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Wednesday, January 12

The Air Cavity Flooding

Throughout the centuries, people have used different techniques to dive deeper and longer. Whereas our ancestors used their lungs to explore the underwater treasures, using air filled bladder from animals and other artifacts announced the venue of our modern scuba tanks.

Submit to laws of physics, a body immersed has to cope with the increasing ambient pressure (+1 kg/cm2 every 10 meters). At great depth, it is impossible to counter the pressure on the air cavities by using air from collapsed lungs.

Through the years, breath-hold divers improved their body control (eg. diaphragm, lung packing), fine tuned their equalization techniques (Vasalva, Frenzel, ...), and learned to manage and to store air outside their lungs (eg. stomach, mouth). But counting on an air volume doomed to disappear (no matter what artifact used), unless you go for the foolish idea of bursting you eardrums, depth can only be stretched up to a certain extent = limit.

The ACF, a water- instead of air- based technique, is the outcome of a reflexion on the human being lifting, once and for all, the human barrier (when it comes to pressure constraints on the air cavities, of course). Don't worry, I still have tons of other things to solve/understand to sustain my progression. The principle: liquid are incompressible, meaning that if my ears and sinuses are filled with liquid (water) they will not be submitted to pressure any more. Simple, right?

Here is an excerpt from the article published by Dr Peter Germonprez, Constantino Balestra (and myself), in the British Journal Sports Med., in Oct 2010:

Passive Flooding of paranasal sinuses and middle ears as a method of equalization in extreme breath-hold diving:

'....Our subject is a 36-year-old physical therapist, who started breath-hold diving (BHD) at the age of 28. During the first 3 years, he used the conventional BHD techniques of equalising rigid air spaces by repeated Valsalva manoeuvres. Then, finding that these techniques were possibly traumatic and required active muscle contraction, he started training in passive equalisation techniques. This involves keeping the nostrils open during the descent, and allowing water to passively enter the nasal cavity into the maxillary sinus ostia and Eustachian tubes as the air volume decreases with depth.

Over the years, he perfected this technique, and now it has become a quite natural BHD behaviour for him, inasmuch as he finds difficult to switch back to the conventional techniques.

Using this technique, he attained in June 2005, in the course of a few days with increasingly deep BH dives, a new record depth of 209m, 38 m deeper than the previous record. Using MRI, we obtained images of his sinuses and middle ear cavities before (figure 1,2) and after (figures 3,4) instilling water through the nostrils.

To do this, he simply used tap water, from a plastic bottle, poured sequentially into each nostril. By rotating the head in various positions, our subject was able to fill most of his sinuses and middle ears with water, without any noticeable reflex reactions (sneezing, coughing), pain or discomfort.

On the MRI images, water can be clearly seen, not only in the maxillary, ethmoid and sphenoid sinuses, but also in the middle-ear cavity and in the mastoid recess. After the imaging, only part of the water was passively evacuated by raising the head in an upright position, the rest was evacuated progressively over the next few hours...'

It goes without saying: DON'T TRY THIS at home! FYI, the article also outlined the potential risks of such technique applied to human.

Tuesday, January 4

Mother nature

November training confirmed the evolution in my technique as I no longer need to fill my lungs to reach extreme depth. Technique that I've been trying to fine-tune for 6 months. It hasn't been easy. Lots of trial and errors invited me to reconsider this option and almost had me giving up. I'm sure you all now too well the feeling of frustration when experiencing new challenges...
The idea is to copycat certain species of seals, which barely fill their lungs before diving to extreme depth. About it, different theories exist: for buoyancy purposes? to reduce nitrogen intake and decrease risks of decompression accidents?...Once again, mother nature is here to lead me in my progression.
'Innovation is often a transfer of one principle to another field of application.'

My partner SECTOR and I are planning the Absolute No Limit world record attempt in 2011. Two training sessions have been planned before the mammoth jump below the 200m. For the first session (Jan. 10th-24th), I will join Mr Alaa El Din and his team in Hurghada, and train to 140m.

Saturday, January 1

76m of pure friendship

In 1999, around a perfect family diner table, Jean Fran├žois, an old (are we?) friend from Kinshasa and I decided to celebrate our 40th birthday with a unique experience: to share the pleasure of a deep tandem.
Back then, J-F could barely hold his breath, let alone, dive on a single breath of air. But, adept of extreme endeavors he understood that depth progression was above all a repositioning of him Self.
We started training, discussing, practicing together, and in November 2010 (his 3rd diving session) our dream came through with a 76m dive of friendship. Magical, indescribable moments.
J-F progression supports my idea that free diving is a state of mind; that depth is not solely a matter of competition restricted to elite divers. Understanding, respecting and listening to one's inner body and soul is the key.

Traditional record: the origin

First announced through the documentary "Waving At My Ancestors" (Peter De Mulder) than foreseen on September 2010, the project has been postponed but the quest remains anchored deep in my heart.

Origin of the Traditional Quest: I discovered Egypt and his traditions through Mr. Alaa El Din, in 2002. In 2004, preparing "The Ultimate Dive", my trips to Egypt became frequent. During one of these trips, Alaa asked a holly man to bless me (we all knew the risks my project involved). The gesture touched me, and I can still hear the litany of the words.

'Al Hamdulillah!' 'Allah!', words pronounced by Alaa and his sailors accompanied each of my dives while I was diving deeper and deeper in the unknown.

In November 2007, 2 years after 'The Ultimate Dive' I started diving again. And during the filming of a commercial in Indonesia, felt the solemn call of the sea and the urge to communicate with the silent of depths again. Two months later I returned to see Mr. Alaa El Din, in Egypt who brought me back to the dive site, which has become sacred to me: Abu Ramada.

Without my sled, I tied a weight belt to a rope, got rid of mask and fins, and dropped to 40m holding the weights with my hand.

Back on the boat, Alaa explained me the culture of the pearl divers of the Middle East who used to hold the weight with their bare feet. Within no time I was back into the water to try and ended up practicing on 30, 70 and finally 100metres.

Emotions are complex to explain. If in modern No Limit, the stretched rope shows me the way, it felt here like getting deeper into virgin territories. No sound of sled gliding along the rope. A single contact: a rope, like an umbilical cord. The project « Renewing with Traditions" was born.

I read up about pearl divers. Discovered the traditions, found out about the songs on board, heard the drums on ancient videos. With African roots, I was conquered.

More research made me realize that unlike what I had done during my 100m experience, where I pulled myself back to the surface, ancient pearl divers of the Persian Gulf, were hauled back to the surface by the crew. I returned to Egypt to try.

The magic was there. In the communion of the diver with the team ; in the blind faith and the spiritual bond that eventually united us ; in the synchronization of efforts. Unlike modern No Limit, the ascent is here also an initiation, rich in information. I could feel the energy of my team on each pull. The team literally held my life in their hands. The Traditional No Limit record is born out of these emotions... See you down there, soon!

121m Tandem World Record

We did it! Symbol of adventurous and winning team spirit, this record in tandem fulfilled his mission.
In May 2010 Karol Meyer and I, supported by a whole team, joined our effort to share with you the story of this project. (retrospective on Fcbk: Patrick Musimu-Official)
The association and coordination of human abilities induced emotional and enriching challenges. Living the experience I came to understand how difficult it must have been for our predecessors, Pipin Ferreras and Audrey Mestre, to set the first world record (115m) years ago. Big respect!
As a consequence of our record dive, I am happy to see today a growing interest among the sport divers for this form of diving. Underwater pleasure, more than ever, becomes a team adventure.

Partners: Sector Watches, Mormaii, Buddy Dive Resort, Bonaire Tourism, Insel Air, Avianca, Brasil Merghulo, It Rains Fishes restaurant, Ivresse, Amercian Gym, Sabma
Media: US History Channel, SKY Sport TV, TV Globo, TV2 Bonaire, DecoStop magazine

NL Triple Quest

Welcome to the NO LIMIT TRIPLE QUEST blog. This blog allows you to follow Patrick throughout the evolution of this ambitious project developed in 3 parts and articulated around 3 world records: No Limit Tandem, No Limit Traditional and No Limit (Absolute).

The NL Triple Quest project is not about depth, conquer, title or performance. It is rather a human adventure, outcome of years of introspection and self debriefing. After touching to the essence of his Self through exploring new depths, Patrick Musimu now pursues his path of self-discovery by sharing feelings and emotions and interacting with people of different origin and different culture.

Out-of-the-box thinking, emotional performance, human potential, social interaction, surfing on this blog you should accept to open your mind to new possibilities, no matter how far fetched, and let Patrick embark you in a journey where everything becomes possible.