When and why did you start diving? Since I was 5, my father used to let me empty his tanks after dives by breathing through his regulator (I remember it was a Technisub Inject 20). I did my very first real dive in the summer of 1977 at 8 years old. I went straight to 12 meters with a 5 liter tank on my shoulder, holding some tools for my father who was fixing the mooring chain of our boat in Sicily. I had no rules to follow other than equalize my ears, breath and do not overtake the bubbles on the way up! It was the beginning of a lifetime adventure!
Most memorable dive experience? It’s not easy to say. The one that pops up over the others, is when I did my first dive filming the giant sea lions in South Australia. After thousands of dives in many places and many creatures seen, that particular experience was unforgettable, specially for the interaction I had with them in the absolute wildness of the York Peninsula.
What is your spirit fish (or mammal/reptile) and why? I’ve always loved the Orcas. They always move and travel free, like me. I feel I have no roots and I try to live my life as an adventure, changing islands and exploring new places around the world. The Native Orca Symbol or Killer Whales symbolizes family, romance, longevity, harmony, travel, community and protection. He is said to protect those who travel away from home, and lead them back when the time comes.
Favorite piece of Aqualung diving equipment? Honestly saying, all the equipment is incredibly efficient and comfortable, but if I have to choose one piece in particular it would be the regulator Legend Elite. For my daily work in the water the Legend Elite is something I can always rely on from tropical to freezing cold waters! Is robust but light, efficient at all depths and also with a beautiful design.
How do you approach non-divers to get them excited about learning to dive? I show them my photos and I tell them, “…imagine to be able to be a part of it…” and “ …you can do it too if like!" Breathing underwater is an amazing feeling; it’s an incredible opportunity for everybody to uncover the extraordinary underwater world. After the first underwater breath, diving will be part of your life! But learning it with the right people is the most important!
Dream dive: where and with who (alive or not)? Well, I grew up following all the adventures of J.Y. Cousteau and later I worked for 15 years with the Italian photographer of his Calypso team. I always dreamt to be part of the Calypso and live those adventures with the spirit of those early times of underwater discoveries.
Any hidden talents? I use to draw well when I was young. That’s how I built my passion for photography and filming. Drawing helped me a lot also during my university, when I studied biology and used to visualize on paper all the things I had to memorize, from zoology to genetics. I wanted to be a professional scientific drawer if I wouldn’t have been involved in photography.
What steps are you taking to improve the health of our oceans? Any advice for others who want to help? I thought to save the ocean once, that’s why I studied marine biology and got a master degree. After years of experiences in the scientific world as researcher on field, I decided to dedicate my existence to divulgate the knowledge about the oceans, its creatures and its current issues and possible conservation solutions through documentaries and very lately, though pictures and storytelling. I worked as underwater anchor-man, biologist-consultant and cameraman for the Italian television, striving to make simpler and more comprehensible what normally was told to complicate and scientific to the public. My idea is that if the people understand how beautiful, amazing and important is the planet earth, then probably will put an effort to respect it. Now a day I work full time as conservation photographer and storyteller.