Of course, I’ve drawn breath all my life, but I really learned how to breathe on a freediving trip in the Bahamas. Liz Parkinson, one of my favorite friends and an ex-college roommate, had invited me to the West End of Grand Bahamas to tag along on a freediving trip with tiger sharks, something that I have always wanted to do. Liz swims with sharks for a living in the name of conservation, and while most people find them terrifying, swimming next to, and coexisting with, large fishy predators is her passion and she is amazing at it.
Although I’ve always thought of myself as a fairly decent freediver, I’d never really spent any time learning the fundamentals behind it; cruising next to a 16-foot pregnant female tiger shark on just one breath really put my relaxation skills (or lack thereof) into perspective. Trying to keep your heart rate down when an animal the size of a Volkswagen Bus is swimming at you isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do.