Story of a sunken houseboat in Venice: the right moment to pick it out

houseboat venice

A little summary for the new readers

For those who still don’t know, Gina is a houseboat in Venice, owned by an Irish guy named Daryl Smith. She is actually a special houseboat, not those we are commonly used to. Gina is a boat that has been adapted for living. 

Unfortunately, after a very violent storm, Gina sank, leaving Daryl with nothing, neither a home and all his stuff. The main characters of this story are Daryl and the houseboat Gina which are strongly linked to each other. 

We decided this was the perfect story to tell through a documentary. So we got immersed in all these adventures in Venice and we decided to share with you our experiences while we’re still producing this amazing project. 

If you’d like to discover more about this story, you can read all the previous posts and visit the dedicated web page

Other blog posts:

Shooting with Daryl

Shooting days in Venice have always been very complicated. Venice is not an easy city for filmmakers: you can’t just park and take the gear you need for the day. Venice is very different from the others and anytime we had to be careful. Every time we need to balance gear in order not to have too much weight on our shoulders, without sacrificing quality. 

I’m talking about a completely different world and step by step you begin to get used to it, but first times have been difficult. After the first shooting days with our back broken, we started to pay attention to it! 

We always like to describe how to get footage in Venice, because it’s easy to fall into the trap and be transported by the beauty of the city, without thinking how it is complicated.

For the shooting day we had with us: 

  • One cinema camera for each
  • Tripod
  • Two big backpack with audio gear, lenses and all that was able to get inside. 
documentary filmmakers
Shooting day - The pirate of Venice - January 2020

Christmas holidays and the low tide: perfect time to get out a houseboat in Venice

This chapter aims to introduce you to the most beautiful and complicated part of this documentary: the rising of Gina from the sea. As always, it didn’t work immediately, there have been many stressful trials.

We’ll always remember the first one.  

It was around the end of December and the tide started to become lower. Seasonally during winter, the tide in the lagoon of Venice starts to get lower and lower. Sometimes you are able to see the bottom of the channels. In that period we could see the roof of Gina. This has been the period when Daryl decided to bring its houseboat out. 

We were very worried because before starting the documentary, we scheduled to spend Christmas day with our family in Florence. We couldn’t decline, but we were scared that Daryl would have tried to rise up Gina. In fact during that moment, the tide was becoming lower and it would have become easier to bring her out.  

Initially we didn’t know what to do. Stay here or go risking to miss a very important step of the story. But then we decided to sincerely talk with Daryl telling him if he could have postponed the big day.

Fortunately he didn’t have problems with it, because none of his friends was willing to sacrifice Christmas holidays for Gina and this gave us the chance to get back in time and be present for the big day, feeling relieved. Daryl kept repeating that it would have been enough of a pump to get Gina out and it would have been easy with the low tide. 

So from that moment, we knew that every day could be the day for the first try. We couldn’t miss it, it was too important. 


For this post is enough, see you next week with a new post about Daryl and his sunken houseboat in Venice!! Don’t forget that if you want to read more article, you can find here:

If you are interested in this story and you want to stay up to date with the next posts, subscribe to the newsletter below. 

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