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Alert Diver is the dive industry’s leading publication. Featuring DAN’s core content of dive safety, research, education and medical information, each issue is a must-read reference, archived and shared by passionate scuba enthusiasts. In addition, Alert Diver showcases fascinating dive destinations and marine environmental topics through images from the world’s greatest underwater photographers and stories from the most experienced and eloquent dive journalists in the business.

DIVE SLATE ANDREA DORIA

DIVE SLATE ANDREA DORIA As a result, the Doria became the tipping point that led Northeast wreckers to adopt mixed-gas technology to improve their safety and performance. Eventually others followed. The catalyst: Technical diving pioneer Capt. Billy Deans began developing mix protocols after losing his best friend, John Ormsby, on an air dive on the Doria in 1985. That same year Deans helped Bielenda install an O 2 decompression system on the Wahoo that got divers out of the water faster and with fewer bends. Soon everyone was decompressing with oxygen. In 1991, with Deans’ support, the Wahoo hosted the first mixed-gas expedition on the Doria. Led by explorer Bernie Chowdhury, it signaled the eventual demise of deep air diving. “[Mix] put divers on par with those who could tolerate the narcosis,” Gentile said. “It enabled them to make dives they couldn’t have before.” Before long, mixed-gas classes were booming, and the Doria became tech divers’ No. 1 destination. SILVERSTEIN-WEYDIG COLLECTION RESCUING THE CHINA Although there were always rival factions, Doria divers formed a close-knit community, which still persists to this day. Expedition leader Joel Silverstein, who has 60 dives on the wreck, said that the relationships he formed while diving the Doria had the biggest impact on him. “We share a common bond having gone down that anchor line,” Silverstein said. “We carry rust from the Doria on our drysuits.” He estimates that perhaps as many as 1,500 divers have dived the Doria, but only about 50 divers have more Peter Gimbel and his wife, Elga Andersen, pose with the contents of the Doria’s safe, which was opened on live television in 1984. than 10 dives on the wreck. By comparison, about 4,000 people have climbed Mount Everest. That community has helped keep alive the memory of the Doria and has recovered some of its artifacts: two bells, two Guido Gambone friezes, a bronze statue, the helm, the compass and thousands of china dishes, among others. “Recovering artifacts has been my primary motivation,” said Doria historian John Moyer (120 dives), who has an “admiralty arrest” on the wreck, giving him ownership of specific contents. “We have to rescue what we can before it’s irretrievably lost.” Moyer hopes to create a permanent Doria museum. Today there’s a drastic reduction in the number of divers venturing to the Doria, and it can be difficult to fill a single charter. Not surprising, rebreathers have replaced open-circuit scuba as the technology du jour. Last year Doria veteran Bart Malone (179 dives) was the only open-circuit diver on a private charter of 12. The prospects of finding artifacts have also changed. In the old days divers were almost guaranteed a souvenir; today they are much harder to find. But that hasn’t deterred longtime divers such as explorer and photographer Steve Gatto, who plans to conduct his first rebreather dive on the wreck this summer. Gatto has made close to 250 dives on the Doria, including the deepest penetration with Tom Packer (150+ dives), and both divers signed the “arrest” claim on the Doria along with Moyer. Gatto said that the deterioration of the ship is a double-edged sword. “While closing off old areas, it is opening up new ones,” he said. “There will always be something to find.” AD “THERE WILL ALWAYS BE SOMETHING TO FIND.” 18 | SUMMER 2016

PAUL JOHNSON CENTER FOR COASTAL AND OCEAN MAPPING SILVERSTEIN-WEYDIG COLLECTION COURTESTY STEVE GATTO COURTESY BOB HOLLIS COURTESY GARY GENTILE Clockwise from top left: Steve Gatto holds the Doria’s aft helm in 1987. Bob Hollis, founder and CEO of American Underwater Products, assists Don Roddocker, co-founder of Saturation Systems Inc., who is cutting an entry hole in the Doria’s foyer doors in 1973. Sidescan sonar image of the Doria from the Paul Johnson Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping, University of New Hampshire (used with permission). Shipwreck historian and author Gary Gentile holds the Doria’s stern bell in 1985. Peter Gimbel, using a surfacesupplied band-mask, uncovers plates and cutlery on the Andrea Doria in 1981. ALERTDIVER.COM | 19

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