I'm glad to report that the dive was a resounding success, 40m was achieved but way more importantly nearly £600 was raised for Children with Leukaemia which is absolutely fantastic. In particular the DeeperBlue.net community were very generous (considering freedivers are often short of a penny), leading the donation charge.
Here's how the day went down - we arrived at Chepstow and it was an unusually warm and sunny day, not like the usual mud-pan in the carpark like the last dozen times we've dived. We expected water temps to be a bit nasty still, and this was confirmed when we jumped in - the gauges read about 10deg on the surface and we were told around 4-6 deg at depth. What struck us as amazing though was the visability - at least 15m vis which is incredibly rare and certainly the best vis i've seen there in nearly 3 years of diving there. Did I mention cold? Brr!
I had not performed a Constant Weight dive since roughly October last year so I was a bit rusty. Given the cold conditions I had a reduced warm up and jumped in 15 minutes before, did a pull down to 15m for about 45 seconds before I started shivering and headed back to the surface. I did a quicker FRC dive not long afterwards then headed for the line with 2 minutes to my offical top. At OT I packed, took off and started down the line. Equalising was ok but I noticed that the Geek Squad tshirt I was wearing (my workplace) was causing a lot of drag and I had to kick a bit harder. At around 24m I stopped kicking and started my glide which seemed pretty normal and equalising seemed ok despite the cold. my depth alarm went off at 35m and I opened my eyes and looked around to see where the cameras were. I grabbed my tag, turned, quickly posed for the vid camera (yes I am a born poser!) started my ascent, posed for another snap with the stills camera, then started up the rope with a few strong kicks. I was feeling a tug on my lanyard for a few metres then I realised that I was following the scuba diveline and not my own diveline and was dragging the comp line along on an angle. I did a 180 degree turn and followed the proper line up the rest of the way. I have to say it was hard work, partly because i'm not that fit at the moment and partly because the tshirt was creating a lot of drag so I hard to kick a lot more than normal. I got to the surface no problems, did my SP and was all smiles The following day I did a 45m dive which felt a lot easier, it's great to be back in the water again doing some monofinning.
I have to thank some people for all their help (apologies in advance if I forget anyone!!!) - Sam Kirby for letting us use the Saltfree facilities, Laura Storm and the Angels (esp Simon) for both keeping us safe and taking stills and video (and extra thanks for Laura for helping out with all the logistics, initial ideas & planning the whole thing), Dave Morgan, Anna von Boetticher and the rest of the crew for providing freedive safety, Mark Harris (and Laura) for all the early ideas and helping to put the whole project into a concept and into a reality, everyone that helped out here and there and provided support and finally to everyone that donated, you're all stars!
There should be some vid coming soon'ish, watch this space....