Fri-vanns-liv means something like, ‘living free in open water’ – in other words diving in the sea by holding breath (apnea). For this project there were seven of us – six students: Chisato, Pei-Yu, Fabiana, Vicky, Leon, Steinar; and teacher Jelena. Part of the project was that the students were in charge of organising the daily schedule and meals – tasks that they took on with enthusiasm!

On the first day we worked with basic equipment and spent three hours in our swimming pool mastering the necessary apnea diving skills, plus some important theory. On the following day we were welcomed on island of Mjømna by an old friend of RCN, a leader of Norwegian Frivannsliv, Hans Martin Martinussen, who brought with him the diving suits, weights, long fins and other equipment. Everyone was literally soaped into those tight, fancy, camouflage wet suits! The first attempts at diving in seawater were challenging. For safety reasons the students were diving in pairs, connected by a long string and a red buoy. We dove for about three hours each time.

On the second day we were altogether six hours in the sea. Down to the bottom and up to the surface, down-up, down-up, a hundred times. We got better and better, and went deeper and deeper. Algal ‘scrubland’, various fish, starfish, large sea anemonies, sea urchins, crabs, scallops … Some of those were taken to be our ‘frutti di mare’ dinners – including an attempted dish of sushi and a sugarkelp soup. It must be pointed out that the most enthusiasm for this kind of gourmet experience was displayed by our Japanese and Taiwanese participants! In the evenings we discussed diving technique and theory, commented on the underwater photos taken by students and watched the cult movie for divers, The Big Blue.

Thank you again, Hans Martin, for making this experience possible for us!