PART 1 : 14/03 - 24/03/ 2004
"Blessed by the sea"
Patrick left the Belgian cold and sad weather for a 10 days intensive training in the Red Sea. He arrived at Hurghada's airport on the 14th of March loaded with his free diving equipment: rope, sled..
Living in Belgium he had not been in the water for almost a year and had anticipated that this long period of inactivity would affect his performances. Therefore he had been preparing himself physically and mentally for the last 2 months in the gym. In the meantime he had worked a lot on a new ears equalization method, which he believes will take him one day beyond the 200 meters! Once in Hurghada, he designed a new sled and started the training. The first dives were necessary to get his body used to the pressure again, to test his new technique, and to start a routine with the safety team supervised by Mr. Alaa Eldin.
On the 4th training, the team was already prepared for a 100 meters dive! For the occasion, Essam and Hitham Mohran accompanied by Tarek, closed their dive shop to join the safety team. A last modification brought to the sled improved its efficiency and gave him a free fall speed of 2.8 m/s. Unfortunately, due to weather circumstances and logistic issue related, they had to review their plan and set the maximum depth to 84 m.
For the 5th training, the team was ready to cope with any weather conditions. It was his last dive before taking off for Belgium. The new equalization method was working perfectly and they had a 100 meters straight line under the boat.Once every divers had taken their position, the count down started: minus 3 minutes, 2 minutes, 1, Go! Patrick closed his eyes, took a deep breath and submerged:
"...For me time had stopped, I was living on pure sensations and could feel the increasing pressure on every inches of my body. At 40 meters Adam Sadek gave me the signal. I relaxed and could hear my heartbeat slowing down. My lungs were squeezed by the pressure, and still, I had no need to breathe..
Dropping down at almost 3 meters per seconds put you in a transit state of mind. At 100m, I opened my eyes and even without mask I could see and feel the beauty of the sea. I opened the tank valve and the lift bag started filling up. After few enjoyable seconds, the sled started moving up and brought me on my journey back to the surface. After the dive, while Alaa and Adam were still making their decompression stop at 3 meters, a beautiful manta ray came out of the blue and stopped two meters away from us. She remained there and stared at us for a while. Astonished by her grace and softness, I couldn't hold back my tears in front of her beauty."
"I feel like I' ve been blessed and I like to imagine that the Sea sent me her ambassador to congratulate and invite me to come back."