For Kiki Bosch, a cold-water diver who does not use oxygen bottles, has one rule when she enters icy water: she calms her brain.
The professional diver switched from diving with equipment in Southeast Asia to dive into the icy waters of the Arctic without bottles to put his experience of sexual abuse behind him. He chose the beauty of Greenland swordsmen and the rugged lakes in Finland.
His inspiring story is now captured in the award-winning documentary Landing By Australian filmmaker Ness Baghai. The documentary, which premiered in the UK at the Raindance Film Festival from 28 October to 7 November, recounts her journey to recovery and provides a fascinating insight into the healing power of coping with challenges. We talk to Kiki about her most memorable moments, her favorite dive sites, and how she overcame her trauma in the cold waters.
You have dived all over the world. Is there a particular place with which you feel the most affinity?
He is in Thingvellir National Park in Silfra, Iceland. There I dipped in cold water for the first time. You literally float between two tectonic plates. On one side you can touch America and on the other side is one of the plates of Europe. It puts everything and especially the human body in a different perspective.
Have you ever had a special encounter with animals?
I once experienced something amazing on an expedition near Tromsø in the north of Norway. We just wanted to go back because it was getting dark quickly. But we got a message from a tour company that there are a group of killer whales in the area, so we immediately jumped back into the water to see them. It didn’t take long for the other tourist boats to arrive and the killer whales were swimming deeper and deeper, so we wanted to leave. As I went up, I suddenly saw a huge hump whale that came to the surface to breathe. He was about an arm’s length away from me. I could see so closely in his eyes. That day I experienced a spiritual moment. I felt very grateful that those animals allowed us to get close to them for a while.
Have you ever experienced anxious moments?
never. Nowhere do I feel more at home than at sea. I spend a lot of time in nature, I also lived in a cave near Sydney in Australia for a while.
And are there moments that are still very clear to you?
While shooting for a short film in Norway, I went diving. When I came again, I could not be more warm. I felt like my heart could not take it anymore. When I finally got back into the water, I had to regain Faith’s relationship with Sagar. That experience changed my life, it was a near death experience.
Follow and teach you the Vim Hoff method for dipping in cold water. Is this a growing trend?
There is a community of people who come weekly to go in cold water, you have it all over the world. People want to experience the power of nature like cold. To me, he is the pinnacle of psyche. You have to go completely out of your mind and be fully present in your body and in your breath. This is the great thing of this work. It brings people together and helps them face their personal challenges. I teach people how to change their nervous system and their attitude towards life by immersing them in cold water.
How has adventure helped you cope with your personal trauma?
Adventure played a key role in my recovery. By embarking on an adventure, no matter what, you challenge yourself. When you do this, you are exposed to something bigger than yourself, and you can start to see the bad things you have experienced differently. The main reason I do this is that the cold helps me recover. As a result, I have overcome the ups and downs in my life. It taught me how to deal with my trauma, depression and doubt and eventually become a better person.
There are many people who keep an eye on you. who do you admire?
A lot of people. They all have one thing in common: they step out of their comfort zones and break out of everyday life. Whether it is extreme sports, meditation or everything in between, mental and physical challenges ensure that people see what the human body is capable of. I admire all people who currently know humans, they are scientists or athletes.
How do you prepare for your adventure?
Places of rugged beauty attract me, where you can feel the strong force of nature, such as Iceland and Greenland. I find those countries so complicated. In Iceland you can experience all the seasons in one day. Which is amazing to see.
What is the best advice you have given?
It is esoteric, but very relevant. Go back to yourself and your breath. And always be grateful.
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to start cold water spheres without supplemental oxygen?
Challenge yourself step by step. Take a cold bath for five seconds, then reduce it to ten and slowly build up to one minute. By challenging yourself a little bit every day and getting out of your comfort zone and with your strength, you can control yourself even in odd situations.
Document Landing Nais Baghai Pass from 2020 Kiki Bosch. The film won the Best Australian Documentary Award at the Sydney Film Festival. In the UK, ‘Decent’ premiered at the Raindance Film Festival (held from 28 October to 7 November).
This article was originally published in English on NationalGeographic.uk