The visibility was not only low but the waters were pitch black, and our lights cut through it as if we were on a night dive.
A Diver's Return to the Andrea Doria
I observed hazardous fishing line and nets that had caught on the wreck, and I was surprised by how much marine life there was to see. I had an internal feeling of contentment to be on a ship that had so much rich history, both as it crossed the waters between Europe and the New World and as the dive site which had claimed so many experienced divers while at the same time delivering so much accomplishment to other divers. Upon surfacing it was critical to remain in contact with the line to get to the stern of the boat and exit in full gear up the ladder with stages and fins while the crew helped remove our tanks and gear.
There were other teams still on decompression as well as ones that had already exited the water before us. Aside from a slight chill in the arms and hands I had kept warm throughout most of the dive. After approximately five hours on the surface we geared up for the second dive. We had a quicker descent this time as the current had dropped, but we still went hand-over-hand for the descent, making it to the bottom in about six minutes half the time of the previous dive.
Now that I had one Andrea Doria dive to my name I decided to carry the GoPro camera on this dive to get some footage, even if it was more for a souvenir as the conditions were not ideal for shooting. Some people later commented that the video I took looked more like a night dive than a day dive on a wreck. With more time actually on the bottom the second time around I got to explore more of the wreck, including some overhead sections. I was, however, always in a heightened state of alert knowing that navigation, gas-management and general awareness of entanglement were critical to not becoming another fatality.
Setting the Hook : A Diver's Return to the Andrea Doria by Peter Hunt (2011, Paperback)
Ascending on the line, we passed a member of the crew who had been scootering and were on a longer decompression obligation. With a touch of envy, we could see a goodie bag of china collected from the Doria. We awoke early the next day since the plan was to depart that afternoon around 3pm. At 7am, there were a few divers on the deck gearing up. Disappointing news came from some of the crew, however — the current was more intense than on the first day and it was unlikely we would be able to dive right away.
Undeterred, one of the divers, Joe, an experienced northeast wreck diver from New York, decided he would give it a go anyway. The crew cautioned him to call the dive if he felt it was too strong, urging him not to be a hero.
The remaining divers on deck waited anxiously as our newfound guinea pig prepared to splash down. After approximately four hours it looked like the current had dropped.
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But I was now close to the 24 hour window that I decided to leave for the no-fly off gassing. Of the ten passengers, only two decided to make the dive that day. Both were seasoned northeast wreck divers. Two crew members also decided to dive while the other two supervised, and the other eight passengers sat the dive out.
In retrospect, it was probably the right call. The current was still strong and even resulted in a surface rescue when one of the divers exerted himself at the end of the dive and had a seizure while fighting the current to get back to the boat lines. Fortunately for this person, the crew and other passengers responded according to their training.
And after the diver had been brought out of the water, the equipment had been removed and cut away and O2 had been administered, the person regained responsiveness. The slow sinking and rescue efforts all but 51 of the 1, onboard were saved is well documented, and the Hunt does a fine job describing the tragic event in considerable detail.
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There are several chapters devoted to the author's dives to the Doria in the early s, recapturing the almost carefree thrill and camaraderie among crew and divers, portraits of the near legendary crew of the dive charter Wahoo Steve Bielenda, Janet Bieser, etc.
There are chapters describing the intense training the author, by now pushing 40, required in and to reacquaint himself with deep diving and getting his trimix certification. Here you find interesting information on trimix training and use, as well as description of at times harrowing dives in the cold Pacific Northwest. Then there's the section about meeting old friends again, as well as the Wahoo and its crew, now 20 years older, too. The trip back to the Doria — the diver's return — brings a surprise that's very much in line with the overarching theme of this book, that of life's early thrills and drives, the later reflections and efforts at recapturing the magic, dealing with the conflicting priorities of passions, career and family, and finally being able to see everything in perspective.
While there are parallels between Kevin Murray's Deep Descent published in that's loosely organized along a timeline from the ship's sinking in to approximately and primarily an account of the grand wreck and the people drawn to it, in Setting the Hook the ship, while a strong presence, is almost incidental.
It is about life, youth, growing up, the many directions we're pulled. But unlike many books discussing life's issues, this one never wanders but maintains a laser-sharp focus on Hunt's own personal Mount Everest. Which means you essentially get two books in one; the story of a man's way of dealing with life, and a first rate account of diving the Andrea Doria and all that it involves. But that's still not all.
While hinting that there may be more than meets the eye early in the book, at the end we learn that the author was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson's Disease in , at the age of only That puts perspective — the main theme of " Setting the Hook — onto a whole different level.
Setting the Hook: A Diver's Return to the Andrea Doria by Peter M. Hunt
Technical diving books. Think again! This book will make you think again about how you can reduce decompression stress. Ange Not strictly a book dedicated to technical diving, but there are lessons to be drawn from these real life incidents for any diver. A sobering read for any diver. Technical Diving: An Introduction- Mark Powell Very up to date account of what technical diving is, with a little bit of myth-busting thrown in. This is a great read for anyone potentially interested in starting technical diving. Some pretty hair-curling stories to chat about over a beer or two.
Hunt Any book on the Andrea Doria is a magnet to a tech diver. It includes some good background about the sinking. It includes some great information on how to set up your own gas blending system. Oxygen Measurement for Divers- John S.
Setting the Hook
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