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  • July 17, 2012

    SCUBA Diving Albania: Monastery Beach Reef, Saranda

    July 11, 2012*

    I think we were both really F’ing tired by this time.

    Idit is twenty years younger than I, but since I am super-macho, he didn’t worry about me.

    We got down to our last two tanks of air, which meant taking a whole day off to refill our tanks at the camp site where the small “super compressor” was located.

    We figured, six tanks at an hour and a half each, would be a nine to ten hour task; and they were doomed to be short fills.

    But, Albania is a small country.

    It seems like everybody knows everybody.

    Idit again pulled off the impossible!

    He located a compressor that is owned by a fisherman, next to a restaurant in Saranda.

    He offered to fill four of our tanks for free – at least, I believe it was free; Idit may have slipped him a few LEK for his troubles.

    This is another site that the Polish guys would dive from their boat:

    Monastery Beach Reef, Saranda

    We had a swim ahead for us.

    Entry was no problem; we surface swam to the left, until we saw something interesting to dive on.

    We descended.

    Logged SCUBA Dive #416

    Dove with Idit

    Monestary Beach Reef
    Saranda, Albania

    Air Source: Private compressor in Vlorë
    In With: 2900 psi
    Out With: 300 psi
    Max depth: 70 feet
    Waves: Flat
    Visibility: Up to 50 feet
    Water Temperature: 74 degrees
    Air Temperature: 98 degrees
    Total Bottom Time: 40 minutes or so

    The water felt so refreshing after touring Butrint in almost 100 degree weather.

    We got to 70 feet really quickly.

    Idit warned me of a fishing net – we swam over it.

    It was very transparent, I probably would have ran right into it, if it wasn’t for Idit.

    Monastery Beach Reef

    The reef was unlike any I had seen before – it was covered in some sort of cotton like growth.

    Monastery Beach Reef

    Monastery Beach Reef

    Monastery Beach Reef

    We turned around at a half tank and navigated to a perfect exit.

    We were both extremely tired.

    We dropped off four tanks at the fisherman’s compressor.

    “Can I take a picture of the compressor?” I asked.

    “No,” Idit said.

    He continued, “A compressor is a very expensive item here; the first thing that will be asked is ‘Why?'”

    Idit dropped me off at my Hotel room, where I walked across the street to use my emergency Albanian to buy beer – not sure if I spelled everything correctly, but this is how the conversation went…

    “A flisni Anglisht?” I asked the store owner.

    “Jo,” He said.

    “A keni birre?”

    “Po.”

    He took me to the beer.

    He started to ramble off a conversation in Albanian.

    “Mi falni, nuk kuptoj Shqip,” I said.

    “Ju Pollack?”

    “Jo, une jam Amerikan.”

    “Ah, Amerikan!” he said, and gave me the thumbs up.

    I bought four big Tirana beers for 400 LEK ($4.00) and went back to update my blog, only to find that the internet access was shut off after 10:30 PM.

    *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.

    1 Comment

    1. I just got a chance to catch up on some of your dives in Albania. Very cool adventure. Looks like some interesting dive sites, but I see no waves, some of the easiest beach dives ever. I thought it sounded good that you could get to 100 feet on a ship beach diving, nice, keep the reports coming, just watch out for those makeshift compressors.

      Comment by halibug — July 17, 2012 @ 1:35 pm

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