By Kaya FM News
Beth Neale and her husband, Miles Cloutier, have launched the country’s first-ever freediving series.
Beth, also known as The Mermaid, is swimming with amazing sea creatures while growing a little creature of her own.
Beth, a four-time South African freediving champion from the KZN South Coast, and her partner Miles, a Canadian-born freediver and videographer, set about to promote the many dedicated people at the forefront of conservation and eco-tourism.
An epic adventure
But the couple was in for an even bigger adventure when Beth discovered, during the shooting of the series, that she was going to become a mom for the first time.
“We never expected to be sharing the most special experience as a couple in episode one of this series. Just before crossing the border into Mozambique to begin filming our epic adventure, we found out that we are having a baby.
“It was an incredible surprise, but also a bit of a shock as we had planned this eight-week expedition into some very under-developed areas with few medical facilities.
“But it turned out to be the best possible timing because my little mermaid has already dived with whales, dolphins, turtles, manta rays, whale sharks, tiger sharks, nurse sharks and so much more, all from the comfort of my belly,” she says.
A few hiccups
The couple spent time researching and connecting with professionals who have had experience with freediving and pregnancy.
“I was never a freediver who pushed my limits anyway, but now that I am having a baby, I do shallow, short and easy dives. I am very fit, strong and healthy – and so is my baby,” Beth says.
Miles says the shooting of the series in Mozambique started with a few expected hiccups.
“Our diesel tank was filled with gasoline at the petrol station and we had dead batteries, flat tyres, unexpected bad weather, travelled through malaria areas, and the ocean was like a washing machine in places… Beth set the bar pretty high for her first trimester. The Maldives was like a big swimming pool after that,” he said.
Season one of Freediving Diaries focuses on the couple’s exploration of the Mozambique coastline from Ponto to Ouro to Vilankulous and Bazaruto, and the pristine atolls of the Maldives.
Among some of the incredible moments experienced are Beth diving with pregnant ragged tooth sharks in Sodwana, as well as swimming alongside a pregnant tiger shark in the Maldives.
“Some of my top experiences were swimming with the nurse sharks in the Maldives – there were over 50 of them at the dive site and they are like friendly, curious puppy dogs,” Beth says.
She says other highlights were being visited in the middle of a freediving course by a 6-metre whale shark.
“And my life’s dream came true when I had a brief but very special swim with a rare and elusive dugong in Bazaruto Mozambique. I was in tears and I am so grateful that I could share that moment with the man I love and with my baby in my belly,” Beth says.
Catch Freediving Diaries which premieres on PPL°WX – People’sWeather (DStv CH-180 and Openview CH-115).
The series will be shown over two weeks with new episodes daily from Mondays to Fridays at 6pm with a repeat at 9pm, and repeats at 10:30am and 2pm the following day.
There will also be an omnibus shown on the weekend.