Massimo Domenico Bondone, 58, based in Genoa, Italy, started scuba diving at the age of 18 and has since discovered or identified a wide variety of wrecks, including WW2 ships and submarines.
Mr. Bondone is a modern seafarer, one of the few Italian divers who have dived around mainland Italy, as well as in southern France and the islands of Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily, looking for wrecks, documenting their history and preserving the memory of the sailors who were lost with these vessels.
He is riding the waves with a rib fitted with all the equipment needed and with a team of friends, visits the wrecks and tries to find their stories.
Mr. Bondone notes that the most important finds and identifications are Bengasi and San Marco in Sardinia, Nina and UJ2208 in Genoa where he lives, U455 (identified), Geierfels and Freienfels, Kreta, Brandenburg (found, still to be identified).
Mr. Bondone's deepest dive was at 168 mts, 420' rt, real bottom time 20' plus descent (had 7 dives at this depth).
"At short / medium term i'm planning to dive the Brandenburg at 195 metres, finish SS Kreta's documentation at 170 metres and find more information on Freienfels and Geierfels, at 137 metres, the Fusina, north of Carloforte in Sardinia".
Here is what Massimo Bondone has to say about his significant findings:
You recently discovered Kreta off Livorno. How important was this find and how difficult a dive in such a great depth (preparations, dive plan, gas mix etc.)
Diving the SS Kreta was a true milestone for me. With a minimal team, every dive must be prepared very carefully, we only have one shot when we are in the open sea, 25 miles from shore.
Thanks to more than 20 deep dives on the two wrecks near Gorgona Island, I had no problems of any kind, with the appropriate level of surface and in-water support from my friend divers and support team.
If you want to go really deep, you have to be very careful, prepared and move in step by step, as every serious diver knows.
Which is the most impressive wreck you dived and why?
Well, a standard answer could be ... the next :-)
Seriously though, I think it is the Brandenburg wreck. In 2015 we had only one shot there, but it went wrong for technical reasons and I don't like to leave an incomplete "job" behind me.
Looking in the past, I have a really strong bond with the wrecks around the island of Sardinia, maybe because I sailed thousand of miles to do those dives, it was an age of pure adventure,with less planning than today.
How important is it to show the history of the wrecks and preserve their memory?
I am a strong believer that the wrecks are still alive, they are a link from past to present.
If we don't find them, identify them and document their story, we lose the history of the ships and the men who built them and sailed with them.
We don't have much time, maybe a few decades and then time and the elements of Nature will prevail.
I believe that history is not only made by masters and admirals, the last sailor too must be remembered.
We live in the third millennium, technology helps us to push the limits, we MUST use technology to leave a trail for those who come after us to follow.
All historical information and details come from AIDMEN (Associazione Italiana Documentazione Marittima e Navale), the Italian Association of Maritime and Naval Documentation. They are helpful and very skilled historians and their role is very important for the identification of the wrecks.
The German Uboat U455 was not found by me, but I am the one that has identified the Uboat in a definitive manner.
In a few words ,thanks to the suggestion of the President of Aidmen, I compared the arrangement and number of the scuppers with the one shown on Groener , a very reliable book on German Navy.
Another diving team found the Freienfels, I found the Geierfels and identified both of them.
ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF THEIR RESPECTIVE OWNERS