114m, completed !  Equalisation was ok, still not optimal. Return to the surface ok.

For all you non-experts, so that you can familiarise yourselves with the deep diving lingo, I will regularly be giving a few explanations in this journal of some of our most-used terms that are least understood by the general public.

Today's word is equalisation :  Equalisation is the mechanism whereby the increasing pressure created by the water on the eardrum during a descent is equalised using the air volume contained in the lungs. Equalisation is necessary from the beginning to the end of a dive, as pressure increases gradually the deeper the diver goes. Air is carried from the lungs to the ears via the trachea, larynx and Eustachian tube. More often that not, athletes who are unable to reach their attempted depth return to the surface extremely frustrated and express their anger openly :  "I stuffed up my equalisation ! " or "f****** ear ! "  !   !  or, a little more moderate but with just as much disappointment :  "the ears didn't hold out...". This leads us to believe that our auditive system alone determines the outcome of our dives. This of course isn't quite the case, I just wanted to make a point. Poor equalisation is in most cases a direct consequence of other more serious issues :  technical mistake, not enough relaxation or body too rigid when faced with increasing pressure. Indeed, the air volume contained in the lungs is significantly reduced during the descent due to increased pressure. It therefore become more and more difficult to carry the required amount to the ears for equalisation. To do so, an irreproachable technique is used :  optimal relaxation and increased thoracic suppleness.

To come back to my 114m... When I say that equalisation was ok, just not optimal, this is what I meant :  granted, I went all the way to the bottom, equalising all the way, but was not fully relaxed which led me to make several technical errors, thankfully corrected thanks to my diving experience. I won't go into too much technical detail, as that would require me to write pages and pages of explanations.

Concerning the ascent, I was still testing my monofin and don't think I should ever use it again when diving in Crete, as it did not seem to help calm the water down at all. For my entire ascent, I felt like I was at the surface, completely off the mark in terms of movement, constantly looking for the perfect balance in strength, frequency and amplitude without ever attaining perfect harmony between the three.

To finish, the overall conclusion for this 114m is the following :  result achieved without any style. I am not satisfied. When training in Nice (with Claude Chapuis and Loic Leferme), the philosophy I was taught was based on pleasure, patience, teamwork and the idea that diving is only successful if the performance is carried out in style.

For my next dive on Monday, my attempted depth will be decided on Sunday, my day off !  The next planned step was -118m, but plans are never made to be respected.

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