Placing the Book-end on 2014
The end of the annual cycle provokes a reflection on the 364 days that have passed by, seemingly at Ferrari pace.
24 hours remain before the looking glass is swung 180 degrees and what appears to the fore takes all capacity.
2014 Was A Big Year
It really was. The seasonal highlights reel goes a little like this.
2013/14 Summer >
If not for the manic schedule, it would be very clear at the time of pausing and taking a deep breath that any activity other than freediving based would be tussling for the lead role during 2014.
Summer saw the interweave of several roles and projects.
Business Agent: On one level was the background preparing a 40+ year family business for sale, including on-line presence, performing back-end tidy up and applying front-end shine.
Business Intermediary: Another level saw a swathe of business proposals produced for a sports retail business keen to accelerate toward a business sale as well.
Freediving Instructor: The layer of cream that seemed to keep spilling out was freediving courses and the demand from local Victorian clientele for Apnea Australia Stage-A freediving instruction. The role of Freediving Instructor was fighting for centre stage on the negotiation table.
Club President: By far the biggest jolt was felt when the following URL address was registered. melbournefreedivers.com
Victorian State Representative: At the national level, regular monthly Skype meetings became the norm as the committee of the Australian Freediving Association met and discussed the development of freediving sport in Australia.
And so began in summer the formation of a web that grew tighter and stronger.
If Summer was the spinning of the web, Autumn assembled the intrigue.
The Melbourne Freedivers Club was officially launched as a Not-for-Profit sporting club and established access to the first pool training venue after the training group was unceremoniously evicted from it’s previous informal home at MSAC in late 2013.
Freediving Courses continued to rise in demand across Victoria and extended to South Australia.
Private freediving coaching sessions began and it became common to be in the water, be that pool or open water, up to five days a week providing instruction and training.
The long and winding road of business sale negotiations had begun and with the cool of winter around the corner it was time to take brief break and travel to Tonga for a short freediving holiday. Tonga did not disappoint with its 35m visibility blue water, but most of all the hidden caverns spoiled me with their enchanting nature.
The cooler months are meant to provide the chance to hunker down and hibernate. No such chance. Things were heating up!
The little details and fine print began to fester in the business sale negotiations. The devil is in the detail but the finest hands garner the choice fruits. The parties imagined spring blossoms.
No Spearfisherman is too cold in 12c water to take a freediving course I discover. But not one, it was four of them. We can all attest the splendour of freediving in Port Phillip Heads on a sunny winter’s day that is true.
The black line along the bottom of several Melbourne pools became a familiar sight. Along with dedicated clients, the tiles evidenced a hardy winter of freediving pool training.
The Melbourne Freedivers Club continued it’s meteoric expansion, quickly exceeding membership targets and wowing the base with a Chapel Street derived t-shirt design fit for the catwalk.
Family health issues saw plans to return to The Netherlands to attend the International Programme on the Management of Sustainability as Associate Faculty sidelined last minute. A disappointing turn as the IPMS truly was a life-changing experience and cherished as an opportunity for the amazing people that produce it and attend.
In between the continuing weave of the web, business operations and home life transitioned from the big city smoke to the more regional and beachy Mornington Peninsula.
Has sprung. With nary a slumber in winter, Spring took off in a canter.
Wetted ink lurked around business sale execution documents.
The freediving web became almost 4D. I now sat across four organisations in one form or another. Delivering freediving instruction and coaching on the ground in the form of pool training and multi-day courses. Leading the Melbourne Freedivers not-for-profit sports club. Representing Victorian Freediving at the national committee level. And working with the leading Australian freediving school, Apnea Australia. All the ghosts of IT project management roles past were circulating and keeping the balls jumping through the air.
Not before the Big Blue movie event was created and held at Melbourne’s famous Astor Theatre.
2014/15 Summer >
The slow warm-up into summer was well received.
Alongside the 4D freediving world, business sale and transition to more regional Melbourne, the 11 month negotiation to gain access to Melbourne’s number one aquatic venue, MSAC, for freediving activity, finally came to a successful peak. A process gowned in diligence, it was a constant companion through all the seasons and whilst it tested my patience, it was an honourable quest and one I look back on fondly.
Not to mention throughout the hundreds of man-hours of freediving training, I’m pleased to report not one incident of Samba or Black Out occurred in my scope in 2014, a testament to the rigorous safety precautions, risk management procedures and the keen performance of freedivers.
What now, you may think?
If 2014 provided the silks to weave a 4D web, then 2015 is surely going to be next level exciting.
The launch of WaterMaarq Freediving on the Mornington Peninsula is off to a joyful beginning. Connections with local businesses are continuing to grow, including a sports apparel store, conference centre, beach towel business and other aquatic equipment and services businesses.
With a strong community of freedivers connected via the Melbourne Freedivers Club, the Australian Freediving Association and Apnea Australia Freediving School, the scene really is set for plenty of fun and positive development.
Hold your breath!