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Friday, July 4, 2014
A Hampstead schoolgirl has become one of the youngest master scuba divers in the world – aged just 12.
Indigo Bolandrini, a pupil at North Bridge House School in Rosslyn Hill, Hampstead, has completed more than 60 dives in less than a year in the UK and Egypt.
She told the Ham&High: “I just do it because it’s enjoyable and you get to know everyone on the boat. It’s fun to see what’s underneath what most of the planet is made of.”
Indigo, who is half Danish and half Italian, dives mainly in the Egyptian resort of Elgouna, where her family has had a house for 13 years, and received her qualifications with Scuba Zone, a dive club in Finchley Road.
The deepest she has dived is 21 metres, which is the limit for her age, however she cheekily recounts a small “accident” where she exceeded this depth while diving above a deep, vertical drop.
“I thought I saw a type of rare octopus and swam down,” she explained.
“It turned out to be just a rock but I looked at my readings and suddenly found myself at 32 metres. I was fine in the end but it was scary!”
This explains the attitude of her mother, Tina Bolundrani, 45, towards her daughter’s hobby.
“My mother hates it,” said Indigo, who lives in Bracknell Gardens, Hampstead. “But she hasn’t tried it yet.”
Since her first dive in August 2013, Indigo has dived in various boat wrecks, including a Greek freighter sunk in 1981 off the Abu Nuhas reef in Egypt. She is also a qualified night diver.
Indigo cites one of her best experiences as meeting a school of dolphins for the first time.
“We were on our way back to the dive boat when we saw them and they played with us in this amazing shallow lagoon,” she explained.
So what’s next for the girl who has already achieved so much at just 12 years of age?
She is friends with another master scuba diver, Charlotte Burns, also 12, of Biggin Hill, Kent, and the pair would like to go diving together in Silfra Crack, Iceland.
The renowned dive site comprises a whopping 200-metre deep fissure between two tectonic plates and has the clearest water on earth.
Indigo added: “And… when I turn 15, I can dive to 40 metres!”