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Finding a Few Moments of Pure Joy with Free Dive Instructor @memomedfish

To see the world through a free diver’s eyes, follow @memomedfish on Instagram.

Some four-year-olds are terrified of swimming in the ocean. Memo Arikok (@memomedfish) was not even close to being one of them. His dad, a spear fisherman, taught him free diving, or breath-hold diving, and the now 37-year-old never stopped challenging himself to go deeper.

“All these years taught me one single thing — the ocean is always bigger than you,” Memo says. “Learning how to adapt to the pressure in a place where we are just visitors takes a little bit of time, but the key is to enjoy every single minute of it!”

As an instructor in Turkey’s Gundogan Bay of Bodrum, Memo wants his students to discover a few moments of joy in every dive. “Free diving is the purest form of discovering an underwater world. It can be done as a recreational activity to watch sea life, or more competitively to face your fears, limits and challenges,” he says.

Currently, he is pushing himself with a monofin, a single surface that he attaches to both his feet, which Memo calls “the sports car of underwater swimming.” He bought one originally to help him dive deeper, and to see how it felt. It was instant love, he says. Not exactly like being a merman (unless a merman is “a hairy guy with a tail”), but Memo admits: “I feel I more belong to the ocean world when I wear my monofin.”

German-born Augustus Siebe’s improvements to diving helmets in the 1830s resulted in the first effective and commercially successful closed diving helmet and suit.
The ability to explore the oceans past the shore and shallow waters inspired writers like Jules Verne, as well as lesser known authors in the popular press.   In the early 1900s, the Frank Reade Weekly Magazine, “containing stories of adventures on land, sea & in the air,” regularly pitted its inventor hero and his diving-suit clad companions against undersea foes, showcasing technologically imaginative deep-sea vessels and fantastic undersea creatures.

Learn more about 19th century exploration of the deep sea in this week’s chapter of Fantastic Worlds - Sea Change!

image from: Illustrated & descriptive catalogue A. Siebe, inventor of the close diving dress : established 1820

RUSSIAN FEDERATION, Kazan : Russia’s Victor Minibaev competes in the men’s 10m platform semi-final diving event at the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan on August 1, 2015.    AFP PHOTO / FRANCOIS XAVIER MARIT