Report from Day 6 of Vertical Blue 2010

Conditions yesterday could have been described as perfect, but today Blue Hole outdid itself, with a jewel of a day: clear blue skies, the perfect ambient temperature and water as still as a mountain lake. It was a day for successes and celebratory conch salads, and both were delivered on time.

Arthur Trousdell and Duncan Brake set up the bottom plate for the day's diving

Alfredo Romo was aiming for his second national record, this time without fins. William Trubridge was coaching him, but he would have been fine by himself, as he swam confidently down to the bottom plate at 47 meters, and returned to make a flawless surface protocol to the judges. He has done very few CNF dives, but as an ex-swimmer his technique is already very defined, and he did not look like he was close to his limit this morning.

Carla-Sue Hanson followed, with a CWT dive to 58 meters. She swam all the way down to the plate, and all the way back in a time of 2:02. Carla is awaiting sinus surgery, so for the meantime she has to put up with a slightly bloody nose at the end of her dives, but her surface protocol was strong, and given that she has still only done a handful of monofin dives we can expect a lot from the intrepid Californian.

Carolina Schrappe was attempting yet another Brazilian record. Like Carla, she kicked through the entire dive, surfacing from 72 meters in the incredible time of 1:56. This ranks her as the 8th deepest freediving woman of all time, and cements her position as the top freediver of Brazil and the South American continent.

Guillaume Nery was attempting 108 meters today. Despite the sunny day, Guillaume had to wear his spearfishing wetsuit, as the thin 1mm suit he used for his last dive meant that he became too cold and narcosis on the bottom was intense. Guillaume easily completed the dive, with a confident surface protocol, so evidently this means that he is now qualified to spear fish at 100 meters - maybe he can bring up one of the delicious Black Snapper that can be found at those depths in the Bahamas!

Misuzu Hirai was once again attempting a national record for Japan, inching through the 70's with a dive to 74 meters. She surfaced and effected a perfect protocol to AIDA judges Grant Graves and Linden Wolbert. This places her as the 6th equal deepest woman freedíver of all time.

Walter Steyn and William Winram were both non-starters today, so Robert King was next, with a big announcement: 90 meters in Constant Weight. He completed the dive in 2:58, meaning he now shares the continental record for North America with Eric Fattah.

Herbert Nitsch was last to compete, and he was looking to take back the Free Immersion (FIM) record broken by William Trubridge yesterday. The two appear to be moving in jumps of two-meter intervals, with Herbert announcing 118 meters today. It took him a full 2:17 just to get to the plate, and then the slight dipping of the platform evidenced that somewhere far down there a man was pulling himself up from a depth that equals the height of this radio mast in Poland (the tallest wooden structure in Europe). Herbert appeared on the surface after 4:38. He made the OK sign to the judges, but when asked if he had the tag, he dipped his mouth to try and find it on his leg, thus disqualifying himself (by rule, airways must be maintained above the surface for at least 30 seconds). The tag had actually detached from the velcro on his legs during the ascent, and was retrieved by safety diver Brian Pucella, so the dive could not have been a world record anyway. A disappointment for Herbert Nitsch, but he now knows that he is

capable of this depth should he wish to attempt it again.

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