After a long weekly course and some dives I decided to dedicate my vacation to it. My underwater summer with rEvo was born.
After the rEvo
More than two months have passed since that week of training, made up of lessons, configurations, exercises and many, inevitable mistakes.
Since that week I have taken rEvo with me to Otranto and Calabria for a couple of dives during theXR Wreck Tour 2018.
And then for about ten dives on the Portofino Promontory.
All with the assistance of my instructor or a more experienced buddy than me. With the need to have a supervisor during the preparation of the machine and the security of always being able to ask for support whenever I felt the need. With someone I could blindly trust underwater if there were scenarios that could have put me in difficulty. With someone who controlled my set-up and could give me feedback.
The lack of confidence didn’t make me feel independent. How many times have I regretted the open circuit, the ease with which I assembled the equipment and the safety with which I dived and descended deeply.
Arriving at the diving center, an hour and a half before the scheduled dive time, to assemble the machine made me feel like a novice diver. The tightness test of the corrugated pipe and the calibration made me anxious. Consumption had become very high. Underwater all my attention was focused on hearing the noise of the HDV or the solenoid and checking that the partial pressure of my Shearwater remained constant. As soon as my computer signaled me that I would have to face decompression, I immediately thought about going back up to avoid having to face too long stages. My set-up suffered immediately.
It was time to take matters into our own hands. It was time to progress and go back to being an autonomous diver.
So I decided to dedicate the month of August to rEvo.
I went down for the first time in closed circuit, without the supervision of a more experienced companion, one late afternoon in early August. A twilight immersion, one that ends with an aperitif on a boat at sunset, with the sun hiding between the backdrop of Genoa and further west of Capo Noli.
As soon as I got back up, with a glass of prosecco in hand, I sent a whatsapp to Giorgio, my buddy and supervisor. I wrote him that I was fine. His laconic response was: “you can see that rEvo is really safe”.
I immersed myself continuously for about twenty days.
Each time with some more certainty. Consumption was reduced, I found the correct weight, my minimum loop and in a certain sense my comfort. The time required for assembly and check has been significantly reduced. I follow these procedures with greater ease and naturalness.
At this point it is time to dare
On August 20, together with Giorgio, I dived at the Secca dell’Isuela, in the Promontory of Portofino. A wonderful boulder that sinks to more than 50 meters deep, covered with huge fans of red gorgonians, populated by moray eels, groupers, snappers and barracudas and wrapped in a cloud of damselfish. On the side, not far from the shoal, there is a second, smaller one, called Isuelina. And beyond, after a kick on the sand, you can arrive to the promontory wall, near the Grotta dei Gamberi. I spent forty minutes with ease at a depth between 45 and 50 meters. When we got closer to the wall of the shoal to begin the ascent, I knew that I will have to face a long decompression. A strong current made it even more challenging. But I was finally calm. I had passed the test.
It was time to raise the bar again
In a couple of days, the diving center has planned a dive on the Genoa, a steamship of almost four thousand tons that sank a hundred years ago in front of the bay of Paraggi, which lies on a muddy seabed at a depth of 60 meters.
It was a splendid sunny morning, the sea was calm and there was no current.
As Giorgio and I went deeper, I realized that the visibility was exceptionally high. For the first time I was able to see the outline of this wreck from about twenty meters away, as they were gliding over it. The glance was incomparable. The steamer was wrapped in damselfish, the snappers were swimming powerfully alongside the bulkheads.
It had never happened to me to be able to see it so well, in all its majesty. We walked along it, heading first towards the bow and then towards the stern, focusing on details that I had never been able to identify due to the reduced visibility conditions that this sea area usually offers us.
We returned to the pedagno after half an hour at the bottom. The path to the surface was long and challenging. For the first time I had to face an ascent of about 50 meters in a closed circuit. I tried to maintain a discreet attitude, without contact with the top. I succeeded until the stop of nine meters. Then I found comfort by holding on.
Commitment and perseverance always reward
Switching from breathing with cylinders to using a rebreather was very difficult for me. It was almost like going back to the beginning. How to start over, as if years and years of diving and underwater experiences had never existed.
But the progress this month has given me new awareness. I no longer arrive an hour and a half before the scheduled dive time. Now in forty minutes I’m ready. My consumption has now become low. I resumed checking the pressure gauge at regular intervals. My set-up improves from time to time. I also managed a 50m climb without any particular difficulty.
In short, I’m ready for other experiences, for other dives, without bubbles.
Above all, I’m ready to start enjoying the wonderful underwater world again.