19 underwater photos that will terrify you or make you want to go freediving

Freediving takes not only immense skill, but the ability to hold your breath underwater for a long time. These freedivers and underwater photographers will seriously inspire excursions below sea level, provided you’re not hydrophobic!

#1 @aliciaunderwater

Where: Hawaii

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Underwater caves are one of my most favorite spaces to explore. Paying acute attention to the environment is paramount – entries, exits, swell movement, and sea life are all things to consider before committing to the dive; one poor decision can be costly. The reward of considering these factors and having a successful dive, for me, is unparalleled. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ In my mind, I’m moving through some of the oldest structures in existence; each cavernous system has a different story to tell. They remind me of the pyramids, the parthenon and other age-old monuments that hold secrets of history. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Assignments where I have the opportunity to work with inspiring creatives, like @travisburkephotography, and introduce them to a few of my most cherished spaces are my absolute favorite. This image was taken by Travis during our shoot for @matadornetwork @gmc 🐟

A post shared by Alicia Ward (@aliciaunderwater) on

#2 @iamjuliawheeler

Where: Bali, Indonesia

#3 @sabby808

Where: Honolulu, Hawaii

#4 @vitadasirena

Where: Hondoq Bay, Malta

#5 @travisburkephotography

Where: Karpathos, Greece

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-FEAR. I had a long conversation about fears last night. The scariest part for me was the realization that very few people actually, truly, confront their fears. A lot of times it's a lack of knowledge or just lack of self-confidence that holds people back. I somehow learned a long time ago that fears were just barriers that block people from some of the best experiences in life. I don't care if it's talking to a pretty girl, applying for a job, traveling to a foreign country, breaking a world record or just achieving a personal goal… Great things never come from comfort zones. Most of you don't know that I've grown up with a lot of fears, one of which has always been water. Ever since I had ear surgery at age 3 water rushes into my ears when I tilt my head a certain way, which had kept me from ever getting comfortable in the ocean. But the past few years I've worked hard to overcome that fear along with many others. I've since been scuba diving through a shipwreck 100' below the surface, surfed some of the best breaks in the world, gone freediving with sharks, swam through caves and slot canyons, etc. Just this morning I pushed my breath hold time to over 4 minutes, three times in a row. PR-(4:18.8). Huge thanks to all my close friends and family members for always supporting whatever I go for. Here is @chelseakauai teaching me her ways at the bottom of the Aegean Sea in Greece. Know your limits (mentally and physically)… but know when you can and should push past them. And let's all charge 2017 harder than any other year! Happy Holidays. #gopro #hero5

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#6 @gabscanu

Where: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

#7 @chelseakauai

Where: Hawaii

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This is for all the strong women out there. With big, wild hearts and bigger dreams. I am endlessly inspired by the example so many of you have set for me, by the grace and ferocity with which you walk through the world. I saved this photo for months because it was so special to me, this felt like the right day to celebrate the thing that makes me feel the most beautiful and capable. Also, hi mom. I love you, you make me want to try to be better every day.💗 – Swimming with smart women and underwater mavens @aliciaunderwater and @jillyfish831. Photo by one of the most supportive humans I know @travisburkephotography #PADIwomen #bettertakesaction #Internationalwomensday

A post shared by Chelsea Y.✨🌊 Hawaii + Travel (@chelseakauai) on

#8 @adamfreediver

Where: Avoca Beach, Australia

#9 @_jimward_

Where: Mo’orea, French Polynesia

#10 @nolanomura

Where: n/a

#11 @flaviaeberhard

Where: Tulum, Mexico

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"We went down into the silent garden. Dawn is the time when nothing breathes, the hour of silence. Everything is transfixed, only the light moves."✨💙 "Descemos ao jardim silencioso. Amanhecer é o momento em que nada respira, a hora do silêncio. Tudo está transfixado, apenas a luz se move."✨💙 Leonora Carrington Photo by @pepearcos Fins by @c4carbon Wetsuit @eliossub For @canaloff TV #light #underwater #underwaterphotography #beautiful #cenote #tulum #blue #apneia #breath #freedive #mermaid #mexico #me #shotoftheday #freedivingart #girlswhofreedive #ocean #nature #girlsthatfreedive #sereia #explore #adventure #travel #viajar #travelgram #photooftheday #natgeotravel #waterlust #spearfishing #gypsea

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#12 @pepearcos

Where: Moalboal, Cebu, Philippines

#13 @shangerdanger

Where: Hawaii

#14 @deanfreediver

Where: Riviera Maya, Mexico

#15 @suahuatica

Where: Comino, Malta

#16 @daanverhoevenfreediver

Where: El Bells, Egypt

#17 @fatboybrock

Where: Hawaii

#18 @deepleigh

Where: Mexico

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I really love sharing these places with people who have never seen them before. As much as I love the ocean, these freshwater cathedrals have always captured my imagination and have stolen my heart. Whether 10 feet deep or 200, each spring I've visited has left it's mark on me. Without these places I would not be who I am today and I cannot imagine a world without them. If there is just one thing I could do to help this planet, it would be to help preserve our freshwater systems. Contrary to the popular saying, dilution is not a solution for pollution. We cannot continue to dump toxic industrial waste into our rivers and groundwater without in turn harming ourselves (looking at you Rick Scott/Koch Brothers/Big Sugar). The very springs that I used to drink from as a child, though still incredibly beautiful, are now so polluted that ingesting even a mouthful can (and has) put me out for a week. Water is life. This isn't just a catchy slogan, it is our reality. We bathe in it, drink it, feed our children and pets with it. And if we don't wake up and take action soon, we may die from it. • • • PC 📸 @thewuss #staywoke #protectwhatyoulove #waterislife #resist #thisisnotadrill

A post shared by ashleigh lauren (@deepleigh) on

#19 @perrinjames1

Where: n/a

Read also: See the magical winning picture in this underwater photo contest

Read also: Best places to learn how to dive

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Andrea Tim

Andrea is a serial kopi peng drinker (for fun, not for the caffeine; coffee doesn't wake her up) and believer in keyboard shortcuts. She sees The Dress as blue and black, and hears both Yanny and Laurel. Make of that what you will.

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