My friend struggled into his wetsuit. It was a warm, sunny Mediterranean day. I was driving a small motorboat across the bay from the biology research station to Calvi.
“I cannot believe people do this for pleasure,” Daniel grumbled. Sweat was running down his forehead. His beard was wet, and he wore a grumpy but very funny expression on his face. He had put on weight, and his wetsuit was difficult to get on.
Daniel Bay and I had been doing research on the effects of pollution in the Bay of Calvi. Calvi is a walled citadel city in the north of the island of Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea, about 100 miles southeast of Nice.
Corsica is French, but its history and people trace their ancestry to many civilizations. French, Italian, and a Corsican dialect are spoken on the island. Tourism, agriculture, and fishing are the main occupations of the people. The Corsicans welcomed me with warmth, friendship, and hospitality.
Dan, who is from Belgium, was director of the biology station on Corsica operated by the University of Liege for many years. Scientists who specialize in marine biology and oceanography stay at the research station to study and conduct experiments.
“I want to show you something. An American will appreciate this,” Dan told me one morning after breakfast.
We got our scuba diving gear together and loaded the boat at the dock. I slipped into my wetsuit as Dan navigated the boat, then I took the helm and he got ready. He continued to grumble in his funny way that made everybody who knew his good nature laugh.
It only took Dan a moment to position the boat using onshore landmarks. I dropped the anchor overboard. The motorboat was almost in the shadow of a tall cliff that formed a precipice upon which the city’s walls were built, on a peninsula of land commanding a view of the bay.
The colors of the mountains around Calvi, red terracotta roofs of houses on the shore, and the massive walls of the fortified city lent an aura of mystery to our dive.
Over we went with a splash as we rolled backward off the boat, both at the same time to keep the motorboat stable. I took my underwater camera.
I could see it almost at once as I swam down through clear water. It was awesome. The wings of a B-17 Flying Fortress spread out below. The sunken bomber was upright on the bottom, its nose facing the citadel of Calvi.