Historic first: The Arch

June 1, 2007 - William Winram as he is about to enter the Arch at a near 60 meters below the surface, facing another 30 meters of swimming at that depth through the naturally-occurring passage and, when on the other side of the Arch, another 60 meters to swim back to the surface. All this on a single breath of air, no fins, on his own power, breaststroke style. This was the first time this was ever attempted. Years of training and preparation go into making a dive like this one. DO NOT TRY THIS.

A historic first: The Arch

Blue Hole, Dabab, Egypt – June 1st, 2007

A natural geological occurrence, the Arch is a submerged passage between the Blue Hole and the rest of the reef at a mere 60 meters of depth, long by 30 meters. Until then, the Arch had only been swum by scuba divers and a handful of brave freedivers with their fins, the first one being the legendary Umberto Pelizzari. But never in history had it been traversed unaided by traditional diving equipment. That was until today.

Winram descended into the Blue Hole at 4 p.m. today to enter the Arch only wearing his wetsuit and a dive mask and no propulsive equipment. He disappeared from Natalie Avseenko’s and Fred Buyle’s view at 50 meters of depth. Buyle, former world champion and renowned underwater photographer along with Avseenko were two of his three safety freedivers present for this historic event. He reappeared at the other end and ascended under the watchful eyes of Patrick Schnorf. Fred who was present to witness and photograph this momentous feat was quoted, “It was the most amazing and terrifying thing to witness how insignificant William was dwarfed by the magnitude of the Arch when he disappeared into it”.

The dive took 2 minutes and 36 seconds for Winram to complete after which he gave his safety freedivers a clean surface protocol, to indicate he was alright, tired but happy.

Winram who is currently training in Geneva, Switzerland for the upcoming Indoor Freediving World Championships (held in the beginning of July in Slovenia) arrived just four days ago, making his short preparation for this achievement rather intense, both physically and mentally.