Elizabeth Gordon: First-Ever Freediving in Cape Town

Every trip to Cape Town feels like returning home (and not just because Cape Town is ‘the Mother City’), and there’s no denying the safari world is a tight-knit one. So, when I traveled to Cape Town in April 2017 for Conservation Lab – a progressive two day “un-conference” – I shouldn’t have been surprised to connect with some very special kindred spirits.

A sunset photo of the 12 Apostles from my most recent visit to Cape Town!
A sunset photo of the 12 Apostles from my most recent visit to Cape Town!

My very first day at Conservation Lab, I met Hanli Prinsloo, the charismatic Co-Founder of I AM WATER Ocean Foundation, an ocean conservation organization that offers intimate wildlife encounters with the ocean’s most majestic creatures from dolphins to seals, humpback whales and manta rays, to hammerhead and whale sharks. Hanli is an inspired, passionate freediver and a world-class instructor who has taught her beloved sport to over 1,000 individuals. To put it in perspective, her love of the ocean is matched only by my love of safari.

Hanli Prinsloo, Co-Founder of I AM WATER Foundation. ©Peter Marshall
Hanli Prinsloo, Co-Founder of I AM WATER Foundation. ©Peter Marshall

Days (and drinks) later, Hanli convinced me to (wet)suit up and join her and her co-founder/boyfriend Peter Marshall in the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean, west of Cape Town’s Cape Point. It is important to note that their approach is atypical of most freediving operations. Rather than seeing freediving as simply a sport, Hanli and Peter consider freediving an opportunity to reconnect with the ocean as home, or to reposition the marine world as the epicenter (or at least, intrinsically connected to) the world as a whole. With breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga, freediving with IAM Ocean Travel becomes a holistic education and transformative experience. Having tried the product, I am sold. And I have a lovely video to show you why.


Elizabeth and the Kelp Forest! from I AM WATER Ocean Travel on Vimeo.

Now, I am excited to announce that Extraordinary Journeys is the sole US based tour operator offering exclusive trips through I AM Ocean Travel to Bali (Manta Rays), Baja (Jack Fish and Whale Sharks), South Pacific Niue Island (Humpback Whales) and coming soon…. Cape Town!

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Jenna Stockman