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    July 20, 2012

    SCUBA Diving Albania: Llamani Beach

    July 13, 2012*

    Grocery Store in Himara

    We stopped by a grocery store in Himara and bought cheese and bread to complete this evening’s dinner.

    My computer had six bars after our two deep dives; we had to stay out of the water for several hours – the next dive was deep, too.

    We drove to Llamani Beach and humped our stuff to the “public” corner of the beach.

    Llamani Beach

    Idit was tired and so was I; we rested under the umbrella for an hour with all of our diving gear around us, to the staring eyes of young kids and curious adults.

    “What does your computer say?” Idit asked.

    “It says we can fly in 23 hours,” I said.

    “I don’t trust your computer,” Idit responded.

    We geared up and entered the water.

    Idit had never dove here, but was told this was a good spot by a friend.

    We got a lot of curious stares as we kicked out

    We got a lot of curious stares as we kicked out.

    We surface swam over sand until we found a reef to descend on.

    Logged SCUBA Dive #419

    Dove with Idit

    Llamani Beach
    Himara, Albania

    Air Source: Private fisherman’s compressor in Saranda
    In With: 2900 psi
    Out With: 300 psi
    Max depth: 102 feet
    Waves: Flat
    Visibility: Up to 50 feet
    Water Temperature: 74 degrees, colder next to the fresh water springs
    Air Temperature: 99 degrees
    Total Bottom Time: 40 minutes or so

     Llamani Beach Reef

    There is a nice reef structure along the wall.

     Llamani Beach Reef

     Llamani Beach Reef
    Fresh water from the mountains oozes out of the sea floor, turning parts of the visibility blurry and the water colder.

    We found a Greek license plate…

    A Greek License Plate
    Fuck Greece!

    We did a perfect navigation back to our spot, swimming at a depth of 15 feet as our “safety stop” and swim home.

    My hand was like a prune!
    Oh my God! My hand was like a prune.

    This had better be temporary, as there is no television in Porto Palermo, the only thing I will have to do tonight is drink beer.

    Idit makes dinner.
    Back in Porto Palermo, Idit made our last meal here from the fresh vegetables we bought yesterday and the bread and cheese that we bought earlier.

    Beer, tomatoes, bell peppers, cheese and bread
    Beer, tomatoes, bell peppers, cheese and bread – a complete and healthy Albanian meal!

    Idit left to get some well deserved rest later in the evening.

    I said good bye to my newly acquired friends at the restaurant below the bungalows and had a good night’s rest before Idit picked me up for the journey back to Tirana.

    The water had gone out sometime during the night, so I couldn’t take a shower; I hope I didn’t smell too bad.


    *Due to time constraints, lack of reliable internet access outside of Tirana, power outages in Tirana and the strength of Albanian beer, posting of this article has been delayed.

    July 19, 2012

    SCUBA Diving Albania: Porto Palermo Bay

    July 13, 2012*

    After a two hour surface interval to off gas, we found the kids with the peddle boat to drop us off on the other side of the bay.

    The boat had sprung a leak and was taken out of the water.

    Idit talked the owner of the bar on the beach, and hired their fishing boat to take us for 500 LEK.

    The boat we hired for our second dive.

    This was the boat with the rock as an anchor.

    Again, we were to swim back to shore; the boat was only transportation there.

    The boat took us to the spot, I inflated by BCD, threw the gear over board, grabbed my fins and fell into the water.

    I put my fins on and dawned by BCD jacket.

    I swam over to Idit and tried to take a compass reading of where shore was.

    “Where the fuck is my compass?”

    “Where did you lose it?” Idit asked.

    “It’s got to be in the water, I must have dropped it putting on my BCD.”

    We surface swam in 20 feet of water, looking for my compass, and thanks to the clear blue water, I found it within three minutes of looking.

    If this was a typical Southern California dive, my compass would have been sacrificed to the sea gods.

    We descended.

    Logged SCUBA Dive #418

    Dove with Idit

    Porto Palermo Bay
    Himara, Albania

    Air Source: Private fisherman’s compressor in Saranda
    In With: 2800 psi
    Out With: 200 psi
    Max depth: 99 feet
    Waves: Flat
    Visibility: Up to 50 feet
    Water Temperature: 73 degrees
    Air Temperature: 96 degrees
    Total Bottom Time: 40 minutes or so

    Some kind of sea shell.

    Some kind of sea shell.

    Another ancient wine vessel.

    What’s left of another ancient wine vessel – I picked it up to see if I could find “Made in China” on it; nope, it is probably really old.

    I left it where I found it.

    Idit was getting bored of me taking pictures.

    Idit was getting bored of me taking pictures.

    Again, we got really deep, really quickly.

    This dive was mostly over a grass reef, better documented in the video footage I took.

    At slightly under a half tank, we swam back, under the Port Palermo Pier to an easy exit at the bar.

    Hamburger and steak wander all over Albania.

    Hamburger and steak wander all over Albania.

    On the way to our next diving spot, we stopped by the old Communist Submarine Base.

    The Secret Communist Submarine Base.

    Let me see if I can remember the story accurately.

    During the 1960′s Albania had purchased some submarines from the Soviet Union.

    When Enver Hoxha broke ties with the Soviets, for not being communist enough, he started to cuddle up with China’s Mao.

    Fearing an invasion, he started this tunnel to shelter his submarines.

    Apparently, it was all dug by hand over a course of 30 years and never completely finished; many people died in the construction.


    *Due to time constraints, lack of reliable internet access outside of Tirana, power outages in Tirana and the strength of Albanian beer, posting of this article has been delayed.

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