Prof. Min/Max. : Mt.33/ 82 

Diving itineraries The best way to visit the wreck of this super tanker is that of subdividing the hull into different sections. Therefore it is advisable to put yourself in the hands of the local scuba guides and to their planning of the dives, dictated by in-depth knowledge of the wreck. For anyone intending to dive for the first time to the Haven, it is best done in optimal conditions. Not only for a question of safety but especially because with clear water during the descent you can begin to observe the outline of the wreck completely. There are four or even more ideal itineraries to visit the Haven that should be planned and obviously followed above all in function of the ability and the certification that each scuba diver has passed. They are: the standard dive, the forward deck including the quarterdeck, the aft deck and the lateral breach with the rudder and propeller. Naturally those listed are only the zones of the wreck that are the most common and easiest to visit, then each diving centre interprets in its own way how to perform them, identifying other itineraries practicable such as for instance exploration of the various orders or quarterdecks. Standard dive: it is named thus because it is the classic dive for those who for the first time are approaching the Haven. It is very useful in getting to know the wreck considering, what is more, that one can carry out this visit without exceeding forty metres in depth. The point of contact with the Haven is the upper bridge that is located 33 metres from the surface. This being the highest point of the quarterdeck, originally there were all the aerials for telecommunications (fax, teleprinter, VHF aerial, radiotelegraph) and naturally the aft mast. Today this is no longer there, if one excludes the skeleton of the graphometer, in part due to the fire that devoured what it could to feed itself, partly due to the intervention of man who, in order to make navigation safe, had to cut away all the superstructures that interfered with the minimum isobath required by the less than thirty metres of depth. Descending to the floor below one reaches the bridge at a quota of 36 metres. What strike you most and gives a clear idea of the enormous quantity of heat released in the blaze of the Haven, is the deformation taken on by both wings of the bridge on the ends of which are housed the repeaters. These appendices that can be walked on under normal conditions are the horizontal extension of the bridge, reaching the maximum beam of the ship. Now they are bent down as if withered, half melted, and almost brushing against the lifeboat deck, with the supporting piers that appear to have imploded under the weight of that overhanging structure with no ribbing any longer. Having reached the bridge, large windows allow one to go inside with no difficulty; there are no hazardous protrusions, the lighting is sufficient and above all you can easily identify the exit points to the outside in free water. The exploration is like a simple stroll in that inside the only bulkheads that remain in position are those that delimit the small nautical room, the rest is visible. To make the dive more enchanting one can reach the deck below, that is the one with the master’s quarters, down an internal stairway and thereby touch the momentous quota of -40. Naturally the internal route can be avoided by passing externally, indeed the communication stairway ends in the same area. At this point the dive continues following the guide cable stretched horizontally that joins the quarterdeck to the terminal section of the funnel. The route in free water passes through a red cloud of Castagnolas which entirely cover the Haven, while below runs the deck of the wreck in its entire breadth. During the crossing it is important never to lose contact with the cable but to hold it firmly between your hands because in case of even slight currents its use becomes essential. From the top of the funnel one distinguishes perfectly the cut made by the underwater operators to increase the quantity of water between the wreck and the surface, a cut that among other lays bare many pipes that come out of the Haven’s belly. One is now at a depth of 34 metres. The way back, only when there is no current, takes you to see the blocks of the onboard derricks whose masts have remained miraculously in place. There are two, located between the quarterdeck and the funnel, one to port and the other to starboard of the hull. Looking carefully at the blocks (36/37 m), in particular the portside one, one can see some marine microrganisms. They are polyps of very precious and rare and brilliantly coloured "jewel anemones" (Corynactis viridis), of which, however, much more important colonies are present on entire deck surfaces. At this point the exploration may be considered complete. One goes back to the quarterdeck, one goes up to the upper bridge and having reached the summit from which one arrived, one ascends to reach the planned decompression depths. haven

The forward section: This dive is decidedly more difficult than the previous because one reaches the maximum depth of 56 metres of the deck. To be truly tasted in full and with common sense, it is however a good idea to divide it into two specific itineraries: the first toward the bow is aimed at reaching the exact point of the explosion that causes the separation of the bow from the rest of the hull; the second, the visit to the decks, is instead more challenging and dedicated to an inspection of the zone in front of the quarterdeck and then a close look at the various decks to be completed during the ascent. The starting point for both solutions is, as usual, the upper bridge of the quarterdeck. Forward, to visit the deck one moves ahead accompanied by bundles of pipes of different diameters, some of which were used to transfer and others to off load the cargo, which are topped off by goose-neck gas blowholes. The deck is like a maze of conduits that run straight, converge, leap over one another up to tank no. 3, beyond which is the zone of the initial explosion. Having reached here and having seen what remains of the bow, there is nothing to do but to set off back, paying attention to the curious meetings between the pipes on the deck, because it is quite probable to find yourself face to face with a fine example of a conger eel. This certainly the itinerary less advised by the scuba guides, due to the lengthy spells using the fins required and that is performed at a depth that merits full respect, but also and especially because the sight of bent pipes and dented plating does not bring many emotions. The visit to the decks. Despite following the previous one in the early part, that is upper bridge and descent to arrival at the deckhouse of the pump room, it envisages turning back and heading beyond the wings of the bridge and arriving on the weather deck.haven_navigazione At this level, which acts as basement to the quarterdeck, by always following the bulkheads one can access different spaces, which through doors and windows allow a short penetration. Thus wandering around one comes in quick succession the cargo control room, the mess, the refrigerated stores, the locker, other cold stores among which those for meat, fish, milk and cheese, the storeroom and the galley located centrally to the ship, until reaching the infirmary and then, in succession, the laundry and the fire-fighting room accessible through some doors situated on the port side. Naturally, one is dealing with the most external spaces, because then internally, on the same level, connected by corridors one finds other small rooms destined for stowage of ship’s supplies and foodstuff. Going back up a floor, from the deck one reaches the lifeboat deck, at a quota of -52 metres, where naturally there is no longer any trace of the boats, only the small cranes that held them remain. Originally there were two lifeboats, one on each side and they were type approved to host 47 people each. This is the floor where the seamen’s cabins were located, adjacent to the mess and also the deck from which the seamen manoeuvred the cargo derricks. Astern of the quarterdeck, taking one of the many external stairways that contribute to enhancing the architecture of the Haven one arrives at the petty officers’ deck, the layout of which mirrors the one described above. A new ramp of stairs and there is a wide terrace that besides marking 48 metres from the surface leads to the officers’ deck. From this terrace there is a very good view of the underlying zone, delimited between the bridge and the funnel chest. Going back up a floor there is the deck of the chief engineer, at 44 metres in depth. Having also looked around this deck one can go directly back up to the top of the quarterdeck passing either by the last lateral stairway which leads to the upper levels (bridge and the master’s cabin already described in the standard dive); or by directly following the bridge wings. During this dive one can see bulkheads covered entirely by handrails, pipes and valves, deformed or partially melted, which together with the benthos sessile continue to embellish the metallic frame of the hull. Toward the bow. Certainly no less charming than the exploration of the quarterdeck, this route is quite difficult in that it develops constantly at a depth of 56 metres. Indeed, the weather deck is reached by going down deck after deck ahead of the quarterdeck, until you find yourself facing, as high as a mausoleum, the funnel structure. On the weather deck, there are many parts of ship’s equipment spread around, like for instance the arm of a derrick fallen between the mooring post and fairleads. The same steel cable that is still housed in the chock is stretched on the deck, just as the caps of other outlet valves, which have been completely removed or partially overturned. The second starboard derrick is instead high and imperious, proud of having survived the havoc created by the fire. This is accompanied by a short but inviting ramp of stairs that leads to the upper part of the chest, on which the funnel structure rests. Below the small terrace of the lifeboat deck, right in front of the entrance to the storeroom, there was a sort of mini-bar to support the personnel on watch. There is a stairway leading to the upper deck and this is the area where the polyps of jewel coral are mostly present. One finds an incredible quantity and especially of different colours: green, pink, yellow, completely everted intent on capturing like open hands, the greatest nutriment possible transported by the currents. They form entire colonies since they are so dense, capable of completely covering the railings and balconies of the various decks. Lateral breach, rudder and propeller. As usual, this itinerary also starts from the upper bridge and allows one to pay a visit to what the super tanker, still on the surface and engulfed by the fire, proudly showed to the whole world: the gigantic rudder blade and those of the propeller. Before arriving at the objective of this exploration one can also see the power with which the last explosion that took place on board reduced a part of the external port side bulwark. The depth at that point varies between -62/63 and -67/68, depending a lot on where one is positioned. Going on with the exploration but staying at this depth, one heads for the stern arch, another point of interest where the rudder and propeller are located. The size of the transom is considerable and makes a point, which is badly lit in itself due to the depth, even darker. The upper side of the compensated-blade rudder signals almost 70 metres below the surface. It plunges down in dark green and it is necessary to descend to the sea bed to reach the other side. You also come across the propeller, which has always been the most fascinating point of a ship. The sizes are impressive, decidedly in line with all those of the hull. A person could easily dance in the middle of the blades.

Foto e Testi: Adriano Penco - fotogiornalista


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