Tavernola - Wharf.
This popular dive site is visited by divers from Bergamo and beyond. Thanks to some tacit non-aggression pact, scuba diving has always been permitted here, though the site is right in front of a small marina that attracts many tourists.
Obviously, both the divers and the boaters should use common sense; the former should avoid making a nuisance of themselves and the latter should wait a few minutes before turning on their outboard motors so that divers have time to get clear of their propellers. At all events, divers must always have regulation buoys and keep their wits about them, especially during the summer.
The wharf area is close to a number of fairly convenient public parking lots and, if you are lucky, you can park in one of the four spaces next to the floating pier, which are extremely handy for unloading equipment.
When you have unloaded and assembled the equipment, which can be done on one of the benches there (though be careful when putting the tanks down!), prepare to go in the water. You can jump in from the floating dock or from the ladder in the corner of the little chessboard piazza.
Once you are in the water and have performed all of the routine safety checks, descend to a depth of -10 meters and, swimming with your left side towards the bottom, head to the wreck of a Ford Fiesta (Point 1 - FIESTA) lying facing the shoreline. This marks the starting point of your itinerary.
The lake bottom is composed of mud and fairly light silt and thus it takes only one clumsy fin stroke to obscure everyoneís visibility. Visibility can be truly outstanding in the winter, especially towards the end of January and in February, but in the summer it decreases dramatically in the first 15-20 meters of water due to algal blooms. In any event, the route is indicated by a rope line and if one does not make the poor visibility worse by stirring up the bottom, it's pretty easy to get to the aircraft engine (Point 3 - ENGINE) located at about -32 meters. The engine is thought to be from a Caproni seaplane, recovered on the other side of the lake near a shipyard where these famous planes were tested. We do not know the history of this engine with certainty, but it is a truly unique artifact. The long metal blade is still on the shaft, the finned cylinders are neatly arranged in a star, the exhaust manifoldÖin short, the engine has a number of really interesting features that make visiting this site worthwhile.
If you want to go further down, follow the rope line that leads to two small sunken boats (Point 4 - BOATS) that lie almost side by side at -42 to -45 meters.
If you continue along the line, you will reach the wreck of a wooden transport boat (Point 5 - CAMUNA), typical of the early 1900s, situated at -50 meters. The story one hears about the boat, featuring anecdotes regarding its captain that are so detailed that we suspect they were made up, is that it sank during a stormy night. In any event, the wreck is partially buried in silt and, in the course of more than a hundred years, it has accumulated so much mud that it looks like a "little step" in the sloping contour of the lake bottom.
The deck beams, now missing planking, which follow one another for about 18 meters are particularly interesting to see here.
After leaving this wreck, once called "The Camuna", you can follow a line leading southwest or one that goes back almost perpendicular to the bow of the boat. The first line leads to a large piece of a tube (Step 6 - 1 TUBE), lying at about -44 meters, presumably half of a mold used to cast the pillars of a provincial road nearby. This site is, frankly, of little interest, except for the fact that it offers divers the possibility of swimming (very carefully!)through the tunnel created by the tube piece at the lake bottom.
The second line leads to the first of two big guns (Step 7 - BIG GUN), positioned at -24 meters. It is a piece of antitank artillery whose war ended when it was taken out of service and sunk along a wall of the Lake of Lecco. It is of French manufacture and was most likely requisitioned by the Germans during the occupation. Here are some data on the weapon: Caliber: 47 mm; Weight of the Projectile: 1.725 kg; Maximum Height: 6,500 m; Weight: 1,050 kg in firing mode; Length: 2.49 m; Elevation: 13 ∞ 16.5 ∞; Armor Penetration: from 80 mm to 200 mm; Rotation: 68 ∞.
Now follow the line towards the southwest until you reach the second gun (Step 8 - GUN), also recovered from the Lake of Lecco, which rests at -21 meters. It was the standard cannon of its category used by the British Army at the outbreak of World War II. The weapon was called "2 pounds" in reference to the weight of the grenade it fired. Here are some data regarding it: Caliber: 40 mm; Weight of the Projectile: 1.08 kg; Maximum Height: 455 m; Weight: 831.6 kg in firing mode; Armor Penetration: 53 mm; Turntable 360 ∞. Of interest here is the exploded barrel of the gun; perhaps it was destroyed intentionally to render the weapon harmless, perhaps it was cracked by the heat of repeated shots, the last of which is still inside the breech.
Staying more or less at the same depth, you can now venture north in search of the Gilera (Point 9 - GILERA) at -18 meters or you can head northwest up to the Madonna statue that devotees have placed at -12 m (Point 10 - MADONNA) to protect divers (during one's ascent, a little prayer never hurts).
From the Madonna, return, towards the northeast, to the Fiesta and the exit point. We recommend, given the decompression time you have accumulated (especially if you have visited the "Camuna" that you follow the pillars of the marina to a charming Nativity Scene hut (Point 2 - CRIB) sitting at -7 meters, which, like the Madonna, was placed here by local devotees.
After a short prayer, return to the Fiesta, staying above the wreck to better facilitate decompression, and after a 3-minute safety stop at -5 meters, sadly, you must leave this peaceful world.
You can exit using the ladder (if the current depth of the lake allows it), or you can come out from behind the floating wharf of the boat dock.
Once you are out of the water, think about the wonderful experience you just had, disassemble your equipment, and say goodbye to your companions after you've shared a refreshing drink. If necessary, you can go home on one of the buses that departs regularly for Bergamo and/or Lovere.
A big thank you from all of us to the various groups have contributed over the years to the completion of this very very enjoyable and fascinating underwater itinerary. N.C.D. hopes that the mapping and this article may help other divers for a nice dive in company.
Come for a ride with us: the video.
To download the map: click here Provincia di Bergamo
Comune di Tavernola Bergamasca
Molo Marinai d'Italia
Coord. GPS 45.708719 N , 10.047103 E