The exciting underwater adventures of South African-based conservation couple, Beth ‘The Mermaid’ Neale and Miles ‘Aquaman’ Cloutier, will form the basis for the first-ever freediving reality TV series, Freediving Diaries. Featuring on PPL°WX – People’sWeather (DStv – CH180 and Openview – CH115), from 3 May 2021, the 10-episode Freediving Diaries follows Beth and Miles’ experiences of freediving with just one breath from the surface, off the coasts of Mozambique, the Maldives and South Africa.
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. 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!” said a delighted Beth. “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 said the pair 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!”
Miles said 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!”
In partnership with – PPL°WX – People’sWeather – Africa’s first and only 24/7 weather, environmental news and lifestyle channel – the series was filmed by Beth and Miles with freedives up to 20 metres using regular action cameras.
“From the playful and inquisitive wild dolphins of Ponta do Ouro in Mozambique, to the tiger sharks of Fuvahmulah island in the Maldives, we checked a few bucketlist species,” said Miles. “Fuvahmulah is a world-class dive location and a tiger shark hotspot, and we were some of the first freedivers in the world to visit this site. It is extremely accessible and perfect for freediving. Most importantly, the tiger sharks are protected since it is now a UNESCO world heritage site.”
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!” recalled Beth. “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.”
Stephan Le Roux, CEO of – PPL°WX – People’sWeather, commented on the extraordinary first series, saying: “From the moment I met Beth and Miles and heard about what they do I thought it was completely crazy, but they managed to pull it off. This series epitomises the role weather plays in adding drama and unpredictability to great adventures. The coast is especially susceptible to rapid changes in weather conditions, and the pair embarking on this extraordinary adventure while navigating uncontrollable conditions creates a great viewing experience.”
Catch Freediving Diaries which premieres on PPL°WX – People’sWeather (DStv CH-180 and Openview CH-115) from Monday, 3 May at 18:00. The series will be shown over two weeks with new episodes daily from Mondays to Fridays at 18:00 with a repeat at 21:00, and repeats at 10:30 and 14:00 the following day. There will also be an omnibus shown on the weekend.