VENTOTENE DAY 7

Written by CTM on June 26th, 2010

Day seven of the Ventotene project found the weather improved, but far from ideal. Unfortunately, successive days of poor weather had eaten all the schedule contingency provided for in the filming program and, through surface conditions were not great, after conferring with the dive teams, we decided to give it a try on the deepest site 140+ meters. A new marker/lift line was prepared to mark the wreck location for the divers and a recovery pendent rigged just above the marker line anchor should bottom conditions allow recovery of one of the intriguing +/- 1M long cylinders found at this location.

ISIS, loaded with the marker line, ROV and film team preceded the diver support flotilla of Carabinieri divers and Roberto & Marco to the site. The sky remained overcast with continuing winds, though diminished, blowing our little boat about the lumpy, confused sea over the deepest of all the wreck sites. With the marker line successfully deployed, the ROV was next into the choppy seas. Because of the constant motion of our little ISIS we concluded using the regular handling system was too hazardous and two of the team “deployed” the vehicle by sliding it over the side by hand.

The ROV headed straight for the bottom to clear the ISIS as it bounced about on the sea. Strong currents were experienced as we passed down through the water column arriving near the wreck to confirm the placement of the marker line for the divers who went immediately into the water and fought their way to the bottom. They struggled with strong cross currents and poor visibility at the dive site. The ROV was a beacon over the site and guided Roberto to the wreck; Marco stayed with the marker – decent line to guide Roberto back to the line after filming.

Though photographic conditions were marginal, Roberto immediately set about capturing the wreck on HD digital video. Shortly after commencing filming, one of the two air-filled buoyancy cylinders mounted to the camera imploded rocking Roberto and throwing the camera off balance. This was rectified shortly when the remaining cylinder imploded and, as our intrepid friend said later, the problem was solved. What a guy, Roberto never stopped filming throughout all the difficulties. Diving conditions for man and machine were difficult and visibility caused by several days of NW winds was marginal. We were happy to get to get some footage and happier to bring Divers and the ROV back safely.

 

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