Deep Descent: Adventure and Death Diving the Andrea Doria
Kevin F. McMurray
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On a foggy July evening in 1956, the Italian cruise liner Andrea Doria, bound for New York, was struck broadside by another vessel. In eleven hours, she would sink nearly 250 feet to the murky Atlantic Ocean floor. Thanks to a daring rescue operation, only 51 of more than 1,700 people died in the tragedy. But the Andrea Doria is still taking lives.
Considered the Mt. Everest of diving, the Andrea Doria is the ultimate deepwater wreck challenge. Over the years, a small but fanatical group of extreme scuba divers have investigated the Andrea Doria, pushing themselves to the very limits of human endurance to explore her -- and not all have returned. Diver Kevin McMurray takes you inside this elite club with a hard, honest look at those who go deeper, farther, and closer to the edge than others would ever dream.
Deep Descent is the riveting true story of the human spirit overcoming human frailty and of fearsome, mortal risks traded for a hard-core adrenaline rush. Chronicling these adventures in his page-turning narrative and in dozens of dramatic photos, McMurray draws us deeper into the cold heart of the unforgiving sea, giving us a powerful vision of a place to which few will ever have the skills -- or the courage -- to go.
the determined sort, de Camp taught himself, mostly through in-the-water experience on the plethora of shallow-water wrecks within swimming distance of the beaches of the New Jersey shoreline. He recalls that back in those days there were no weight belts, no secondary regulators, and no tank pressure gauges. “You dove until it started getting hard to breathe, then you came up.” It was not long before the desire to dive the deeper, farther-offshore wrecks began to consume him. De Camp found a
aboard his boat such as Gary Gentile, Steve Gatto, John Moyer, and Tom Packer all dove the wreck on air, as they had for the last fifteen to twenty years. To accommodate them, the Seeker’s rule then evolved to the requirement that a trimix certification was necessary just to understand your responsibility and exposure. A duly certified diver aboard the Seeker was then free to use air on deep dives if he so chose. Crowell admitted that he dove the Doria about half the time on air himself. The
have bagged it. I began to follow his example. We clutched some ice-cold beers in our hands on the aft deck of the Wahoo on our way back to port, the midafternoon sun still warm on our backs. The beer and the misty spray of seawater rent by the bow of the boat was delightfully refreshing. Watching seagulls gliding over our wake put us in a reflective mood. Steve Bielenda wavers from waxing nostalgic to waxing combative. The past and the future form an unbroken line for the master of the Wahoo.
prepared now than I was then,” Hickey related to me. “Now when something comes up, I can handle it. I know exactly what to do. I’m ready now.” The Doria awaits. BIBLIOGRAPHY Gary Gentile. Andrea Doria: Dive to an Era. Philadelphia: Gary Gentile Productions, 1989. Gary Gentile. The Lusitania Controversies, Book 1: Atrocity of War and a Wreck Diving History. Philadelphia: Gary Gentile Productions, 1998. Gary Gentile. The Lusitania Controversies, Book 2: Dangerous Descents into
Gentile realized that there was no hope for him. The arm movement had just been a reflex motion when Deans pushed off. Since he had almost twenty minutes more of bottom time, Gary decided he would retrieve the body. Taking out his knife, he started to slice away at the one-inch cables. He managed to cut a couple away but quickly realized the knife would not suffice. Gentile had another idea. He removed a hundred-pound lift bag from Ormsby’s harness, filled it with air, then watched as the bag