasons, dry season, and wet season. Luckily the wet season is fairly short and generally does not disrupt life on the island, nor in the waters. Dry season runs from April through to November, where we have beautifully sunny tropical days, with temperatures averaging 30 degrees celsius. Then gradually wet season creeps in during December through to March. Temperatures don't tend to change too much from dry season, but there is the addition of rain. But don't let that put you off ... the rains tend to come during the afternoon and evenings, this allows our freediving courses to run with little interruption.

FREEDIVE SAFETY TIPS

Here at Freedive Blue Marine Gili Air, our main priority is safety. During the freediving courses here in Gili Air you will learn all about safety and rescue procedures. To get started we have listed below a few of the main considerations to ensure that your freediving experiences stay as risk-free as possible:

ALWAYS FREEDIVE WITH A BUDDY!!

BE RELAXED - BREATHING SHOULD ALWAYS BE CALM AND SLOW - NEVER HYPERVENTILATE!!

CORRECT YOUR BUOYANCY - NEVER DIVE OVERWEIGHTED

BE SURE TO TAKE A REST INBETWEEN DIVES

REMOVE YOUR SNORKEL WHILST UNDERWATER

DON'T EXHALE DURING YOUR DIVE - NO BUBBLES = NO TROUBLES

NEVER PUSH YOUR LIMITS - BE SENSIBLE AND LISTEN TO YOUR BODY

BE SURE TO EQUALISE GENTLY AND OFTEN - EQUALISATIONS SHOULD NOT BE FORCED

LEAVE AT LEAST 12 HOURS BETWEEN SCUBA DIVING AND FREEDIVING

BE VISIBLE IN THE WATER - IDEALLY TAKE A SURFACE MARKER BUOY TO ALERT BOAT TRAFFIC OF YOUR PRESENCE

Freedive Blue Marine, Gili AIr Freediving Centre...
Discover the peace and tranquility of the ocean with just ONE BREATH!!
Let our experienced instructors guide you through your freedive journey with passion, knowledge and fun.
We offer beginner & advanced courses, as well as training and coaching sessions.

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EXPLORE THE OCEAN SAFELY & RESPONSIBLY

One of the many benefits of Freediving is that we have the opportunity to be one with marine life. The lack of bubbles and noise from freedivers allows for closer encounters, a more organic experience, and an insight into natural marine behaviour.

Here at Freedive Blue Marine we always want to ensure that we are acting in the best interests of both ourselves and our environment when we are underwater. This will keep us safe from unintentional harm, and also it will ensure the conservation and protection of our oceans and reef life.

Follow these step while freediving:

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LOOK BUT DON’T TOUCH

Refrain from chasing or touching the marine life. Touching or harassing marine life is completely unacceptable behaviour. It can harm both the animal, and well as yourself. Always act with responsibility and respect when visiting the underwater world.

Corals have a natural barrier that protects them from disease. If you touch the coral, you break this natural biofilm, leaving them open to infection. Many divers think gloves give them free reign to touch everything – gloves do not protect coral.

Not only can touching sea life be harmful to the creature itself, but also to you. Much of the marine life you find around the Gili Islands (and in the ocean in general), have defence mechanisms, meaning that if you accidentally touch, or provoke them, they may defend themselves using these defences which can lead to injury, or even death.

 

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BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR FINS & NEVER STAND ON THE REEF

Corals grow slowly and are fragile – they are easily damaged and take a long time to recover. One accidental scrape from you fin can result in either permanent coral damage, or best case scenario - damage that will take years to repair. The same goes for standing, sitting or resting on the corals. Having the correct buoyancy will help you with this.

WEAR ONLY REEF-SAFE SUNSCREEN

It is estimated that 4,000–6,000 tonnes of sunscreen washes off our bodies and onto coral reefs every year. Certain ingredients in sunscreens are toxic to corals and reef fish, and can cause coral bleaching. There are now reef-safe varieties that use alternative compounds that are much less detrimental to the marine environment. Do your research.

TAKE NOTHING BUT PHOTOS

If it is found there, it should stay there. Do not collect shells or corals. The same applies for shells on a beach. These provide homes for a wide variety of marine life including crabs and octopuses. You should also dispose of litter properly – leave nothing in the ocean, and only footprints on the beach.

THANKS FOR READING AND HAPPY FREEDIVING

Freedive Blue Marine, Gili AIr Freediving Centre...
Discover the peace and tranquility of the ocean with just ONE BREATH!!
Let our experienced instructors guide you through your freedive journey with passion, knowledge and fun.
We offer beginner & advanced courses, as well as training and coaching sessions.

Check out our TRIP ADVISOR REVIEWS
Like us on FACEBOOK
Or CONTACT US if you have any questions

 

SPECIES - TURLES

The Gili’s are renowned for their Turtles, and during each Freediving Course we endeavour to find you at least a couple of these beautiful creatures (and we are usually successful!!).

There are two main species which reside just 100 meters from our dive resort; The Green Sea Turtle and The Hawksbill.

Read on to see the identifying features of these species, along with other informative facts:

            

     

    

GREEN SEA TURTLE

Scientific Name: Chelonia Mydas
Average Adult Size: 83 to 114cm
Average Adult Weight: 110 to 190 kg
Life Span: Approx 80 years
Identifying Features:
• Smooth shell, which is pointed at the rear,
• 1 claw on each flipper
• Small, blunt head with a serrated jaw
Habitat:
Typically near the coastline and around islands, in bays and protected shores, especially in areas with seagrass beds.

 

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HAWKSBILL

Scientific Name: Eretmochelys Imbricata
Average Adult Size: 71 to 89 cm
Average Adult Weight: 46 to 70 kg
Life Span: Approx 40 years
Identifying Features:
• 
Hawk-like beak,
• Two claws on each flipper
• Overlapping scutes (plates) on the carapace (shell)
Habitat:
Typically found around coastal reefs, rocky areas, estuaries and lagoons

Freedive Blue Marine, Gili AIr Freediving Centre...
Discover the peace and tranquility of the ocean with just ONE BREATH!!
Let our experienced instructors guide you through your freedive journey with passion, knowledge and fun.
We offer beginner & advanced courses, as well as training and coaching sessions.

Check out our TRIP ADVISOR REVIEWS
Like us on FACEBOOK
Or CONTACT US if you have any questions

FREEDIVING DISCIPLINES

‘Freediving’ is quite a general term, which encompasses ‘anything we do underwater while holding our breath’

We use various types of equipment, allowing use to perform different styles of descent and ascent.

Below are the details of the 8 most common types of free diving disciplines:

OCEAN DISCIPLINES (x5)

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• CONSTANT WEIGHT (WITH FINS)
Bi-fins or monofin used for descent & ascent

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• CONSTANT WEIGHT (NO FINS)
Arm & leg strokes used for descent & ascent (without the use of fins)

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• FREE IMMERSION
Pulling down and up a rope using only arms

• VARIABLE WEIGHT
Weighted sled brings diver down, diver then makes their own way back up to surface using either fins, or just arm and leg strokes (no fins)

• NO LIMITS
Weighted sled brings diver down, inflated bag/ balloon brings diver back up to surface

POOL DISCIPLINES (x3)

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• DYNAMIC (WITH FINS)
Bi-fins or monofin used to swim longest distance in a pool (underwater laps)

• DYNAMIC (NO FINS)
Arm & leg strokes used to swim longest distance in a pool (underwater laps), without the assistance of fins

• STATIC APNEA
Breath-hold in a pool without movement

Freedive Blue Marine, Gili AIr Freediving Centre...
Discover the peace and tranquility of the ocean with just ONE BREATH!!
Let our experienced instructors guide you through your freedive journey with passion, knowledge and fun.
We offer beginner & advanced courses, as well as training and coaching sessions.

Check out our TRIP ADVISOR REVIEWS
Like us on FACEBOOK
Or CONTACT US if you have any questions

Exploring Hans Reef

Hans Reef is the perfect site on which to practice your freediving skills during the course. 

Located on the North-East corner of Gili Air, this area is renowned for it’s turtles, plus a vast array of different sea-life to be found along the way.

Situated on a sandy slope, we have a variety of depth options, all of which have their own special features.

7 TO 12 METERS

Towards the bottom of the slope is the main focal point of Hans Reef…the ‘Brainiac’. A large rock formation with a lot of coral growth and many holes and crevices where we can find Morray Eels, octopus, and lion fish. Surrounding the bommie we see many schooling fish such as squirrel fish, fusiliers, surgeon fish, squid, and more. Also, on the top of the Brainiac is a hole where turtles occasionally go for a little sleep.

Adjacent to the Brainiac is a sandy plateau with a scattering of coral bommies, often we will see 3 or 4 turtles sitting on the plateau, a favourite spot for them to take a rest.

Also, in the blue, we see the turtles surfacing for a breath of air…

Freedive Blue Marine_Student_Hans Reef

5 TO 7 METERS

West of the Brainiac & Plateau we shallow up to find large patches of coral, with a few smaller rock formations, separated by a sandy bottom. If you’re lucky you will find the very well camouflaged scorpion fish, more turtles, long-horned cowfish, and puffer fish.

The list of sea-life here is pretty endless, but here are the main things to look out for:

Turtles! Turtles! Turtles!
Morray Eel
Blue Spotted Sting Ray
Lion Fish
Fusilier
Sergeant Fish
Parrot Fish
Moorish Idol
Trigger Fish
Blue Sea Star
Puffer Fish
Scorpion Fish
Squid
Cuttle Fish
Mantis Shrimp
& lots more!!!

Conditions are fab in the Gili Islands. Most of the year round we have visibility reaching 20 meters, sometimes more. In rainy season (January - March) visibility can be reduced, but usually not drastically. The average water temperature is 28-30 degrees Celsius. Due to the currents that are often present in the waters around the Gili Islands, we drift where the currents take us. This then allows us more energy to explore…it’s a free ride!

REMEMBER

The Rules of Freediving
• Never Freedive alone. 
• Do not hyperventilate. 
• Leave 12 hours between free diving and scuba (and vice-versa). 
• Be aware of the boat traffic around (ideally take a buoy).
• Do not push your limits - listen to your body.

Respect the ocean…
When free diving do not touch any of the corals or any of the sea life. It can endanger you, and it can harm the creatures/ corals. Be aware of your fins, and do not stand on the corals.

Freedive Blue Marine, Gili AIr Freediving Centre...
Discover the peace and tranquility of the ocean with just ONE BREATH!!
Let our experienced instructors guide you through your freedive journey with passion, knowledge and fun.
We offer beginner & advanced courses, as well as training and coaching sessions.

Check out our TRIP ADVISOR REVIEWS
Like us on FACEBOOK
Or CONTACT US if you have any questions