Why I did it

Is there any shipwreck more famous than the Titanic? There’s no for sure. Titanic is the icon of shipwreck also for those who don’t dive the extreme. It’s the most ambitious goals of any diver, it stands for the legend, the impossible. At the end of pretty intense and adventurous training that made me able to dive deep and below -100 mt (-300ft) underwater, it happened that I was invited by Aldo Ferrucci to take part
in an expedition exploring the HMHS Britannic shipwreck, the identical twin of the famous Titanic.
Initially, I took the expedition as a personal quest. First discovered and explored by the legendary Jacques Cousteau back in 1975, the HMHS Britannic shipwreck is considered among the most ambitious, dangerous and difficult diving experiences by divers of all levels including experienced wreck hunters. But shortly after my official enrollment in the mission, a foreign producer reached out on me determined to make a documentary video including the Britannic wreck. So, what was supposed to be a personal
challenge, turned out to be soon a professional assignment rising the game at a whole different level.
Preparation work has totally changed making every detail to be reconsidered into a new perspective keeping both safety and shooting into my priorities. Safety, on one hand, can’t be underestimated in any way but what happens in most cases where the diving mission goes to the extreme is that people cut back on the camera side and just go with small action cams in full auto or ‘point and shoot’ mode at best. My
goal was set on a different level as I wanted to push the shoot down at -120meters below the surface as it was on a regular deep dive, with no compromise on quality or operations. Image quality is not only on camera though, as I wanted to pay the same level of attention to image style, lighting and composition in the frame.
I spent a whole year in preparation for the exploration refining plans, getting specifically
trained and also mentally prepared. Eventually, I was ready to perform in a scenario of 30 minutes of bottom time on the Britannic wreck for the shoot and some more 2oo minutes to complete the procedures for safely exiting the water.

How I did it

The HMHS Britannic shipwreck is 269mt long and sits down 120mts deep close to Kea Island off the coast in front of Athens. The ship lays down on the right side, the upper deck is partially collapsed due to the erosion but still in incredibly good conditions considering it sank more than 100 years ago. Unfortunately we know we can’t say the same for the Titanic that suffers much more damnages from the Ocean and time.
On the first dive we did on the site, the drift was so strong that I could only win its speed having my scooter at full throttle. Of course the camera housing I set up on the scooter in partnership with Easydive was quite a drag in terms of hydrodynamics compared to my buddies.
Being the area a pretty busy route for ships and also typically know for stormy weather and strong drifts, the Greek CoastGuard had a dispatch for limiting the route and we had a boat and a fast dinghy standing by. Other than that, any emergency or problem that may have occurred, would have to be solved on our own while below the surface. Must say our team, however, was well prepared and well organized both to handle unwanted situations or emergencies but also to teamwork for the best of the shoot as I like sometimes divers to be in the frame for a better sense of exploration and to help with off-camera lighting.
Thanks to all members of the team listed as my buddy Enrico Bortolotti, Aldo Ferrucci, Marcello Bussotti, Roberto Strgar Hammer, Denise Brusoni Puma, Massimo Canali, Flavio Fanelli, Ced Le Dric, Paolo Bagordo, Chirs Rivolta Kaveman, Renaud Jourdan, Ella Moreschi, Caroline Dumas.
Finally, I’m happy to say that this personal and professional adventure I had together with the whole team, has lead to good success and apparently is one made to last since already some producers have asked my footage for licensing as it appears to be a well-done job. Among others, also National Geographic has reached out to have some footage of the biggest cruise ship currently showing its mysterious beauty on the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea.
Andrea Mescalchin