No Direction Home

This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Friday, August 09, 2013


June 21, 2013

 photo 015_zpsabf75bdc.jpg

 photo 029_zps9b002ef0.jpg

 photo 075_zpsaa798cc9.jpg

 photo DSCN3134_zpsdd3d3124.jpg

 photo 227_zps36db9eae.jpg


Good Morning, greetings from Saranda, Albania, where RPM Nautical is joining the Albanian Center for Marine Research in hosting a scientific diving school. I had traveled to Albania along with a student of the class from Key West and a former student who this year is returning to be a member of the staff and will be assisting the team in providing the training for this class and two additional field schools that will take place later in the summer.

 photo 132_zps7612303a.jpg

 photo 039_zps1f15356c.jpg Lee

 photo 179_zps38af6966.jpg Cam, Dave, Effie, Kailey & Leslie

 photo 083_zpsbddf643a.jpg Effie

RPM has set up a mobile dive locker including a fill station for Nitrox, a complete dive locker full of gear and a containerized decompression chamber on the local Military base here in Saranda. Small family owned hotels provide the housing for both the students in one hotel and the staff in the other. The hotels are located just above the small harbor where the military base is located.

 photo 070_zps3c07e267.jpg Derek, Chris, Kailey, Lee, Leslie, Cam,Dave, Effie, Michael

 photo 182_zps32822b7d.jpg

 photo 138_zpsa93a24ee.jpg

 photo 193_zpsd9c259ae.jpg Derek & Cam

The military base is nothing like you would expect if you are familiar with the US Military, it is basically a couple of small Albanian Navy boats, and a few soldiers armed with old Soviet era Kalishnakov rifles who preside over a run-down and ramshackle base that is mostly abandoned. What they lack in equipment, they make up for in dedication, service and friendliness. The commander and soldiers often can be found having coffee at the veranda café of our hotel in the morning as we prepare for the days’ activities.

 photo 082_zps64b4ea1b.jpg

 photo 103_zps100a0739.jpg Leslie

 photo 135_zpscd74e33d.jpg

 photo 219_zpsd68ce83d.jpg

 photo DSCN3030_zps66f32bc7.jpg Cam, Leslie & Dave

Each day begins with a brief lecture for the students where they learn some basic Albanian phrases, a little about the locale and then a lesson plan for whatever activity is planned for the day. Then it is down to the dive locker- where formal equipment set-up and planning for whatever dive plan is in store for the students.

 photo 208_zps2298019c.jpg

 photo 007_zps796145c2.jpg Derek

 photo 016_zpsf327f667.jpg

 photo 0072_zps0f4467a7.jpg Kailey

With the scientific dive class, there are very specific training goals to be accomplished including safety, navigation and other basic skills that must be passed before the more specific scientific diving techniques can be tackled. The RPM boat, the Contender, has not yet arrived on site, so this class had to do all of their diving from the shore, which thankfully is not much of a problem in Saranda as there are many spectacular sites located just off shore including the spectacular WWII sunken wreck of a hospital ship, “The Probitas” located right in Saranda Harbor- mere feet from the many waterfront restaurants and bars.

 photo 032_zpse6f287f8.jpg Howard, Nick, Effie, Chris, Derek & Lee

 photo 021_zps3ca86000.jpg

 photo 177_zps48f5b15f.jpg

 photo DSCN3079_zps8b0fdc96.jpg

 photo 216_zps71a566bb.jpg Derek

Saranda is a tiered city rising up in a large half circle around the main harbor with each successive street forming a new layer up into the small mountains that surround the harbor. The public beach is ringed by a wide pedestrian promenade, where each night locals and tourists walk back and forth in a festive setting. The promenade is lined with restaurants, bars and night spots before the lowest street rings the harbor. Each successive street is lined with large, mostly recent concrete buildings with markets,storefronts, apartments and hotels.

 photo 017_zpsd94c9b5f.jpg

 photo 014_zps942e7755.jpg

 photo DSCN3061_zpsa3c89296.jpg

 photo DSCN2983_zpsa175ecea.jpg

The outskirts are filled with many half built, empty or simply shells of concrete buildings that sprung up then stalled out before they could be completed leaving a surreal have-done quality to much of the city. Throw in the fact that just outside the city are very rural towns and villages whose livestock wander free- often coming down into the city to feast on trash and you have a very unique setting.

 photo 056_zpse78b1b16.jpg

 photo 065_zps3b85080e.jpg

 photo DSCN2986_zps25c4310b.jpg

 photo DSCN3020_zps7287d0f5.jpg


At 7:09 AM, Anonymous online dramas said...

so nice blogger

At 12:58 AM, Anonymous needham homes said...

I love the bright fresh colours on this one!!!!

- properties for sale in needham | home properties | real estate ma


Post a Comment

<< Home