[PHOTOS] A freediving champion observes killer whales immersed in water at 3°C
Immersed in water at 3°C, Arthur Guérin-Boëri rushes into the darkness of the depths of Kvaenangen (Norway) to encounter killer whales, among the largest marine predators, a first “ unforgettable” for the freediving champion.
In the far north of Norway, beyond the Arctic Circle, the sky was cloudy that Friday. Near the snowy shores of the islet of Spildra, a fin appears for a few seconds on the surface of the sea.
Arthur Guérin-Boëri takes a deep breath before diving more than 15 meters to observe this giant of the seas, which has come to the area to hunt herring.
“I find myself underwater next to two nine-ton top predators who accept me, it's majestic. They advance synchronized in a kind of ballet. We would like to follow them but it's impossible, they go too fast and quickly dump me, ”marvels the 38-year-old athlete afterwards.
The five-time world champion in dynamic apnea prepared for long minutes by the fire in a traditional Norwegian cabin, a wooden structure covered with earth and grass.
Holder of numerous world records world of apnea under ice, the Frenchman is able to swim more than 100 meters in total immersion and to last several minutes without breathing. But this time, it was above all a question of contemplating.
“We paddle a lot and there is the excitement of discovery. I performed apneas of about thirty seconds, no more,” he explains.
From Spildra, where about fifteen inhabitants live, he has multiplied expeditions all week to rub shoulders with orcas. But a violent storm delayed the meeting between the two mammals by several days.
Despite the low visibility, the “very black” water and the outside temperature regularly falling into the negative with the gales, he has “unforgettable memories” of these dives.
“In this environment, you forget the fatigue, the cold, the apprehension. And when I break the surface to breathe again, around me there are icy cliffs… We are surrounded by beauty,” he notes.
In the Kvaenangen Fjord , he wanted to discover his practice under another aspect. “We made it a sport with performance, but I wanted to get back to the essence of freediving: exploring the underwater world, discovery, and I was served,” explains Guérin-Boëri.
Enough to plan to return next winter to Spildra.