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Andrea Doria Discussion

Discussion in 'Wreck Diving' started by AhoyFed, Nov 8, 2020.

  1. DiverDiverRUOK

    DiverDiverRUOK Dive Travel Professional

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Florida
    I made my first dives on the Andrea Doria in 2019, co-leading an expedition after being blown out the previous two years. I live in Florida, but try to make a trip to the Northeast wrecks every summer, though our Doria trip for this year was cancelled due to Covid restrictions. It is not an easy wreck to get to, both logistically and due to timing the weather, but it was definitely a worthwhile endeavor and I look forward to our trip in 2021.

    Certainly, bringing home China and other artifacts from the wreck is a lot of fun, but as you mention - it is easy to get distracted by that and not focus on your dive. The wreck sits in a spot with strong currents that can change within minutes, with limited visibility in cold water - last year our tie-in spot was on the port side railing close to the stern, at about 190ft and I think the max depth I found in the sand was in the 245ft range. I was on CCR, but a lot of the guys on our trip were on open circuit. Most of the guys on our trip did one dive per day, though a couple did 2 on one of the days, and the open circuit divers were limited to 4 sets of tanks total due to space restrictions on the boat.

    There are advantages and disadvantages to both OC and CCR for a dive like this, so certainly getting some good advice weighing your options is a good call. Certainly, you want to go on a dive like this with the system you are most comfortable with and confident in. My first trip to dive the Northeast, even though I am a CCR instructor on two units, I took OC equipment and dove double HP120s because it's simple and I was unfamiliar with the environment. After getting some more experience in the way dives go up there, I started bringing a rebreather and much prefer CCR to OC, but again there are reasons behind any decision like this that you need to determine for yourself based on your own personal limitations.

    I would argue that the wreck is absolutely still worth doing, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun I had despite hearing all the arguments that the wreck is falling apart. Everyone on our trip came home with at least one piece of china, as my co-leader and I made sure that we shared from our own stashes so no one went home empty handed. That being said, if you're coming from no tech diving experience there is a fairly long road ahead before you should consider yourself ready. You will need to have not only the certifications necessary (Advanced Trimix OC or Advanced Mixed Gas CCR), but also get experience at those depths and conditions outside of training so you're ready for what this wreck can throw at you. The Andrea Doria is a fantastic goal for a diver looking to get into technical diving, and there is an incredibly diverse path available to you to enjoy the ride getting ready for it. Please feel free to message/PM me if you have any questions or would like some advice - I would be more than happy to help point you in the right direction.
    eleniel, Colliam7, RyanT and 9 others like this.
  2. jgttrey

    jgttrey ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Houston
    I don't personally have interest in diving the Doria as, for me, the risk reward ratio is just not there. To each his/her own, of course and that's not really my purpose in posting.

    I would say you're getting way, way ahead of yourself to even thinking about gear decisions at this point other than (a) you really do need a drysuit and plenty of experience with it and (b) at some point fairly early in your tech training, though not immediately, you would need to decide OC versus CCR. Were I you, I'd start with some basic OC tech classes (AN/DP, recreational trimix type stuff) and learn enough to then make intelligent decisions for yourself about CCR or cylinders or whatever, before investing in anything.

    You have years of training and hundreds of dives ahead of you before getting to the point of deciding whether you want to dive that wreck and what gear you might need to do it. Almost anything you do gear-wise at this point beyond starting to dive dry is way, way premature and will likely turn out to be something you regret. In the meantime, you've got a good (and relative to the Doria, benign) training ground for deep cold water wrecks). Take advantage of it.
  3. Akimbo

    Akimbo Just a diver Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    It is high risk, but a seriously exciting dive if you are into wrecks. @AhoyFed will be able to make an informed value judgement like you have after following my suggestion to dive shallower NE wrecks. Al Giddings was one of the very early people to extensively dive the Doria and described it as "high voltage". I concur.
    eleniel and AhoyFed like this.
  4. AhoyFed

    AhoyFed Registered

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Ontario
    Again thank you all for your replies and posts.

    There are a lot of rebreathers on the market and I haven’t looked into any. I know some names on the market hold more weight than others, and with different brands support different types of CCR like SCR, eCCR, etc I will have a lot of questions to ask. I will stop by the rebreather thread and see if I can find a beginners guide or something aimed more at the basics.

    I’m definitely comfortable in doubles at this stage, even for recreational diving. I haven’t done any doubles courses but with about half of my dives on them I understand that they are a different animal than single tank and CCR. But again, I am very early in the long road to the Doria (if I even reach it) so I still have the ability to pick up CCR along the way.

    Often I remind myself that sometimes the best divers don’t dive at all and call it before trouble begins. I’m sure there have been many people who paid a boat load of money (literally) to come to the Doria and other wrecks and decided that today wasn’t the day. I see no shame in that personally as I might end up in the situation.

    Sure, this is an early stage to be choosing gear and making choices however I do believe the philosophy of buying it once and buying it right. I skipped the whole stage of “jacket/bcd” diving and went right into a wing which is cross compatible with many setups.
    But I am not blind that training and practice are paramount in this stage and take importance over gear choices.

    Again thank you to all who posted and feel free to add more, recommendations, tips, stories, etc.

    OTF and Southside like this.
  5. kelemvor

    kelemvor Big Fleshy Monster ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Largo, FL USA
    I would find a tech instructor that you like and have a detailed conversation with him. He'll tell you what you need to get. Tech instructors tend to be a little picky, and what works for some on SB may not be the configuration that instructor wants you using in his class. I don't think you should buy anything before talking to the instructor.
    abnfrog, AhoyFed and DiverDiverRUOK like this.
  6. rjack321

    rjack321 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Port Orchard, Washington State
    I would spend the next 3 or 4 years working towards AN/DP+rec trimix (or whatever they call it), NAUI T1, GUE T1, or one of the other entry level, ~160ft, normoxic OC trimix courses. When you have 75-100 dives in the 130-170ft range on OC mix with deco then you'll be in a better position to decide what's next. That would be a reasonable point to switch to CCR if you still aspire to 200+ft dives.
  7. Boston Breakwater

    Boston Breakwater "Outlaw." Solo Diver ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Brunswick, Georgia.
    First post.......waaaay off topic. You gotta love Scubaboard. LOL.
    Chanly83, tridacna and AhoyFed like this.
  8. mac64

    mac64 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Ireland
    The way to get to any wreck is basically the same, you keep diving wrecks. The more wrecks you dive and the more often you dive them the quicker you get to the one you want.
    AhoyFed likes this.
  9. mac64

    mac64 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Ireland
    If my aim was to dive the AndreaDoria I would find a wreck as close as possible to dive within my gear and training and dive that, the more time spent in the area and the more divers you meet the closer you are to your goal.
    eleniel, AhoyFed and abnfrog like this.
  10. Rich1280

    Rich1280 Registered

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Yorkshire, UK
    For a thought about rebreathers I found this a pretty useful article. Its quite old, so the prices are a way out, but it gives some of the advantages and considerations. I found it on Mark Powell's website for his training, and he has some other good stuff for reference on Deco Theory and things, as well as his excellent book.

    But I want one... Switching to rebreathers after diving open circuit scuba

    Hope that helps,
    chillyinCanada and AhoyFed like this.

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