Bapteme Dapnee Dune Marseille Mel Otlcm 34Bapteme Dapnee Dune Marseille Mel Otlcm 34

Freediving off the coast of Marseille

Some experiences leave an indelible mark on our lives. That’s exactly how I felt during my first freediving experience, an extraordinary adventure that transported me to a fascinating aquatic world. Dive with me into this unique experience, during which I discovered the Friuli archipelago with only my breath and my determination as my companion.

Published on 10 July 2023
Mélanie Trible
  • Marseille in 3 words

    Surprising, warm, radiant.

  • My favourite neighbourhood

    Endoume, an ideal district to stroll around all year round and to have a swim and cool off in summer.

Rendez vous at the Pointe Rouge

On the big day, full of excitement and curiosity, I set off for the diving centre at Pointe Rouge with my friend Sophie. We took the ferry from the Vieux-Port, which dropped us off right in front of the diving centre. We can’t wait to start this activity, which is a first for us. We’re a small group of 5 people today, deliberately kept small because the experience is unique and personalised. The experienced instructors give us a warm welcome, sharing their passion for freediving, diving and snorkelling. First we put on our equipment, a two-piece wetsuit (quite tight, but that’s normal) and put on our mask (no snorkel or fins for freediving!).
Then our instructor Didier gathered us around a table to give us a theoretical introduction to breathing and relaxation techniques, as well as ventilation and compensation.

Today we’re off to the Frioul archipelago. Depending on the weather (and especially the wind), our instructors choose the best spot for our baptism. With our equipment in hand, we climb aboard the boat. The excitement builds quickly – we can’t wait!

Arriving at Frioul and taking the plunge

After around twenty minutes of very pleasant sailing from the port of Pointe Rouge, we arrived at Frioul. It’s at the Calanque des Cambrettes that our boat drops anchor. A magnificent spot, almost like Caribbean water!

Everyone puts on their wetsuits and masks while our instructor sets up the buoy that will be the focus of our activity. Come on, it’s time to get in the water!
It’s a bit chilly as the mistral has been blowing for the last few days, but our wetsuit is very effective and it’s not at all disturbing.
It’s amazing how our wetsuit makes us float – we stay afloat with no effort at all! Didier explains that it’s done on purpose so that we can get back to the surface easily at the end of our apnea.

The 5 of us head for the buoy, because that’s where it’s all going to happen. The buoy is connected to a 14-metre rope that will be attached to the bottom of the water. Today, we’re going to progress vertically along this rope.

We get off to a gentle start with some static apnea exercises and my initial misgivings dissipate when I plunge my face into the water. We’re all delighted to go over 1 minute of apnea! Some even managed 2 minutes (Sophie did!).

After several static freedives and growing confidence, we’re all ready to venture vertically into the deep sea.

Did you know?

The Calanque des Cambrettes is a superb Calanque where you can find pottery thrown into the sea during the great plague of 1720. Frioul was used as a quarantine at the time and the pottery was thrown into the sea because it was considered infected. You may be able to spot some while snorkelling or diving.

Back to land

After several descents, Didier finishes the activity by teaching us how to make circular bubbles (I won’t give you the trick, you’ll have to come and try it yourself during your baptism).
At our own pace, we return to the boat. The sun warms us up after more than an hour in the water (which we haven’t even seen!).

Tea and water are available on board and we have a quick drink while observing the landscape around us. It’s sublime, I could have stayed all afternoon.
We set off on the 20-minute crossing back to the dive centre. Everyone gets off the boat and we rinse off our equipment before taking a shower in the clear water.

Then it’s time for the debriefing with Didier, where we all share our experiences and he explains the other possibilities for doing even more freediving or discovering other activities such as snorkelling or diving.

Then it’s time for the first dive certificate! We all receive our certificates and are very happy, a bit like children receiving a reward for a job well done.

The experience taught me to push my limits, build my self-confidence and appreciate the beauty of the ocean floor.

If you’re looking for an extraordinary adventure to discover your own inner strength, freediving is for you!

Official website of the Tourist Office of Marseille