St John is home to some of the best shallow water snorkeling in the Caribbean. Each year visitors of all experience levels take home memories and photos of sea turtles, rays, corals and tropical fish. Much of what they see and photograph is in as little as 4′ to 8′ of water! But there’s a world beyond 8′ or 10′. Down below 10′ you’ll experience the undersea as never before. The surface becomes your sky. The fish swim past like birds and butterflies. And the rocky reefs become islands and mountains with forests of sea fans and gorgonians waving in the current.
With over 2/3rds of St John island protected by the Virgin Islands National Park – the overall health of the reefs and marine ecosystems has faired much better than most other locations in the Caribbean. And it’s this quality that draws in avid snorkelers and active tourists.
Looking for a unique experience during your St John vacation? Adventure tourism is the current rage! Skydiving, hangliding, rock climbing are awesome ways to see and connect with a place while you make memories! While St John may not offer any of the above adventures – it’s not without some unique experiences. One such experience is found on St John’s remote East End.
“There’s confusion about WHY divers enjoy freediving. It is not about how long you can hold your breath or how deep you can go, it is about being and feeling close to the universe that exists below the to the waves. This is what freedivers around the world are discovering and why it is growing so quickly.”
Rob Tutton, founder of VITAL Freediving, teaches the sport of freediving to everyone from beginners to experienced divers. Rob’s spent a lifetime in and around the water as a commercial treasure hunter and naval architect. In 2015 he became an AIDA Certified Freediving Instructor. When recreating his life after 20 years working for the US Navy, he wanted to help people to experience the beauty of tropical reefs with peace and harmony. He was freediving while searching for treasure ships in the early 1990’s, but back then the formal education taught in freediving was still relatively new. But freediving is now growing at a minimum of 25% per year globally.
VITAL Freediving Courses adhere to the highest standards of the AIDA International Freediving. For more information about AIDA please visit: www.aidainternational.org. He will soon be teaching PADI Freediving courses as well. So if you’re already a PADI SCUBA diver, you can easily take a PADI Freediver course. More information on those courses can be found at https://www.padi.com/padi-courses/freediver.
What makes freediving different from snorkeling?
If you’ve held your breath in the water then technically you’ve been freediving. Snorkelers typically stay on the surface to view the underwater world, but freedivers focus on taking a deep breath and staying underwater. Recreational freediving focuses around ways to safely maximize the time and depth for fun and relaxation. Unlike other sports, freediving has many variations which confuses many newcomers. Static breath holds focus on maximizing your breath hold and involves simply floating face down in shallow water (PICTURE OF STATIC from website?). Dynamic freediving also occurs in shallow water but is about how far you can swim horizontally. If you swam laps in a pool as a child, you swam a dynamic freedive. There are also freediving disciplines that are about diving as deep as you can safely go, such as Free Immersion and Constant Weight freediving. True purists perform Dynamic and Constant Weight dives without fins.
Do I need any previous experience to take a course from you?
The only experience required for freediving is the ability to swim a few hundred yards on the surface. Since it is so different from SCUBA diving, some of the best students are those totally new to diving.
How dangerous is freediving?
Recreational freediving, performed with a trained buddy, is very safe. The core of freediving training is to stay comfortable and pushing limits is discouraged. This is the difference between recreational freediving and competitive freediving. You may have watched videos of world record attempts. Competitive freediving techniques are not taught by VITAL Freediving. The safety standards required by AIDA has kept the organization relatively injury free and there has never been a student death.
I’m interested in taking a class. How do I register or signup?
Check out their website for information and class details:
Call “Rob” at 340-690-5803
or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org