Well, it’s been a bit of a journey getting here. After some rest and relaxation in Italy, I arrived at Rome airport via the traditional Italian mentally unstable taxi driver, only to battle for about 40 minutes to get my luggage approved. Efficiency is something that happens to other people, it seems. I started to get concerned I was going to miss my flight. I was wrong.

In the end, we were delayed close to four hours, turning the planned 10pm arrival time into something vastly less palatable. The final hour and a half or so was after they boarded the flight and got everyone to turn off their electronics, so the poor guy picking me up at the airport had no idea about the continued delay. Sorry, Sasha. I guess it was their version of Earth Hour? Nevertheless, I was starting to lose it a bit. The real fun however was upon arrival. I rushed through customs so as not to make Sasha wait any longer, but hit a snag on the luggage carousel. It appears the airline took an unnatural dislike to my monofin and decided not to put it on the plane. An extra half an hour of waiting in line and trying to deal with lost luggage frankly did not put me in a great mood or mental state. All the while, Sasha patiently waited for the prodigal athlete. After a frustrating time trying to explain things in English to airline staff who only spoke Bureaucracy, I filed a report and found Sasha still waiting. He explained the situation to the airline then took me to the hotel.

The hotel itself is a huge improvement on last world champs. The rooms are comfortable and air-conditioned. It’s not very fancy, but fancy is not required. I eventually got to sleep and woke up shattered in the morning to a piece of good news. Two of the organisers, Milorad & Sacha, had pulled strings and pushed buttons at the airline and the fin had been located! I got a phone call later from Air Serbia to confirm that the fin was still in Rome, but would be on its way as soon as they had worked out how to get it to me. It seemed like a strange problem for an airline, but they eventually worked out they owned aeroplanes and put it on a flight the next day, so we have been reunited! Thanks to everyone who helped or offered fin loans. It’s really nice to see how willing to help everybody was – I really appreciate it.

In the mean time, I’ve managed to make it to the official pool to test my buoyancy in what turned out to be a violently green pool. It turns out there’s a bit of an issue with the filtration system which should be fixed, but in the mean time it’s a bit like diving back home on the South Coast. The long-suffering organisers are busy losing their minds trying to resolve it, so fingers crossed for the next few days. I’ll update again soon, hopefully with a fresh new-look pool.