Wreck freediving is another challenge in the life of freediver. If you never had the chance to freedive a wreck before, well you need to put it on your list.
ONe of the highlights of freediving Tenerife is that there is a wreck on our main dive spot, so we share our experience and write a short wreck freediving guide which we hope will help you.
Discovering the wreck of El Pejin
El Pejin is a tug boat which was purposely sank in Tabaiba, only a few meters from the shore. It’s not only the playground and training spot for scuba divers and freedivers, but also the home to large variety of fish, serving as an artificial reef. However it is not an easy snorkeling spot, as it lies at a depth of 35 meters, with its top at 20 meters.
Is it the dive for me?
To reach this wreck you already need to have at least basic freediving skills, on a good day it is possible to even see the wreck from the surface, but to enjoy it fully one needs to be able to dive at least to -15m depth. To penetrate the wreck and visit the inside of the bridge or the engine room, it requires little more training.
Basic safety rules apply. Make sure that your level is suitable for the dive site. To spend time swimming around the depth of -25m inside a wreck, a freediver should be able to dive at least -30m easily. Before even attempting to do a wreck dive you must find out as much information about the dive site, sea conditions, currents, visibility, etc. If it is a deep dive site such as El Pejin you should always bring a freediving buoy, it will serve as a surface marker for a boat traffic, for a more comfortable breathe up and recovery after and between dives. A diving rope will guide you directly to the right spot and you can use it for both descent and ascent for more safety. Also it is much easier to go down by Free Immersion and it will allow you to spend more time exploring the wreck, or it is possible to dive by Variable Weight (letting a heavy weight carrying you down so you don’t have to swim) for even longer and more comfortable dives.
What else do i need to know?
First you need to make a few dives, to make yourself familiar with the entry and exit points. Never try to enter a place or a cave if you don’t know where you can exit. Also we can use these dives as a warm up. Once we see the entry point, you can have a look inside the door, window or other opening, checking for the nearest exit points and possible complications. These dives are used to create a plan for penetrating, maximizing our safety and enjoyment. We should always discuss the dive through a cave or a wreck with our buddy, so he is aware how deep you plan to dive, how long you will stay and where you enter and exit the wreck. When getting ready for your first wreck freedive, it is normal to feel a little nervous, remember your training and be confident in your skills. One very important thing if diving in tropical waters is to make sure that we don’t damage the coral formations that are growing on the wreck, so extra attention needs to be made when touching and entering the wreck.
Ok let’s do it!
A good freedive always starts with a good breathe up. A nice, smooth and efficient duck dive and then use the best technique you can for the first few meters down. Focusing on streamlining, as soon as you become negatively buoyant it is time to start freefalling and relaxing. Gently glide into the wreck’s side doors. Once inside the door it is time to get horizontal and fit inside another small door (not so easy when you wear long fins!) and down the stairs, where there is a dark blue light coming from the engine room. The inside of the engine room has very little room to move as its massive engine takes up all the space. Finning is not so easy, so you need to move by grabbing pieces of metal around you; it feels like being an astronaut in a space station (not that we know that from personal experience:). Above your heads you can see clear dark blue water, with schools of fishes swimming by. There is a big opening back out from the boat, only two more grabs on the metal bars and you are out in the open water again. Here you can start finning again, and by now you should be heading to the surface. Your buddy should know where you are coming up and should meet you somewhere between 10/15 meters. You can do this dive in just about 2 minutes and the maximum depth is -26m.
What an amazing dive!
Here a short clip of freediver/skydiver David doing a short passage through El Pejin wreck during his time freediving Tenerife with Freedive International.