Equa wreck, 2 October 2021. A plaque was placed in memory of Vittorio Biagioni. A story of the sea, a story to be told in memory of an important person in the world of diving.
Who was Vittorio Biagioni
He was a well-known diving instructor, who founded, together with other historical divers the ANIS, the National Association of Underwater Instructors. It was the diver who rediscovered the wreck of the Aqua, making it known to the many lovers of history and wrecks. He was the one who opened in Cadimare, in the province of La Spezia, one of the first Italian diving centers, the DYRIA SUB at the end of the seventies. A diving center that remains an example to follow, for organization and efficiency.
He was a man of immense sympathy, great enthusiasm and full of initiatives. He led many divers by their hand on those sea beds, training and educating new diving instructors, making many young students discover the world of silence.
Over time, Vittorio contributed a lot to enriching the La Spezia area, with non-profit associations, creating some organizations, and clubs, which addressed the sea, nature and people.
From his ideas often sprang new initiatives and giving young people the opportunity to engage in a positive way for others and for the environment.
His disappearance and that promise
Just before the Covid pandemic, Vittorio disappeared, leaving a great void among the historical figures of Italian diving. I remember the promise of my friend Oscar, (Vittorio’s son-in-law), outside the church in Cadimare, after his funeral: “We must absolutely honor the memory of Vittorio! I propose to deposit a plaque in his memory, right on the EQUA, which was his favorite wreck! “
So it was done. In the spring of 2020 the plaque was ordered from a craftsman. But then Covid blocked us all, at home, or in our municipalities. All this time has passed, but in the end we succeeded.
The Tribù Diving Academy
I contacted Ilaria and Alessandro, the young owners of La Tribù Diving Academy in S. Terenzo, to organize this trip. They immediately agreed they were well aware of the importance of the event. Everything has been professionally organized allowing us to use Nitrox, a mixture of air with a particular percentage of oxygen above the standard. That would allow us to stay longer at the maximum depth of the dive.
October the 2nd, 2021
On October the 2nd 2021, everything was ready, and a better day could not have been chosen: calm sea, warm sun, and great visibility on the wreck.
As many know the EQUA, is an Italian submarine fighter, former ferry in civilian use, sunk by collision with the Uj2220 on the night between 18 and 19 April 1944, and which now lies about 1.8 miles in front of Riomaggiore. Unfortunately in this place, visibility is often compromised due to the abundant suspension, which the currents raise and move. However, if you are lucky enough to have a day like the one we had, the wreck is fantastic, and the dive becomes unforgettable.
We went down to the structures and I was the person who documented the event, friends Oscar and Pietro who took care of laying the plaque, and Guglielmo who filmed the event with a camera.
At about -18 meters I saw the wreck and I thought we could not have chosen a better day. Once on the EQUA bridge, Oscar and Pietro fumbled with the rope to attach the plaque to the deckhouse structures. Right in front of the beautiful 76mm gun that is still present on the stern of the ship.
It was quite an emotional moment, even more as soon as the two friends finished their work. They walked away and shook hands, pleased with the result. While I immortalized them with my camera, I saw a cloud of fish coming from the blue and offering us an unforgettable carousel!
In that moment I thought of Vittorio, … was it perhaps a sign of satisfaction from up there?
Now all divers who go to this wreck will see this plate, and can, if they wish to do so, turn a thought to Vittorio Biagioni, friend and instructor, who introduced EQUA to many Italian and foreign divers.
The ascent and … that token of thanks
At forty meters of depth , time was running out and allowed us a few more minutes; a short kick over the bridge and then we began the ascent to the top of the buoy. Once out of the water, we sid two customary words, and we hugged, excited and happy: we all had teary eyes, aware that we had accomplished something that will remain. Alessandro started the rubber dinghy, and the engine woke us up from the lived atmosphere, but what we all considered a sign happened … .. a pod of dolphins appeared not far away, and crossed our route. Yes, yes, … now I am convinced, it was a sign of thanks from Vittorio for what we did that day!
Thanks Vittorio, it is our promise, we will return here to EQUA as soon as possible; we will dive on the wreck, still remembering the many times you accompanied us. Always happy among these waves, which you knew and loved so much.