GUE Project Diary: Narvik, Norway 2005

GUE Project Diary: Narvik, Norway 2005

A Personal Account By Paolo Passalacqua

28 August 2005 (Sunday)

It’s almost dark when I arrive in Narvik, Norway after a nearly day long journey from distant Italy. I board the Galten, the 24 m. boat that will be our home and operational base for the next six days. The ship is wonderful and well organized for the type of diving we’ll be doing. It has plenty of space for the enormous quantity of equipment we’ve brought along with us. The team, though, is still not complete. Mario, J.J., David, and Torn are still on their way, but the others--Richard, Per, Lotta, Stefan and Fabio--have been working hard and everything is almost ready.

29 August 2005 (Monday)

Morning comes and the team is finally complete. Our mission today is to complete the preparations and perform a dive test on one of the cargo ships sunk in this fjord during the Second World War.

The purpose of our project is to make a documentary film. Since we have very little time, we need to make sure that everything is working perfectly for we’ll be diving far deeper during the next few days.

An organized visit to the local museum has been prepared for us upon our return from the dive test. At the museum we’ll begin to learn what actually happened here in April of 1940, and what we are about to document.

In 9 April 1940, Hitler launched the first ever invasion on Norway with a combined sea, land and air attack. The German plan was to take six strategic locations at once, one of which was Narvik. Narvik was, and still is, a vital port due to its access to Sweden’s mineral resources (primarily iron). At the time, Germany was purchasing a great deal of iron from Sweden and wanted to have exclusive access to these supplies.

On the morning of April 9th, the German fleet arrived at Narvik but was running ten hours late due to a raging storm that impeded their crossing. As many as 48 German seamen died while the German fleet of ten destroyers and support ships prepared for the attack.

When the German fleet arrived at Narvik, the Norwegian fleet was already on alert as it was expecting the attack. The Norwegian force consisted of just two out-of-date destroyers built in 1880. On the other hand, the German ships were built in 1934, and though they had some issues regarding seaworthiness and structural strength in rough seas, they sunk both Norwegian ships in two minutes. 78 seamen died.

The Germans took Narvik. But due to the delay and the great quantity of bunkers that had been used, all the German ships were in urgent need of bunkering. This operation demanded a dozen hours per ship, which forced the German fleet into relative immobility and vulnerability.

Meanwhile, the English were at sea and coming to help the Norwegians. On the morning of April 12th, five English Hunt class destroyers and one battleship, the Warspite, entered the Narvik fjord. Due to a communications error, the German ships were still at anchor in the port.

In just two days the English sank 12 destroyers (all of which have never been found), eight cargo ships, and two submarines; destroyed eight airplanes; and killed 850. Hostilities continued over the following months and other cargo and war ships, amongst them also the Grom, were sunk in this area. More than 60 ships in all were sunk here.

The evening finishes with a briefing on tomorrow’s diving. Tomorrow we will be diving down to the Eric Giese, a 3,500 ton destroyer sunk in one of the previously mentioned battles, killing 83 out of the 313 seamen on board. The wreck lies in 75 m. of water, which is why it has been preserved for such a long time. Because it is usually forbidden to dive down to, the ship is still in its original state. Soon we will be fortunate enough to see an almost intact 120 m. long warship sunk during a naval battle. This is a chance of a lifetime that we will repay through our efforts to capture it on film

30 August (Wednesday)

There is a lot to consider when putting together this kind of operation. Safety is at the top of our list, along with planning how the mission will be conducted and selecting the best methods for achieving the film we have set out to capture. We decide to divide the group into two teams. The team made up of the Swedes and myself will be the first to dive while the others will be assisting us. In actuality, our group will consist of three teams out of the two in the water for operations, and then we’ll all join up again and break into two teams during the deco. The team will have two video operators moving around on scooters to be able to take shots from different angles more easily, two lighting operators each with a 200 W MHI, and two divers that will be at the center of the scene.

After deciding how the group will move in the water, assigning safety and support duties, and deciding that the maximum time at the bottom will be 25 minutes at an average of 65 m., with a deco profile at 21 m. and 6 m. for a total estimated run time of 75 minutes, we’re ready to go. The day’s dark and the wind seems to be gathering force.

I jump into the water already wearing the bottom and 21 m. stages, while the others will be passing me the 6 m. stage afterwards. Once in the water I can already feel the current tugging at me. Without losing time I pull myself to the descent point and find the others ready to go.

It takes us six minutes to reach the wreck, which we find lying on its left side. The first thing we spot are the two great propellers of the starboard engines. The waters are dark but visibility exceeds 20 m. After a few seconds we take up our positions and start moving as planned with the other four who we know are around us even though we can’t see them. When the two 200 w MHI spotlights are switched on from above and below our surroundings seem to be lit up as if by magic. Being at the center of all this light, I revel in the sight of the wreck that appears before me with all its fascination and danger. This type of ship is equipped with four turrets with 127 mm guns, two twin 40 mm guns and various 20 mm machine guns. It also has two torpedo batteries with four tubes each and a great number of pressure type depth charges that are still lined up on the launching carriages or lying on the seabed near the stern. Lotta and I placidly flip our way down the waist of the deck, stopping at each hatchway and examining the countless objects before us. Headlights, lamps, boots, binoculars, various sorts of ammunition, levers and knobs are the small items that I see at first. I ask myself how many other objects must be resting down here. Unfortunately, time passes quickly at 65 m. and at the 18th it’s time for me to leave the bottom stage and pass over to back gas. I signal this to my buddy who comes up in front of me, ready to help if necessary while I’m changing the regulator. It’s also time to start back, which is done more rapidly so we can keep to the timetable. In the meantime I begin feeling the effects of the cold,5 C° degree water on my fingertips. I can still sense the presence of the two video operators circling around us on their scooters trying to get the best shots possible. The other two members of the team with the two 200 w spotlights are invisible to me as I’m at the center of the ray of light and behind the wall of bright white light lighting up the wreck.

At the 27th, and after 21 minutes at the bottom, we leave off and start deco. Stefan comes up alongside of us just as planned, visible now that the lights have been switched off.

The ascent proceeds along the same shoot line that we used for the descent without any problem until 12 m. Here we notice that the line is pulling a bit and is on a slant. As we start to prepare ourselves for the next depth change, the line jerks away from the bottom and we see it spiralling quickly away from us. Lotta immediately signs to me to launch the surface signal, which I quickly do. The other team above us at the 6 m. leg does the same. Due, perhaps, to the effects of a greater surface current they disappear from view in a few seconds. We continue our deco, which only has about 20 minutes left to go. When we emerge we see the rubber dinghy of a crew member nearby and both Mario and Fabio are alongside of us, ready to help.

Because of a strong westerly wind the sea has formed waves one to two meters high. The current is pulling against us and we have a bit of a struggle before we’re able to be picked up. Nonetheless everything went well, though not for the team that should’ve dived after us. The day’s finished and we make our way back.

31 August (Wednesday)

The day begins early. We have to recuperate a dive for the team that couldn’t go down yesterday. This time we change around and J.J., David, Mario, Fabio and I are in the first group. The sea and wind are milder today, though it’s still cloudy and drizzling a rain that’s mixed with tiny granules of ice. It may be summertime but we’re over the 68th parallel and well into the arctic polar circle.

The team is ready and we discuss the last minute details. The plan is to get an overall view of the wreck with J.J. and Fabio taking video shots while Mario and David will each operate 50 w HID spotlights.

The planned bottom time is 40 minutes with a run time of 150 minutes. This time we all use scooters to facilitate our mobility at the bottom. The descent goes smoothly,. There’s practically no current though the visibility immediately appears worse than yesterday. We arrive on the sandy bottom at about 70 m. alongside the shoot line without finding the wreck. Mario, who is nearest to the shoot line, quickly takes the spool from his pocket and fixes it to the shoot line. In less than a minute we are in formation and ready to scan the bottom, fanning out from the descent point to find the wreck. After a couple of minutes the stern of the German destroyer appears and we all heave a collective sigh of relief.

Now Mario has to retrieve the other end of the lifeline and find a place to tie it. The first object he finds in front of him is actually a depth charge still attached to its launching carriage fixed to the rails on the stern. He wisely rejects this possibility and ties the lifeline near the stern turret. Now the true and proper diving begins. Nine minutes have passed since we arrived at the bottom and 14 minutes since we left the surface. We slowly glide along the sides and try to find some good shots and get a complete view of the ship. The change stage comes up at the 20th and Fabio and I pass over to back gas. The other three are in RB so they operate in a different way even though they each carry the same quantity of gas as Fabio and I do with our OC.

A couple of minutes later I see Mario give a resolute signal to go back to the shoot line. Knowing that the diving zone is practically on the route leading to the port we know that it’s best to avoid going up into the current. Arriving where we had left the spool, it’s Mario again who has to retrieve it, which he does without winding it up again and costing time. We quickly reach the shoot line and start the ascent after a problem free bottom time of a little over 30 minutes.

We finish in 126 minutes and change deco on the fly seeing that our time on the bottom had been less than planned. Once out of the water, Mario tells us that he reduced time at the bottom because he was completely wet. We are met by the surface supporters who, as efficiently as always, haul us out of the water in only a minute. After a quick meal, the entire Scandinavian team’s ready for another dive to shoot video, which they complete without any problems in 78 minutes with about 20 minutes at the bottom. There’s still daylight and Mario suggests recuperating yesterday’s dive, Those who didn’t go down yesterday agree to the suggestion. Soon there are at least five team mates busy at the recharging stations, filling up for the team that will be going down again to visit the Giese.

It’s almost 6:30 when the team made up of Mario, Fabio, J.J. and David is finally in the water and descending to the shoot line. The objective is the same as always, bring home as much film as possible as to be able to produce the best video. The diving plan estimates 30 minutes at the bottom and a run time of around 150 minutes. After about two hours we duly find the group under the shoot line again and we help where needed. It’s almost dark by now but the conditions are perfect.

Mario is the first to appear, followed by Fabio. J.J. and David stay under for a few more minutes to complete the deco. Everyone immediately starts asking those who’ve just come up how everything went. They report that all went well and that some good shots were taken. J.J. and David also appear while Mario and Fabio are being retrieved. They too undergo a barrage of questions about what they did and saw.

The day ends as usual in a flurry of chaotic and confusing activity. Now we have to prepare for the Grom and our work will be even more demanding.

1 September (Thursday)

The briefing takes place early in morning at the bow of the Galten. It’s a splendid day that seems to practically invites us to visit our next objective: the Polish destroyer Grom, which was under the Royal Navy and managed to elude capture before the fall of Poland.

The Grom weighs 3,000 tons and is 114 m. long with three twin turrets measuring 127 mm. and had a maximum speed of 36 knots.

It was sunk in May 1940 after inflicting a fair amount of damage to the German invaders. The Germans considered this ship to be a thorn in their side during their few days of fighting in the Norwegian fjords.

On May 1st the destroyer was sailing in the Ofot fjord less than three miles from Narvik, when a solitary German plane centered on the destroyer with a couple of powerful bombs from 4000 m. After being struck, the ship sank and broke in two on the seabed at 105 m., taking 56 Polish seamen down with it. During the briefing we saw photos and drawings of the ship from before it was sunk. It looked very beautiful and aggressive.

It was decided to take a fourth gas for a depth of 57 m. with us this time, to save on the breathable gas supply further down and increase the safety threshold at the bottom. The wreck is at a minimum depth of about 78 m. and a maximum depth of over 100 m. The mix of the bottom is 10/70 and the rest is the same as usual. There are no photos or pictures of this wreck, only the recollections of some local divers who had dived there and described it as being awe-inspiring. We already have good material taken of the Giese but it’s clear to us that the project will only be a success if we can film and photograph the Grom as well.

While the endless activities feverishly continue, the Galten’s captain, Enrix, weighs anchor for the Grom. It’s a beautiful day and we’re all concentrating on what is waiting for us below. The Scandinavians, with the addition of J.J, will be the first team to go down. Tor wants a rest today so there will be seven of us going down together.

The first thing we have to do when we arrive at the site is fix the diving point. We have an expert captain and the shoot line is in the water in only a few minutes. Though the sea appears to be perfectly calm and still on the surface,the Galten has to continuously manoeuvre to keep its position, a sign that there is a heavy sea current below.

Putting seven divers, three of whom with RB, with four stages and a scooter each, plus two cameras and two 200 watt MHI spotlights into the water is not exactly something one can do in five minutes even though everything had been prepared and there are six other people ready to help. The captain takes the boat at least half a kilometre up current, but just as everyone is ready to leave the drift line attached to the boat, the shoot line is already more than 50 meters away.

As everyone has scooters and there are too many people near the boat for it to manoeuvre, Mario, the surface manager for the day, signals to the team to let go quickly and make for the diving point. Everyone except for Per and Lotta manage to do this after at least ten tries with the scooter against the current. 104 double cylinders, worse still RB, with four stages, video camera and lights make navigating the surface waters with a scooter extremely difficult. Everyone is using the bottom stage gas for this stage, the 10/70 that can only be breathed on the surface for a few seconds. In the meantime Per and Lotta are being helped by the rubber dinghy that is trying to tow them to the diving point. The five that managed to reach the shoot line are crossed by a relentless current and are having great difficulty keeping their position.

In pure commando style, Per and Lotta cling onto each side of the rubber dinghy, which is trying to reach the point without hurting or drowning them. Time passes and those of us on the boat are fully aware of a situation where those who have been uselessly trying to fight against nature for 20 minutes by now are completely out of breath and nearing the limits of exhaustion. It’s not the best way to start a mission to an unexplored wreck at 100 m. Mario discusses it with the captain and they decide to abandon the attempt and bring the team back on board.

The supporting team gets going and in 20 minutes all are on board, including the equipment, to recover and re-discuss operations. Debriefing and discussing the new strategy is the next step, giving the team time to regain their strength and determination.

The Galten will now anchor about 100 m. up current, allowing the team to be in the water and leave the drift line at the same time. In half an hour everybody is ready. At a signal from Mario the team lets go and drifts with the current towards the shoot line. This time things seem to be going better and from the stern we watch the whole team disappear underwater together near the shoot line. We see the two divers in the dinghy give a thumbs up sign and launch themselves into the water. Though it’s difficult to see from a distance, two members of the team reappear. We can’t understand what’s happening because we can also see the dinghy coming back with a diver with RB clinging to the side. When they finally reach the boat we recognize Richard Lundgren, who explains that he noticed that something had gone wrong as soon as he had his head underwater. Upon re-emerging he discovered that the mouthpiece of his Reb had come away at the base, preventing him from carrying on. Upon being invited by the supporting divers, Stefan, who had followed him up, re-descends. We aren’t quite sure if he realizes that Richard has had to give up.

The answer comes quickly when we see the entire group reappear on the surface. We go to get them and I realize that even though it is now almost 5 p.m. there’s a possibility that it could be the ones who have stayed on board as support that will be the first to reach the Grom.

Meanwhile, someone has written, rather ironically, on the SM slate the following score: Grom 2 – GUE 0.

We learned a lot of useful information for our attempt from the group, including the fact the current disappears after 6 m. and that even though the waters are dark, visibility is still very good. They had abandoned the diving once they had reached about 20 m. and realized that Richard was no longer with them.

At this point Mario, Fabio and I are already preparing ourselves and J.J., who doesn’t want to give up, decides to joins us. The plan is simple: Arrive at the bottom, reach the stern of the wreck, film the name and the propellers, and then go over the deck to film the guns and anything else that might be there.

Mario and I will each have the 200 watt MHI’s, J.J. will handle the video camera with the double 50 w HID spotlights, and Fabio will handle the video camera that’s without spotlights but fitted with a large quadrangular Thalacetor. The time at the bottom will be between 15 and 20 minutes at an average depth of 90 m. at the bottom 1st stage at bottom with 11 l., 2nd stage deco with 11 l. with gas at 57 m. and 21 m., 1st stage at 5 l. with oxygen. The total run time will be 120 minutes. Each of us will have a Gavin. Fabio and I will be in OC, Mario and J.J. will be in RB. We already know how it works. The boat is still anchored up current, apparently in the same position as before. Mario and J.J. are the first in the water and they hold onto the drift line attached to the boat. Fabio and I follow next.

I’m the last one in. I go to catch the scooter half-way along the drift line but I find that I can’t see my companions any more. From the boat they sign to me that they’re underneath me and I can see them going down a few meters. I can’t understand what’s happening. I turn around but can’t find the shoot line any more, from the dinghy they tell me that the boat has started to drift away and that the shoot line is now alongside. I look around and see it, realizing that Mario and J.J. have gone under to reach it. The plan was to meet not above water but at about ten meters underwater at the shoot line, where we knew there wouldn’t be any current. I attempt to go down 5-6 m. to see if I can find them underwater but they are too far away. I have to re-emerge again and try to get as close as possible to the shoot line, which is no more than ten meters or so away. From the dinghy they ask me if I’m OK, I reply that everything’s alright and they tell me which direction to take. I carry on, trying to fight the current and knowing that I only have a few minutes left before I’ll have to risk calling off everything for the third time. When I’m 3-4 m. from the shoot line I decide to give it a try. I go down as rapidly as I can to pass the threshold where both the current and visibility are working against me.

Arriving at about 10 m. all is calm but I can’t see the descent line or my companions. Using the scooter I travel for a few seconds in the direction I had memorized before I put my head underwater and finally see the bubbles. I move above them and then head down with the scooter until I meet them at about 15 m. where they are waiting for me. After giving the OK to everyone, the dark descent begins. Visibility is still good but it’s getting increasingly dark. After 50 m. I can only see the outline of my companions in the darkness. We carry on for four endless minutes and finally the HID lights directed downwards penetrate the darkness, revealing the sandy bottom coming up towards us. We stop about 1 m. from it and find ourselves in total darkness. It seems like we’re in the middle of a moonless night or diving in a cave. Before us is just sand and the lead weight we had used for the shoot line. As per plan, Mario has the spool ready and after tying it to the shoot line, we proceed horizontally along the bottom and begin looking for the wreck. I follow close behind but a few meters above to control our surroundings and provide Marion with better light in front of him. We have only gone 20 m. when a huge black wall appears up above us. At first I’m not sure what it is. It’s not that I don’t understand what we’ve found but rather that I can’t distinguish where exactly we are in the dark. It’s as if the wall was raised from the seabed by at least 5-6 meters with a flat bottom while soaring up on an incline.

I can see Mario underneath me almost on the bottom at 90 m, raising his head and then the upper part of his body in an effort to revel in the spectacle before us. At the same time I can hear yells in the Reb mouthpiece. I finally realize that it’s the bow section in front of me, turned completely upside down and detached obliquely from the seabed at an angle of at least 30°.

The spectacle is both marvellous and awesome.

We move along the deck with the hull acting as a wall pointing upwards, trying to find a point to tie the spool. The guardrails seem to be the best place and Mario winds it twice around them. We then begin hunting for the rest of the ship, Mario and I with the lights and the others with the video cameras. We pass by the bow section in a short time and it appears as if it has come away from the rest of the ship. The middle section looks completely broken up while the astern section is still in one piece, lying on its starboard side on the bottom at an acute angle, as compared to the upturned bow section. Both sections are quite near to each other.

The absolute darkness and bitter cold (about 4°) adds something of a mystery to what we’re doing and increases our joy, if at all possible, in this place of total quiet that had managed to preserve everything as it was for over sixty years, providing a kind of window into the past. We are aware of and respectful of the tragedy that had taken place here.

Soon it’s time to pass over to back gas as the stage has almost but not quite finished.

I approach Fabio and we control each other while we change.

The diving continues. The 200 w lights penetrate the dark but hides the divers. We have to be ready to switch the lights off to request help from our companion in case of an emergency. The sight of the two twin turrets laying astern takes our breath away. I’ve never seen anything like it. Upon reaching the stern we move closer to see if we can find anything. Alongside the two openings for the depth charge launcher we find a net partly hiding something. I move closer but don’t touch anything, hoping that the camera is filming.

After a couple of meters I find a panel measuring half a meter by one meter where it’s possible to make out a partially pale blue figure I recognize that it’s the Polish Golden Eagle that we’d been told about. I light it up and watch J.J. film it. I then move behind Mario and we brush past the ship’s enormous propeller. We turn back toward the bows, passing over the wreck on the opposite side.

We then reach the point where the ship broke in half. The two sections lying in such completely different positions are no further than about 10 m. from each other and are joined up by a net. Mario and Fabio go under the net to get closer to the bottom, where there are all sorts of objects scattered about. I can see helmets, boots, and torpedo-tube batteries. Looking inside the stern section lying horizontally to the seabed, I can see the rooms inside the ship, still full of everything that had been there at the moment it was sunk.

By now we’re at the 20th and we have to make a rapid return to the diving point. We make our way along the bows and when we see the lifeline we follow it to the shoot line. We give the OK and begin the long ascent. I can’t see anything in front of me except for the narrow ray of light from my HID pointing downwards. There’s total darkness now. It’s 7 p.m. and almost dusk at the surface. I can only barely distinguish my companions around me for as far as 50 m. The lifeline is weakly lit up by our lights and we can only see it below us. I have to use my light or work the backlighting to control the depth and timing. It’s bitterly cold, especially at my fingertips which feel quite numb.

At 57 we change gas and carry on. Arriving at 27 m. the temperature has risen to 8-10 degrees and it feels like paradise. I notice that I had jumped the 57 stage and pass over to back gas while waiting to make the 21 m. change in just a few minutes.

At 21, and after changing, we decide to free ourselves of some of the stages. One after the other we send them up to the surface along the lifeline. The deco continues without any problems and the temperature has risen to 12°. It’s almost comfortable to be here now.

At the 18 m. leg we see the support divers, who approach each of us and ask if we’re OK and comfort us by their presence. When we emerge we are helped by the group that stayed on the surface and flood with questions while they help us out. We are in seventh heaven about everything we’ve seen during this first quick inspection of the wreck.

Watching the video that evening confirms that we have only just scratched the surface and that we have here the makings of a result we can really be proud of.

2 September (Friday)

As usual, the morning is full of feverish preparations. We’re even more excited than usual because we’re aware that we only have two more dives to go to successfully complete the project.

The first group will once again be made up of Mario and Fabio with Strobo lights to help David with the photography and J.J. with the video camera and the double 50 w HID. The timing and planning is the same as the day before. Today I’m the surface manager responsible for the diving operations.

We’re quickly in place and ready to go. During the briefing it was decided to add another lifeline in addition to the one left the day before leading to the bows as to help the second team of Scandinavians. Their task is to of film the most interesting parts of the stern section to the best of their ability. Mario will be pulling out a new lifeline from the reel that will lead directly to the stern of the wreck as soon as he arrives at about 10 m. from the seabed where he can see both the seabed and the line left before. As I saw afterward on video, the diving conditions are even better than the day before. There’s less of a current at the surface and perhaps a glimmering of light at the bottom. All in all there are no suspensions due to the improved visibility (which is over 15 m.). The team proceeds as planned. After fixing the new lifeline, the team helps David take the best photos possible of the Golden Eagle, propellers, guns and the various objects lying on the seabed. For each photo taken it would’ve been worthwhile to take ten more. Unfortunately the time limit prevents one from staying at the bottom for a greater length of time when one has to keep to the compulsory safety limits.

Up on the surface everything is going according to plan. By now we have had enough time to perfect the working procedures. Now that we are ready to start working efficiently we find that have almost completed the project.

When we realize that the team has arrived at 21 m. I send the support diver into the water. We retrieve the team and the second one is ready to descend after not even half an hour. They know that they have had a good preparation for the dive, thanks to the video already taken and the lifelines put down. Their task is to take the best possible video shots, for this is the last opportunity to do so for the rest of the year. While waiting on the surface we take another look at David’s shots. Some of the photos are truly awe-inspiring, such as the one of the two guns of a battery laying astern. Half the work is already done. Now we only need some more pictures of the same quality to be sure of the result.

The group appears out of the water at the 130th minute, already free of stages and scooters thanks to efficient support in the water. In less than no time they’re back in the boat. Preparations for the departure begins on our way back, seeing as how most of us will be leaving early the next morning. But as soon as we’re anchored no one can resist the temptation to look at the last pictures taken by the Scandinavians.

There were excellent shots captured of the stern section and the great team work of the participants, as well as images of Lotta moving about like a film star, thanks to Per and Stefan always keeping her in the limelight with as much as 400 w of brilliant white light, Tor working as a terrific film director, and Richard shooting the scene with great skill. All of this leads to a climactic scene worthy of an Oscar that shows Lotta passing in between the propeller blades. It’s like watching a movie. All you need is the clack at the beginning of the scene. The performance of everyone involved is first-class, despite the fact that this had been their first time down on that awesome wreck in the inky darkness and freezing temperatures.

We realize that our mission has been a success and feel even happier now, though a bit saddened that we can’t start back to work again. Still, we’ve returned with terrific shots of the wreck, and feel satisfied that we’ve worked both well and safely. We’re consoled by the fact that everything will stay as it is down below until our next visit. We unanimously agree that we w’ll return here the same time next year.

3 September (Saturday)

Today it’s time for everyone to go back home and we don’t have much of an urge to do anything else.

Still, the memory of this wonderful experience will remain with me. The past few days have been incredible, full of wonderful dives in an incredible place and with terrific people.

I’m sure that I will continue to feel this way, at least until the next time I go diving . . .

Paolo Passalacqua

GUE team members:
Per Lunstrom
Charlotta Carlen
Tor Jorgensborg
Richard Lundgren
Stefan Hogeborn
Richard Johansson
Jarrod Jablonski
David Rhea
Mario Arena
Fabio Leonardi
Paolo Passalacqua