The XR team is in Castellammare di Stabia for the second edition of the XR Wreck Tour 2018. The dive on the Valsavoia wreck, off the coast of Capri, is scheduled for the SSI XR Wreck Tour 2018 2nd edition.
The previous day the team dived on the wreck of the Junkers JU52.
Even today, a wonderful sun shines on the Gulf of Naples, which pleasantly warms the environment. Vesuvius from afar accompanies us in the stretch of sea that the Bikini Diving dinghy is facing to lead us to the goal of our second dive: The history of the wreck.
The history of the wreck
The Valsavoia wreck was a propeller cargo steamer built in Riva Trigoso in 1919. It was 118 meters long with a maximum width of 16.
It was requisitioned by the Navy for long periods during the Second World War. In one of these periods, exactly on February 2, 1943, it left Naples to reach Messina, under the orders of the Captain of Lungo Corso Amedeo Astarita, inside a convoy carrying foodstuffs, loads of cement and some secret documents intended for the Sicilian military command. The Valsavoia had been armed, to defend itself from possible enemy attacks, with a stern cannon and a machine gun.
The navigation proceeded calmly when, having rounded Punta Campanella, a few miles away from Capri, the torpedoes launched by the Royal Navy submarine Safari hit and sank the steamboats of the Valsavoia and Salemi convoy.
No defense was possible as the cannon, with which the Valsavoia was armed, was located in the stern area which unfortunately was the first to sink.
Fortunately, almost the entire crew was rescued by the emergency response of the Positano people, who immediately went down to the water with their boats to help the victims.
Today the Valsavoia wreck lies on a sandy bottom about 90 meters offshore between the frames of Capri and Positano.
Il tempo di navigazione, dalla marina di Castellammare di Stabia, per raggiungere il sito di immersione è di circa mezz’ora. Vi assicuro che avrei volentieri navigato ancora un po’ perché i miei occhi sono letteralmente rapiti dallo scenario mozzafiato che questo tratto di costa sorrentina mi presenta davanti.
But it was time to put on our gear.
Me, Yme Carsana, Florent Michel Locatelli and Giorgio Canepa would descend using the rebreather while Andrea Costantini, Tony Scontrino, Roberto Bottini and Andrea Di Vaira would be on the open circuit.
Today, on the surface, there is no current and this facilitates our preparation, especially when it comes to hooking up the bail out cylinders, or decompression cylinders for those who go down in an open circuit. The difference lies in the fact that we trust not to use them while for them they are an essential element of air source during the decompression phase. In addition, the gases contained inside are different.
The descent was quiet, thanks to the lack of current. I could easily check, on my Shearwater, that the oxygen partial pressure remained constant.
Five minutes later I was on the Valsavoia wreck. I got there last, while the other team members were starting their reconnaissance.
The visibility was very good and allowed us to have a good overview. Amidships, the castle was very impressive and large enough to be inspected.
I headed towards the bow, it is the port side that acts as a direction indicator. It is carpeted with beautiful forests of black coral, whose white polyps sway harmoniously to the rhythm of the current. As I approached the bow, splendid branches of two-colored gorgonians rose from the sheet metal, making this environment very bright.
We passed the bow to get an overview of it.
My companions returned to the center of the Valsavoia wreck flying over the deck. I decided to go backwards because I wanted to see the spectacle of gorgonians and tufts of black coral again.
We found ourselves on the castle. For the comrades who have come down with the bi cylinder it was time to go up again. We could afford a few more minutes of background. Yme spent it going up to the stern cannon giving me these wonderful images.
We went up too, we had almost ninety minutes to wait before seeing the sun again.
We found ourselves on the dinghy tired but very satisfied. It was time to relax, to lie down on the tubulars to be kissed by the splendid Neapolitan sun in October.
It was time to laugh, joke and prepare this cute clip.
It was also coffee time. And here, coffee is a sacred request.
Pasquale Manzi, captain Pasquale Manzi, booked it by phone and had it delivered to us on the dinghy on the way back. The gesture deserved an ovation. Taste and pleasure cannot be described in any other way: “Ah what a nice coffee”
The protagonists of the second edition of the XR Wreck Tour 2018 are:
Florent Michel Locatelli
Andrea Di Vaira
If you want to know the SSI XR philosophy click here
If you want to know the products of the Mares XR line click here
If, on the other hand, you want to know a new way to dive and experience the thrill of a rebreather click here
I want to thank Giorgio Canepa for the fantastic and impeccable organization of the event.
I want to thank Florent Michel Locatelli for the availability and passion with which he has given us in-depth training on the material of the Mares XR line.
Thanks to Yme Carsana for teaching me to know, use and appreciate rEvo.
Pasquale Manzi and all the Bikini Diving staff welcomed us with the typical warmth of the Neapolitan tradition. The organization, order and logistics were flawless, typical instead of the Swiss tradition.
Giorgio and Yme, thanks also for the video material and photos.
The clip “Go XR”, in which we do the warble with helium, is by Tony Scontrino.