The famous Italian diver Enzo Mallorca recalled “when I first started thinking about setting freediving records, the medical experts kept saying that a man could not stay alive diving deeper than 165ft [50m] because his lungs would not make it.”
“Doctors were creating barriers for us and I admit that at the time it worried me,” he admitted. “Even Aristotle claimed a man could dive no deeper than 30 ft.”
In September 1960, he successfully descended to a depth of 45m, in the process setting the first of 17 wworld records in the variable buoyancy category.
Two months later, he extended this to 49m.
In August 1961 he set a new record of 50m in the “constant weight” category, in which there are no additional buoyancy aids and the diver must descend and ascend with their own fin power. The Italian media dubbed him Lord of the Abysses.
Years later, Enzo dove into the sea of Syracuse and was talking to his daughter Rosanna who was aboard the boat. Ready to go in, he felt something slightly hit his back.
He turned and saw a dolphin. Then he realized that the dolphin did not want to play but to express something.
The animal dove and Enzo followed.
At a depth of about 12 meters, trapped in an abandoned net, there was another dolphin. Enzo quickly asked his daughter to grab the diving knives. Soon, the two of them managed to free the dolphin, which, at the end of the ordeal, emerged, issued an “almost human cry” (describes Enzo).
(A dolphin can stay under water for up to 10 minutes, then it drowns.)
The released dolphin was helped to the surface by Enzo, Rosanna and the other dolphin. That’s when the surprise came: she was pregnant!
The male circled them, and then stopped in front of Enzo, touched his cheek (like a kiss), in a gesture of gratitude and then they both swam off.
Enzo Mallorca once said, “Until man learns to respect and speak to the animal world, he can never know his true role on Earth.”
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