In Norway's icy seas, freediver dances with killer whales

January 31, 2023 / 10:28 PM
Sharjah24 - AFP: The world's best freediver, Arthur Guerin-Boeri, braves the freezing Arctic seas off Norway's coast in the dead of night to swim alongside one of the ocean's most dreaded predators: killer whales.
A fin emerges from the gloomy depths off the island of Spildra in the Scandinavian country's far north. The glimpse is all Guerin-Boeri was waiting for.

The Frenchman is a holder of multiple world records in freediving under ice, but he hopes to push the perception of freediving beyond sport and performance.

The Frenchman takes a deep breath and plunges more than 15 metres (49 feet) through the icy waters of Kvaenangen Fjord to watch the whales, which come to the area to hunt herring.

"I'm in the water next to two super-predators that accept me. It's majestic," the 38-year-old said after his first such dive with the mammals.

"They move in a synchronised way, in a kind of ballet. I'd like to follow them but it's impossible, they move too fast and rapidly leave me behind," he added.

Guerin-Boeri prepares for his dives beside a fire as he shelters from the unforgiving weather in a traditional Norwegian hut made from wood and covered with earth and grass.

Guerin-Boeri, a five-time world champion in the dynamic apnea category of competitive freediving, can swim more than 100 metres underwater and hold his breath for several minutes.

On this dive, his main goal was simply to contemplate an awe-inspiring creature and pursue "the excitement of making a discovery".

The dives, he said, are "about 30 seconds, no more."
January 31, 2023 / 10:28 PM

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