Jacques Mayol, a Frenchman born in China in 1927, was the first freediver to descend to 100 meters. He always maintained that his ability to submerge as far as no man had ever done was due to his power to control his mind and body along with a deep respect for nature and the oceans.
On November 23rd 1976, he became the first athlete capable of overcoming the 100-meter deep barrier by lung diving, a feat that led film director Luc Besson to rely on his figure for the making of the film "Le Grand Bleu".
Yoga, his love for the sea and the perfect knowledge of his own body led him to achieve a great feat in the history of diving and freediving, opening the way to other great free divers like Francisco "Pipin" Ferreras or Umberto Pelizzari.
In this video you can see Jacques Mayol overcoming the record of descent in apnea up to 100 meters and explaining how he prepares to get where no one had arrived before.
Jacques Mayol achieves the record of descent in apnea until 100 meters
One of the most desired and spectacular moments of a diver is wreck diving. Descent into the blue to dive through the structure of a sunken ship requires great experience and technique. These are special dives, where different feelings are mixed, from the great emotion to see a huge human creation sunk and colonized by submarine life to the shock of seeing objects used by the crew when that ship was crossing the sea, for example. Diving in wrecks gives that halo of adventure that has been one of the engines that has led the man to submerge in the depths of the sea.
In the case of old warships, amazing technological developments of the time that sank in tragic circumstances like the HMS Victoria in June 1893, those sensations are increased and only a few fortunate divers, well prepared physically, mentally and technically can approach this piece of naval history.
The HMS Victoria, a warship belonging to the powerful British Royal Navy, sank near Tripoli, the capital of Lebanon, after colliding with another ship, the Camperdown during maneuvers. Its sinking took place in just a few minutes, taking to the bottom of the sea the life of 358 crew members and the most innovative ship that crossed the Mediterranean Sea until then.
Drawing of the HMS Victoria
The HMS Victory was a marvel of nautical innovation, with 100 meters long and more than 30 guns, considered the star of the armada in charge of patrolling the Mediterranean Sea. The ship was provided with the most powerful turrets that existed then and that made it practically indestructible in a naval confrontation. His involvement in securing the India-Great Britain route through the Suez Canal was of huge importance and his disappearance was a great morale defeat for the navy.
During routine maneuvers carried out as a practice against possible attacks, the HMS Victoria and the Camperdown, also a warship, collided creating a 9 sq. meters hole in the Victoria. It sank really fast, in less than 20 minutes. The Camperdown managed to return to port but the HSM Victoria took in its holds the life of half of the crew.
The HSM Vistoria in the exact moment of sinking
The ship was left to oblivion for over a century until 2004, when, after a 10-year search project, a Lebanese diver, Christian Francis, found him.
Today the wreck is located on the coast of Tripoli, 80 meters away from the point of collision, 150 meters deep and inserting 30 meters on the sandy bottoms. One of the main attractions of this wreck is its position in the bottom, nailed vertically, being one of the few wrecks that can be dived maintaining this position.
The HMS Victoria is a wreck with great archaeological value not only because of its tragic history but also because it still keeps in good condition what made it the most advanced warship of the moment. Cannons, turrets, projectiles, bullets, elements of security against accidents, heavy armament and even the dishes, lights and elements of daily life of its crew can be found while diving. Submerging yourself to the HMS Victoria is only available to technical divers, being top diving destination for experienced divers all over the world.