World renowned free diver Natalia Molchanova has disappeared off of the coast of Formentera, an island off of the coast of Spain. She disappeared while making recreational dives with friends on Sunday and has not been recovered since.
The New York Times writes:
With clear skies and a light breeze on the Balearic Sea, off the eastern coast of Spain, Ms. Molchanova attached a neck weight – a pound or two at most – that would help her descend. Then she dipped into the water to begin what divers call breathing up. A lower heart rate enables divers to use precious oxygen more efficiently. To relax deeply, Ms. Molchanova would inhale for a few seconds, then exhale twice as long and twice as deep.
Those may have been among Ms. Molchanova’s last breaths. She then proceeded to attempt a recreational dive to a depth that was modest for her, and she never resurfaced. After two days of intense search efforts, Alexey Molchanov said Tuesday afternoon that his mother, 553, was not expected to be found alive.
Ms. Molchanova holds 41 world records for free diving and has won 23 world championship titles.
“Free diving is not only a sport, it’s a way to understand who we are,” Ms. Molchanova has said. “When we go down, if we don’t think, we understand we are whole. We are one with the world. When we think, we are separate. On the surface, it is natural to think and we have much information inside [of us]. We need to reset sometimes. Free diving helps do that.”
“It seems she’ll stay in the sea,” said her son. “I think she would like that.”