Tuesday, April 28, 2009


A world champion diver has successfully completed a death-defying stunt at one of Ireland's most remote spots - The Serpent's Lair or Poll na Peist on Inis Mor on the Aran Islands. Colombian Orlando Duque travelled to Inis Mór on the Aran Islands last weekend to jump 26m (78ft) into the Serpent's Lair or Poll na Peist - a blowhole carved out by Atlantic swells. The 34-year-old made the dive as he prepares for competition in France next month. "The Serpent's Lair is one of those places that you only hear stories about," Duque said. "Finding the place and being able to dive there was one of the highlights of my career. Hopefully in the future we can bring a cliff diving competition to Ireland." The Serpent's lair is a near-perfect rectangular hole, chiselled out of rock at the bottom of cliffs on Inis Mor. In ancient mythology it was home to a Sea Serpent and the sound of screeching stormy winds is said to be the monster making its presence felt. Nine-time world champion Duque has dived from as high as 34m, with the cliff-top jump filmed for the "9Dives" feature. "There's a gigantic difference between 26 and 34 meters. The pool looks as small as a pinhead, and the water is as hard as concrete. The slightest error and ... No, it's better not even to think about it," Duque said. Cliff diving involves athletes leaping into water from heights of 23m to 28m for men and 18m to 23m for women. Divers have about three seconds to co-ordinate their forms and movements before they hit the surface of the water at around 100km/h with a flat landing, known as a pancake, compared with landing on concrete from 13m. Duque travelled to Ireland as part of his training for the Red Bull Cliff Diving Series on May 8 in La Rochelle, France.

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