Freediving under the ice is an adventure one will never forget.
Natascha Leisi about diving under the ice.
A few words about the weekend
After an icy journey up the Julierpass with lots of snowfall, Len, Dani and I made it back to the region of Engadin on Friday noon. As soon as we arrived, the sky opened up. Sunshine and only partly cloudy sky. The first harbingers for the dreamlike weather conditions that will accompany us the following 2 days.
First, we familiarize ourselves with the conditions on site. The anticipation is great. This year the ice was covered by about 70 cm of powdery snow directly followed by the ice. Excellent! Last year we struggled through a layer of slush until we reached the first ice, followed by water, followed by ice. This time it was much easier.
Breaking the Ice
Within a short time we uncovered a triangular area with a diameter of about 3 meters. Luckily we were a bit warmer after that.
This year we got a manual ice drill and a Finnish ice saw. The first drills with new equipment can begin! The ice drill is very sharp and works best with enough pressure from above and slow and steady circular movements. We drilled about 9-14 holes along the outside and cross connections Inside our triangle, which will later be the ice hole. Slowly but steadily, piece by piece, we connected hole to hole and sawed open the 40 cm thick ice surface.
Ice Diving was beyond expectations.
Better than diving with a shark from a cage!
Soon we were no longer alone on the ice. About 20 meters next to us, other people were loudly working around with the chainsaw to also get a hole free. This was, fortunately only for a short period of time, the end of the idyll on and under the ice. And I couldn't stop wondering to what extent the hibernation of the fish is affected. In the sea I know that noise definitely has an influence on the underwater worlds.
I'm very glad that we made the investment in sustainable tools with Karuna this year and no longer have to rely on a chainsaw! Really a good move, thank you so much for this!
After 2 hours it is done. The ice is cut free. However, the work is not done with that. Next, the pieces of ice have to be pushed far away under the ice so that they don't get in our way while diving for the next two days.
And that can only be done in the water! After more than 2 hours at minus temperatures in the 2 digit range and an always sinking sun level - we have to overcome ourselves a little bit. Because going into the water means: changing clothes at the parking lot. My fingers are almost frozen from photographing and filming, so I decided to document the event from the outside. Dani and Len are the heroes of the afternoon. Hardly in the suit and already on the way walking 50 meters from the parked car down the ice surface.
The ice is free!
Len and Dani broke into the loose ice pieces in a controlled way and pushed the pieces of ice far away under the ice. Even if the sun has already disappeared behind the mountains, the vibes are great! Bravo guys! In about 20 minutes the hole is freed from ice. We are ready for the weekend. Ready for our students.
Back at the hotel we warmed up. The day ends with a cozy briefing dinner together with all participating freedivers. Everybody is looking forward to diving with us under the ice upcoming 2 days!
Off to a new adventure under the ice!
The crew is complete. We accompany 5 participants under the ice. For all of them it is the first time!
Minimum requirement for joining this adventure with us is a level 1 certificate for free diving from any organization and a diving health certificate (our Blog Tip) and diving insurance. We will help our participants to choose the right equipment. This event is not about diving deep. The focus is on the experience of diving under the ice and getting to know a whole new perspective in a playful way.
The scenery on the Silsersee is majestic and could not be more beautiful. The sun is shining, the sky is blue. We are surrounded by snow-capped mountains.
Before the first session starts, Dani and Len clear the ice. Overnight the hole is already frozen 5 cm thick again.
30 minutes later Daniel, Stefan and Marko go ahead and open the first session! We want to approach the ice cold water with respect and calmness. The water is clear and flooded with light. The visibility reaches almost 20 meters.
I follow their first steps under the ice with my new Gopro 10 and am very amazed at their abilities. We accompany the divers under the ice, giving them the confidence and safety that we are there with them. At the same time we want to give them the opportunity to make their own experiences and enjoy the beauty and silence safely. The footage captured is overwhelming. Each video reveals the individual beautiful character of the divers. Everyone moves very naturally, calmly and relaxed under the ice. The mood is very good, everyone emerges with a big smile on their lips. Overwhelmed by the impressions under the ice. The cam must only follow and capture.
Of course, we give useful tips in between and have also sufficiently informed the group about the safety under the ice. All participants are secured by a rope when diving under the ice. In addition, someone is always there to watch the divers.
Parallel, Valdy heats up the tent sauna so that everyone can warm up again after the ice diving and no one is cold for too long.
Never stop challenging yourself and stay curious in life.
I could not imagine how I would react to the cold but I really enjoyed the cold. Ice freediving is on another level!
Francisca about diving under the ice.
"I am in love with the underwater world for as long as I can remember. I didn't know how to swim yet, but I was already diving." Swiss Freediving Champion 2021