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Thread: ProDive Italy - Trip Report

  1. #1
    Team HPDW Paul Bailey is a jewel in the rough Paul Bailey is a jewel in the rough Paul Bailey is a jewel in the rough Paul Bailey is a jewel in the rough Paul Bailey is a jewel in the rough Paul Bailey is a jewel in the rough Paul Bailey is a jewel in the rough Paul Bailey is a jewel in the rough Paul Bailey's Avatar
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    ProDive Italy - Trip Report

    So we planned a little holiday in the sun and a friend of ours had a villa in Sardinia that we could join her at for a few days.
    I'd always wanted to try Sardinia out but didn't know much about the wreck diving so had a look on here and Stefano at Prodive.it popped up again and again in peoples recommendations.
    I looked up Villasimius on the map and as luck would have it, the villa we would be staying at turned out to be about half an hour away and the resort we were staying at for the second half of our week was about half a mile away from the dive centre.... (Imagine my surprise :D)
    I emailed back and forth with Stefano and I haggled back and forth with The Current Mrs Bailey and secured 3 dives.
    Now it turns out that Villasimius has some truly spectacular wreck dives as there was a particularly active British Submarine that took care of quite a few ships in WWII. Not nice for the crew but very nice for me....
    I told Stefano that I wanted to do 3 dives and he offered some great options so I decided to pack all of my tech kit and lug the rEvo over on Easyjet as hand luggage which turned out to be a lucky decision as Oscar had enough kit for 5 people which cut down on the amount Lou & I could pack
    (black bag at the top is for Oscar. Blue one underneath is for me & Lou & the red one underneath is my dive kit)


    When we got to the island and settled in I then went to the centre to meet Stefano and set up my kit. as soon as I walked in I knew this was the right choice. He has banks of J's and a massive compressor plus booster and every other little piece of equipment you hope a good tech centre will have.
    Plenty of stages available and plenty of rebreather cylinders too as well as lots of secure storage areas to leave your kit in.
    The diving is from a rib and you kit up on the boat with the help of Matteo then roll back into the very warm water. When you surface you pop your stages up then take your fins off and climb back on the rib to be greeted with a custard filled croissant (a Sardinian specialty) and some hot sweet tea.
    As you would expect, the water was warm and very clear (14c at 95m, 19c at 21m, 22c at 6m) but I dived the week in my trusty 15 year old DUI that I travel with and I had a weezle extreme undersuit with booties. Needless to say I didn't get cold but we didn't go past the 2 hour mark at all which was a disappointment (the only one of the week) and Stefano assures me he will have both a pee-valve and an i-river for my return visit so we can do some serious run-times :D

    The Diving:
    Dive 1 - Salpi - 65m 2hr run
    The Salpi is the furthest we travelled to and is something like 45mins up the coast from the dive centre. She lies in 65m of gin clear water on a white sand sea bed and is in navigation position.
    A really lovely dive and plenty of opportunities for getting inside. We dived as a 3 with Aleksi on his meg and made a fantastic little tour which Stefano extended for me when Aleksi decided he was cold and went up the shotline on his own. We had plenty of opportunity to get the drysuit rusty and even had a bit of a squeaky bum moment when our exit route was blocked somewhat due to a crumbling and collapsing wall.... A little delicate manoeuvring and an alternative exit route secured we scrambled back up on the deck and to the shotline. Turn on the deco music and pass the time away. Much to the disgust of Stefano :D
    Dive 2 - Benghazi - 95m - 2hr run
    For me, this was the dive of the week and certainly one of the best dives I've ever done. The Benghazi is about 15 minutes away from the centre and, as with all the wrecks on this side of the island, Stefano has secured a permanent shotline between the wreck and the surface so we tied in to it and set off down to see what we could see. The plan was to explore only the stern section as this one is a little deep and we wanted to maximise our time. I was on 8/63 dil all week and it's fair to say I had a pretty clear head at depth and was hyper aware of how pretty this part of the wreck is with the rounded stern where we ended up before dropping over the side and drifting down to look at the rudders & props and then back up inside to the glass room. Now it's possible to lift things off wrecks in Sardinia, but not when you're diving with Stefano, he operates a strict no-take policy. If you ever get to see this glass room I expect you'll have the same reaction as me. Sobbing uncontrollably and then begging Stefano for "just one piece, please!!!" Obviously my cries fell on deaf ears and I came back from this amazing hold with no prizes. It's what I imagine the glass hold in The Duke Of Buccleugh used to look like before us thieving Spidgers descended like a plague of locusts :D On the way out of the hold we stopped to look at the spare prop still bolted to the wall and I had a silent moment marvelling that this wold be a very different dive in UK waters with UK divers week in and week out :D
    Music on and deco time but this one was a bit of a pain as the current was running and the wind and surface chop were UK-esque up above us... My jon-line being in my car back at Stanstead airport gave me no comfort but it was all worth it in the end.
    Dive 3 - Loredan - 65m - 2hr run
    A really nice dive this one and the one that made me think of UK wrecks (although not the sea conditions, obviously) She lies on her port side and shows definite signs of a serious struggle with some English torpedo action. There is twisted metal everywhere and a debris field too. Drop onto the stern again and swim round the outside. There are Chameleon Gorgonian Fans everywhere (that's what Stefano said they were anyway) and I'm sure they were pretty but they had colonised the hull and therefore blocked off my view of the rusty stuff... We made a circuit of the wreck and came to an ammunition room that was a little tight so it was time to leave our shallow bailout and go into the room one at a time for a look around. Once we'd done this it was finish off the tour and head up to the deco line once again. Music on, deco time.
    Back on the boat for tea & medals and back to the dive centre to clean up my kit and pack it away ready for the trip home the next day.

    We flew to Cagliari with Easyjet, hired a car and from there it is a 75min drive to Villasimius.
    Stefano runs a fantastic tech centre and he really does have everything you need to get your rust on. If you're going with non-tech divers he runs recreational trips in the morning or afternoon depending on when he gets the tech guys out so everyone is catered for.
    I took my own unit and stage regs as well as suit etc but |Stefano could probably sort this out if you give him enough notice.
    Each dive cost €100 and for this I got:
    1)Boat transport with transfer from the centre to the marina
    2)Lime, as much as I needed
    3)2 stages and there were plenty if I wanted to take 3 on a dive
    4)Dil, 02 (replenished daily)
    5)Bailout gas (didn't need topping up as there was no purge of shame this week :D

    If you're looking for some sunshine and world class diving then I can't recommend Stefano & Pro-Dive highly enough. He's a top guy but he does dive a Meg & JJ so there's got to be something wrong with him :D

  2. #2
    RBW Member JacobT will become famous soon enough JacobT will become famous soon enough JacobT will become famous soon enough JacobT will become famous soon enough JacobT's Avatar
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    Re: ProDive Italy - Trip Report

    Nice write up sounds like amazing dives!

    just one question.. can you still get i-Rivers? I thought they were no longer around......

    -Jacob

  3. #3
    Team HPDW Paul Bailey is a jewel in the rough Paul Bailey is a jewel in the rough Paul Bailey is a jewel in the rough Paul Bailey is a jewel in the rough Paul Bailey is a jewel in the rough Paul Bailey is a jewel in the rough Paul Bailey is a jewel in the rough Paul Bailey is a jewel in the rough Paul Bailey's Avatar
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    Re: ProDive Italy - Trip Report

    Thanks Jacob. The last 2 i-rivers that I've had to buy have come from ebay and another dive forum.
    For me, they are the perfect way to listen to music underwater and my current one has been deeper than 90m quite a few times with no ill effects.


    Quote Originally Posted by JacobT  View Original Post
    Nice write up sounds like amazing dives!

    just one question.. can you still get i-Rivers? I thought they were no longer around......

    -Jacob

  4. #4
    Ossi gerstl_ossi has much to be proud of gerstl_ossi has much to be proud of gerstl_ossi has much to be proud of gerstl_ossi has much to be proud of gerstl_ossi has much to be proud of gerstl_ossi has much to be proud of gerstl_ossi has much to be proud of gerstl_ossi has much to be proud of gerstl_ossi has much to be proud of gerstl_ossi has much to be proud of gerstl_ossi has much to be proud of gerstl_ossi's Avatar
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    Re: ProDive Italy - Trip Report

    Hi Paul. Seems that You had a lot of fun on the PRODIVE Wrecks. A great pity that You did not a second week there. I will be there from this Saturday. It would have been nice to too some dives together.
    Best Ossi Italy

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