Me and my girlfriend joined a 2-day freedive course at freedive gili in september 2013. We did scuba diving two years ago, but had no experience at all with freediving. We were hoping to learn correct breathing and relaxation techniques in order to feel comfortable with being under the water without any oxygen. We had big expectations, but sadly the course was a major dissapointment. Even though we knew it would be a group course, we didn't expect more than 4 people to be in a group. Our group consisted of 7 people! Furthermore, the main lesson simply was "if you feel like you're out of air, you're actually not, it's still okay to be under the water for a while". We did learn a new breathing technique, but we practised this technique for about 30 minutes in their yoga studio and then got the chance to practise it ONCE in their pool. No time to get more comfortable with the new way of breathing or even to practise equalizing ears and mask. After the pool we went straight into the open sea. There, we all had to hang on a buoy and take turns in practising going down. While someone was going down, others had to prepare themselves by applying the new breathing technique. The water wasn't calm at all, so it was very hard to try staying at the buoy and relaxing at the same time. Also, because the water wasn't calm there often was water coming into the snorkel, which was very unpleasant and also didn't help with trying to relax. Because we were hanging still at the buoy for a long time people started to get cold quick, which also made it hard to relax. The dive shop didn't have enough long wetsuits for everybody in the group. Day 2 we went back into the open sea for doing basically the same as the day before, but at a different spot. Again, the water wasn't calm enough to practise, but we went in anyway. And even two more people joined the course, so it was even more crowded at the buoy and an even longer waiting time to go down yourself... Several hours waiting of just hanging at a buoy in open water to have a few minutes to give the freediving a try (3 or 4 times). Even though we were struggling the day before, we barely got the time to practise.
There is clearly no point in booking this course in advance and paying half the course fee upfront, since they apparently allow an unlimited amount of people...
We feel this freedive course is really for people who already have a lot of experience with snorkeling and freediving themselves and just want to obtain the freedive certificate. In my opinion, it's an expensive certficate that just states something you already can do. This course is not about learning a new skill at all, because the course was not designed for people who didn't know how to do it already. The instructors didn't put in any extra effort to make sure everybody on the course would make it. All their instructions were group instructions rather than individual ones and they were basically just there to judge whether or not you could do it.
The too large groupesize, the low quality level of the instructors and the too rough sea conditions made this feel like a big rip-off to us. Big dissapointment!