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Any PADI/TecRec certification: PADI Course Director, TecRec and Trimix Instructor Trainer for Open Circuit, PADI MKVI Rebreather Instructor.
Usual Country of residence: Mexico and where they ask me to work.
What is your background and current involvement in diving?
My first dive was 20 years ago in a submarine in Barbados. I was watching the beauty of the ocean while some divers where outside interacting with the ocean environment. I wanted to be like them. Back in Italy I started diving but for personal reason for many years I only did DSDs and dive in the summer. In 1999, I finally got certified as a PADI OW diver and in 2000 I became a PADI Professional.
How did you get into tec diving?
I was always attracted by the depth in the ocean and by the silence of the caves. I first became a cave diver living in the best area to dive caves… During a vacation in Honduras I experienced some deep diving and back to Playa del Carmen I decided to enrol in a Tec/Trimix course to properly train. Being already a PADI Professional, I decided to reach the Tec/Trimix/CCR and Cave instructor level and share my experience and love for this type of diving with others.
Do you have any specialised areas of interest?
I love the feeling of drifting on a wall dive knowing not so many people have been there. I enjoy swimming around a wreck and imaging when it was out of the water and get as many details as possible of its structure. I love the silence using a rebreather underwater and getting close to the underwater world without disturbing it. As for cave diving it is challenging and inspiring being under the rocks and enjoying the work of nature on this fragile ecosystem. Sidemount diving represents my latest involvement and I apply it both to Tec and cave diving.
What do you think the greatest challenges are in this kind of diving?
It requires commitment from the diver to follow specific standards and guidelines. The training is based on real challenges that you as a diver will encounter during a dive. The fact that problems may not arise does not mean we should not be ready to face them. Trim, gas exchanges, attitude and respect of your personal limits are the key to be able to complete these dives safely.
What are the most important attributes of a tec diver for the type of diving you do?
Attitude, respect for standards, ability to work in a team, capability to leave your ego at home, be able to deal with problems, control of stress level and know and accept your diving limits.
What are the most likely mistakes a tec diver can make in your kind of diving? In Tec/Trimix diving a wrong gas switch may result in the death of the diver. Also not following the plan (depth and time, air management) represents a dangerous situation you do not want to face in such a dive. In rebreather diving, monitor your instruments and do not get lazy or compliant. In cave diving apply the rule of thirds and if you are diving with a new buddy or in a new cave system be more conservative… For all divers: respect your level of training.
How do you prepare for a demanding technical dive? I plan headed of time the dive, prepare and analyse the gas mixes and gear, talk about and plan for any possible “what if” that we can foresee. Have support divers ready and prepared. Sleep well for a few days before the dive, eat correctly, no alcohol or caffeine drinks. Inform the hyperbaric chamber of the dive profile and have them ready in case of need for the correct treatment.
What were your best or worst tec diving experiences? The best Trimix dive was in Eagle Nest, Florida. I enjoyed so much that cave, the environment around, the preparation we had to do in order to accomplish it. My worst dive was a deep drift Trimix ocean dive. I knew the boat was not following us since I did not receive the “signal” we had agreed on. The current was very strong and we were in the middle of the afternoon. I thought we could be drifting on the surface all night. However I remained focused on the dive. We ended up drifting for 20 to 30 min on the surface but we were spotted and taken back to the dive shop before the sun was down.
What influences your selection of dive gear? Proficiency and simplicity of the gear for the depth I want to dive.
What kind of person do you want diving in the same team as you? I choose a diver with attitude and appropriate training, able to abort a dive with no second thoughts. He/she has to be a team player but able to end a dive alone if needed.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of getting into tec diving? Ask yourself “why” you want to become a Tec diver and be honest with yourself in the answer. Be open to learn, have a good attitude, leave your ego at home, be like a sponge and “suck” any info you can from any dive you do.