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    July 17, 2012

    SCUBA Diving Albania: Alitepelena Island, Wall Reef

    July 13, 2012*

    What a night!

    There was a big wind storm that knocked out power in all of Himara, effecting Porto Palermo, too.

    Waking up, I also accidentally brushed my teeth with sun tan lotion – the sun lotion and toothpaste are in identical looking containers, and both written in German.

    We were to do three dives today, all deep; we were super paranoid about having extended surface intervals – there are no decompression chambers in Albania, and the hospitals don’t know how to treat the bends.

    We had two tanks that were filled from the super compressor that we brought from Tirana.

    We tested the air, and actually this batch was much better; it had no petroleum taste to it at all.

    The fills were a little light, however.

    Albanian Boat Diving

    We hired two kids with a paddle boat to drop us off at our spot; we were to swim back to shore.

    Logged SCUBA Dive #417

    Dove with Idit

    Alitepelena Island, Wall Reef
    Himara, Albania

    Air Source: Portable Super Compressor We Brought From Tirana
    In With: 2500 psi
    Out With: 200 psi
    Max depth: 97 feet
    Waves: Flat
    Visibility: Up to 50 feet
    Water Temperature: 75 degrees
    Air Temperature: 89 degrees
    Total Bottom Time: 40 minutes or so

    We jumped off the boat, thanked the kids, and descended.

    I looked at my computer.

    It wasn’t on, and wouldn’t turn on underwater; I surfaced to fix the issue.

    The wall reef gets deep, really quickly.

    porto palermo

    porto palermo

    porto palermo

    We found what was left of a Roman or Greek wine vessel, from an ancient ship wreck – all the whole ones have been looted.

    It was a nice, pleasurable and uneventful dive.

    A boat anchor made out of a rock.

    A boat anchor made out of a rock.

    We made it back to shore with barely any air and made an easy exit.

    The bar at the beach.

    We debriefed at the bar at the beach, before taking a short tour of the Ali Pasha Tepelena Castle…

    The castle was a gift to one of Ali Pasha’s wives, and I believe, dates back to the 19th century.

    Ali Pasha Tepelena Castle.

    Ali Pasha Tepelena Castle.

    Me on Ali Pasha Tepelena Castle.

    Our next dive site was on the other side of the bay.


    *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.

    Visit To Blue Eye, Albania

    July 12, 2012*

    Blue Eye, Albania

    Blue Eye is a cold, fresh water spring that gushes out of a cave.

    Blue Eye, Albania

    This was suppose to be one of our dives, but we both called it before we got here – neither of us are rated for cave diving, neither of us had a working light, no personal redundant gear and even though I was assured, “If something happens, the water pressure will push you back up; the challenge is staying down,” we both said no to this one.

    So I’m diving in a country with no recreational diving support, but I’m not insane!

    You can drink the water, and I did; it was cold and tasted good.

    Then I looked at two swimmers in the water and hoped they didn’t pee in it.

    Relaxing Blue Eye:

    blue eye

    blue eye

    blue eye

    After an hour soaking our feet in the cold water, we headed to the restaurant for lunch and a cold beer.

    Blue Eye Restaurant

    The problem is, the beer was as warm as piss.

    Idit told the waiter to put our beers in the freezer until our lunch was ready.

    Fresh fish, salad, with olive oil as dressing, and bread, along with a big beer.

    Fresh fish, salad, with olive oil as dressing, and bread, along with a big beer.

    That set me back 1400 LEK ($14).

    blue eye

    blue eye

    blue eye

    We took off and headed back to Porto Palermo in Saranda.

    We passed by a Gypsy town…

    A Gypsy Town in Albania

    … Seeing people live like this makes me feel so fortunate that I an American, even though we have homeless towns that look the same.

    *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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