Beth Neale, or One Breath Beth as she is known to her many Instagram followers, is a real life mermaid. The four times South African freedive champion, who can hold her breath underwater for 6 minutes, recently broke the South African and African Continental Record with a dive off Bermuda's North Rock that took her down to 164 feet and raised over $25,000 for Bermuda Zoological Society Ocean Education Programmes. Beth made the descent unaided, wearing nothing but a wetsuit, a nose clip and her cherished Alexandra Mosher triangle necklace.
She recently popped into our Flagship Store & Studio where we sat down and bonded over our deep love of the ocean. She has so many wonderful stories to tell. I could listen to her talk for hours!
Alexandra: Congratulations on your record-breaking dive!
Beth: Thank you! It was one of the best dives of my entire life. I was completely in the moment. It was the greatest connection to the ocean that I have ever felt. For me freediving is a form of meditation. On this dive in particular I was really able to let thoughts go and not hang on to them.
I did a lot of positive visualizations beforehand. I think that part of my success was that I had done it so many times before in my mind so my body almost knew what to expect. The dive was exactly how I imagined it to be.
Alexandra: Can you tell me a little bit about Kids On The Reef?
Beth: I did the dive to raise money for Kids On the Reef, which is a wonderful program that teaches school children ocean conservation and freediving. It’s amazing to watch the kids discover this beautiful underwater world for the first time. The idea is that by seeing for themselves how beautiful the reefs are, the children will be inspired to protect them and take care of them when they grow up.
It’s only when they see it with their own eyes that they realize why the reef is so precious and why we need to protect it. This is their backyard! Their playground! But it is not going to be around for them if things continue as they are. Sadly, less than 1% of Bermuda’s coral reefs are within the marine protection area.
Alexandra: The reefs on the outskirts of Bermuda are spectacular. They are a huge source of inspiration for me.
Beth: They are astonishingly healthy and abundant. It is incredible to see! Bermuda’s pink sand is a very special thing to see underwater too. It is spectacular! It is much bigger and more vivid on the seabed than it is on land. I didn’t believe it until I saw it with my own eyes!
Alexandra: I’m so honored that your pink sand Triangle Pendant made the record breaking dive with you!
Beth: I was given this necklace for my birthday last year. I haven't taken it off since. It means so much to me. The triangle represents both water and the feminine and it has a profound connection to Bermuda with the pink sand. I feel lost without it!
Alexandra: What is your most memorable dive?
Beth: Once when I was diving with a pod of playful dolphins off the coast of Mozambique, one of them brought me a sand dollar on the tip of his nose. It was the greatest gift that I shall ever receive. It is a moment that I will never forget!
You don’t see dolphins in Bermuda very often. The first time I saw them here was on one of my training dives. They were bottle-nosed dolphins - which are the same species as in Mozambique. They are unique in that they are deep-diving bottle-nosed dolphins and they hold their breath for a lot longer than the in-shore bottle-nosed dolphins. I took this as a good omen!