- Senior Projects
Freediving and Spearfishing in Barbados.
Describe the objective of your project.
One of the objectives of our project was to take the AIDA Level 2 Free Diving class to become free diving certified. We got this certification because another large portion of our project was to spearfish lionfish, which are an invasive species, and learn about them and their overall impact.
Sam's focus was the lionfish and their biology and impact, while James's focus was freediving and the impact of the lionfish.
What have been some of the highlights and/or memorable moments along the way?
One of the highlights was when Sam speared a massive 39 cm lionfish. It was the first fish we caught and was only 4 cm shy of the island record. We both ended up catching three lionfish each and Alex grabbed a few as well.
Another highlight was when James held his breath for 3 minutes and 20 seconds during his static apnea and then dove 67 ft deep. This was all during the AIDA course that we took.
Learning about the safety techniques was also very important because freediving is such a dangerous sport. We both learned how to properly protect each other when free diving and then also how to save someone if there was a problem.
What challenges did you face in completing your project?
One of the challenges we faced was equalizing. When diving deep, the pressure builds up every couple of feet so in order to neutralize the issue you have to "pop your ears." However the deeper you go, the harder it gets to pop. Thankfully we both were able to learn the different skills to equalize.
Another challenge was being able to hold our breath for a long period of time. Diving down deep, looking for lionfish, and trying to spear one requires a long breath hold, and it took a while to master this.
What did you learn along the way?
One of the top things we learned was the impact the lionfish have on the reefs and on the community of Barbados. The lionfish are eating large portions of marine life in the Caribbean, which is the fisheries in Barbados and the reefs.
Another interesting thing we learned was the ins and outs of safety while free diving. For example, we learned what to do if a person you are diving with blacks out.
What advice would you give to next year's seniors when the time comes for them to embark on their own projects?
Don't be afraid to try something new and push yourself. You only get to do one senior project so do something you are interested in and will really enjoy.