Conservation

Being a fish among the fish - © William Winram

Breath-hold diving is an ancient art form that human beings have been using for thousands of years to hunt and gather food from the sea and to earn our livelihoods.  It is still used to this day, by the Ama divers of Japan and the Tahitian Pearl divers to name but a few.
 
Breath-hold diving, by its nature, required an investment in oneself in order to achieve a minimum level of competence and ability and with this investment came an understanding of the sea that did not stem from technology but from an understanding of the self as an aquatic being.
 
We as humans are intimately connected to the sea through the mamalian diving reflex.  Like all other marine mammals, when we hold our breath and descend under the oceans surface, our heart beat slows and our bodies move blood from our arms and legs to the heart and brain.  This is one way that our body tries to safely prolong our time under the oceans surface on a single breath of air.
 
With the advent of technology we somehow lost sight of this connection with the sea.  We became separate from the sea, at best detached observers, and at worst noisy intruders.  Our breathing apparatus creates noise and bubbles which can be construed as signs of aggression by certain marine creatures.  
 
By comparison, breath-hold diving is silent, calm and relaxed and as if the diver was meant to be there, part of the underwater world – or at the least as close as we humans will ever become to belonging.  As a freediver you are also mobile in the underwater world, able to move unencumbered by awkward equipment, in all directions.
 
It is this mobility coupled with silence and years of experience diving on a single breath of air that allow William and his colleague Fred Buyle to assist scientists in their research by using their breath-hold diving skills to place tags, take tissue samples, to photograph and to film the various animals.
 
The research data helps scientists to understand better how to protect these animals.