June 25, 2012
Automjeti im është plot me ngjala
Hanging out in Saranda, Albania is a pretty cool thing. The
place is full of interesting and unique places and while the students in the
class spent the days diving and in lessons, I was free to explore and check out
the city on my own, which is always a fun adventure. The Field School would be
busy most of the day, with the students diving in the morning and then having
classes in the afternoon to review and go over additional lessons.
Each day would add a new or exciting wrinkle, from the
basics like underwater navigation, to search and recovery, to learning how to
use lift bags and recover small objects, the class built step by step a set of
skills that they would be putting to use later in the class as they advanced to
things like conducting surveys, plotting grids, and finally on to more advanced
scientific observation and research.
The dive conditions are pretty great, the visibility has
been good and the water, while cool is comfortable and clean. Jeffrey Bozanic
who is assisting Derek during the scientific diving portion of the class is an
excellent underwater photography and the scuba diving shots featured here are
all examples of his excellent work.
Each day the class would build upon what they had learned
previously and get to experience more and more challenging and exciting dive
opportunities that ultimately will concentrate on marine ecology and
archeology. They will get to dive many of the pristine archaeological sites
that RPM has discovered over the past six years including both modern and
When not in class, the students also get the chance to explore
Saranda and enjoy being immersed in a totally foreign and different culture.
From the prayer chants from the mountain top mosques that can be heard daily,
to the random animals that roam the streets including cows, sheep, goats,
chickens as well as many cats and dogs. A litter of kittens had been born at
the hotel where the students are staying and they were the subject of a lot of
attention, both from the innkeeper’s young daughters, but also from the field
Just down from our hotel, past the military base there is a
large Albanian cemetery, the respect that their culture pays to the dead is
something to behold as many Albanians visit the cemetery daily and flower
vendors do a brisk business from their stalls set up along the perimeter. The
graves are mostly above ground, similar to Key West and all are well maintained
and the place has a beautiful serenity that you would expect. It also has a
beautiful location looking down over the sea.