Diving on the Haven is always a unique emotion. Her majesty begins to appear very soon with an impressive overview. Bridges, stairs, railings and large bollards. The covered bridge immersed in the anthias and the castle which appears as a huge wall of a palace.
The memory of a dive on the Haven on the day of the thirtieth anniversary of her sinking.
The day before
A Saturday afternoon in mid-September. The phone display lights up showing me a notification on the “Team TXR & rEvo” group chat. It is Roberto Bottini who invites us to take a dive on the Haven the next day. He proposes to cross the entire deck from stern to bow, with the use of underwater scooters.
I am lying on the sofa and absent-mindedly watching a boring TV program. The first instinct is not to answer, due to laziness and because my rEvo is in Belgium for an overhaul.
Slowly, in my mind, memories and images of the wreck par excellence resurface, the great monster sleeping at the bottom of the sea which, in the past, has always given me suggestive emotions. I look out the window, nice weather. I take a look at the weather, for the next day the forecasts are good: shy sun and above all calm sea.
I think back to my technical equipment, the plate and the bag of the XRMares line, the pair of sturdy and compact XR DR25 regulators that I stopped using from the day I put the rEvo on my shoulders. They are kept and unused for too long in a diving box in the Rapallo warehouse. I make a local mind; in a couple of hours I should be able to prepare, assemble and take and load the double tank from Style Diving, in San Michele di Pagana. At the same time I can also collect the scooter that I will have to rent.
I’ve decided, I’m going too.
Port of Arenzano: Techdive
Arrival at the port of Arenzano on Sunday around noon. I unload my equipment near the charging area of Techdive, the diving center of reference for diving on the Haven. I meet Andrea Bada, a Turin wreck hunter adopted by Liguria and a real deus ex machina of the diving center, who, as usual, is doing miracles to the compressor to please everyone. My dive buddies arrive in dribs and drabs. There are Roberto Bottini and Andrea Di Vaira and with some boys from their school. There is Yme Carsana and Alessio Fastelli, fresh off the CCR course.
What better occasion to celebrate a new diver of the rEvo team!
We fill out the registration forms at the diving center reception to find ourselves near the dock for an organizational briefing. We will split into small groups. The one who will dive in a closed circuit plans a dive with a maximum depth of 45 meters. A second squad, which will descend in an open circuit, will maintain their same bathymetry, obviously following a different profile. Me, the Tsar and Camillo will use a normoxic Trimix and we will go down to the main deck. We plan a bottom time of 25 minutes. Between ascent and decompression stops we will review the surface after one hour.
We are ready for our dive on the Haven.
Diving on the Haven is always a unique emotion. Today the visibility is good and during the descent its majesty begins to appear very soon with an impressive overview, made up of bridges, stairs, large railings and big bollards. Plano on the main deck, wrapped in a myriad of anthias, parading between the huge funnel that rises towards the light that filters from the surface and the majestic keep. As soon as I reach the main deck, I raise my head following the instinct to look into the light. The castle, from this perspective, appears to me as a huge wall of a building with many small windows. From the surface filters a beam of light that surrounds it. I stay a few seconds to contemplate this wonderful scene. I hear the sound of my bubbles, I was no longer used to it.
They are at the height of a large winch, reaching outwards. A couple of groupers swim undisturbed marking their territory. I start to operate my engine by following the huge pipes, which cover the bridge and were used for the storage of oil. I pass large squares and gigantic bollards and arrive towards the bottom, where once there was the bow and today there are only broken metal sheets that remind us of the disaster that was. Even the giant pipes are cracked and bent, dangling unnaturally downward. Some large snappers swim threateningly in search of something to hunt. With the scooter I draw a large circle towards the abyss to position myself in the opposite direction.
I rise in altitude to face the return journey, along the stairs and balconies of the various bridges of the castle. I circumnavigate it in an anti-clockwise direction at different bathymetry, slowly ascending the altitude. I enter the control room to pay homage to the statuette of the Infant Jesus of Prague. I go through it, from left to right.
The thirtieth anniversary: 04-14-1991 04-14-2021
Now I’m on the roof of the quarterdeck and head towards the funnel. Through the anthias barrier interspersed with some silver livery of the bream. Below me are the same images that came to my mind the day before and that convinced me to come back here, from this majestic giant that thirty years ago to today, after an agony of seventy hours, sank right here at the largo di Arenzano on this depth of about 80 meters.