The waters around Saranda still hold many secrets and surprises. The numerous wrecks that mark the coast silently testify of the rise and fall of succeeding kingdoms and empires. The troubled history of this area, the continuous traffic on trade routes in the Corfu straits, the richness of the towns and colonies since ancient times guarantee the diversity of amazing underwater discoveries. The treasures that lie on the sea bed are still being chartered by the Albanian government almost anyone can become an explorer and with a bit of luck discover something new. The underwater life – fauna and flora – is similar in species to that of Croatia but thanks to the limited coastal traffic and almost non-existent fishing, life is more buoyant.
Ksamil bay attracts the visitors attention with the beautif ul view of four small islands. Luckily for us the landscape is enchanting not only above water. We descend via a small gravel beach with an easy slope. Leaving the bustle of the holiday-makers with their plastik chairs behind we drop into the water. Swimming along the edge of the grass patch we go deeper into the bay. The depth raises gradually. At 6m we fly over the grass and a plain opens out in front of us. It is boarded by a 1,5m wall of rock, the formations enhance the landscape. We are not the first to have found this peaceful spot. A collony of Pinna molluscs (commonly known as pen shells) grows here. The large shells covered with growths stick out of the ground every few meters. Leaving the collony in peace we return to the beach through a laberynth of rocks. If we look carefully we might meet a ray piloting the area or darting out of the grass startled.
Fushë me sfungjer
A wizened olive tree throws a sparse shade. The rocky slope and lonely bunker are left behind on the surface. We set out over gravel then sand and rock. As usual in the bays the slope is gradual. We reach the line of grass and move alongside going deeper. At 6m we turn around swimming over rocks. We are near the shore and we can feel the current in the bay quite well. This is an ideal place for those who search for small creatures driven by the current. Yellow sponges cling to many of the rocks. Some remind you of fairytale castles or towers, you just need to let tyour imagination run wild.
The dive begins over sand and rock until we come up short against a vertical cliff about 5-8 m high, an underwater outcrop jutting into the sea. At the bottom of the cliff near the sandy sea bed there are many nooks and crannies, perfect for a langust, octopus or other creature to hide in. We swim along the cliff to a depth of 30 m and return along the top of the rock cliff in a multitude of labyrinthine crevices.
Shpellë e vogël
We swim on the surface to the place and dive down at 6m. The bottom is steep here and we swim turned towards the shore. The sandy bed is decorated with jutting rock formations. The boulders become steadily larger until a huge tower formed by the current into smooth shelves looms in the distances. The sea bed falls away and a canyon opens up. It is 18m on the edge, looking down we see a labyrinth of moss covered boulders sprinkled with white pebbles. The waves on the surface throw bright reflexes into the shadows. The rocks hide the entrance to a cave. The ceiling is made of loose rocks and the sunlight shines through making beautiful fingers of light.
Corfu straights – the narrow but deep crevice between the Albanian mainland and the Greek island. The dive begins from a beautiful sandy beach. The sea-bed falls away unnoticeably not for-telling any attractions. The gold sand is sometimes sprinkled with grassy tufts, between which the keen eye may see crabs scampering, camaflaged with bits of seaweed like marines. The bed suddenly falls away from 3m to 7m and then deeper still. Within a minute we are at 17m. As we drop the boulders get larger until a stony reef forms. Here the soft corals occupy every free space on the rocks. The fingers corals, red in the tourch-light, form the most surprising shapes. We drop further still to admire the beautiful view at 24m. The reef falls away to at least 30m, but it’s time to return to the surface.
A wide bay surrounded by steep slopes. A narrow road leads us to a white-pebble beach. The layered cliffs add charm to this secluded spot. We drop slowly into the water gaining depth slowly. Between the pebbles there are some darker and larger rocks covered in tufts of seaweed. Slowly the pebbles are replaced by sand. At a depth of 10-12 m sandy dunes take the place of the rocks. We swim along the rocky edge till we come to an outcrop stretching into the sea depths. We swim around it and head towards the shore. The cliff we are swimming along slowly rises to the surface to form a lonely rock island that braves the waves. At 4m we reach a gateway through which we return to our bay. At the entrance there are hard red corals. Small fishes guard their territory. At the other side of the gate white pebbles signal that we are close to the beach.
Shtëpi e Sirenë
A stony beach with a large, single boulder. Between it and the cliff edge there is a narrow space that opens into the next bay. We drop to 4m admiring the huge rocks scattered like toy cubes. Swimming between them we reach 10m. Here the rocks, grass tufts and sand beds form a colorful quilt. We swim inland. The sand and grass subsides to white pebbles. We swim past a rocky outcrop and come to an entrance. A small rocky archway invites the seeker to peer in. We swim in to an antechamber well lit through a wide window in the ceiling. Further a wide but low entrance leads to a large cavern. We climb towards the surface along the steep cavern floor. Above the water level there is a huge boulder blocking the exit. The sunlight throws reflexes on the wet stones and water. Below us the blue light shows the exit of the cave and calls us back. Outside we skirt a rock in the shape of a mushroom in a small canyon and then head for the beach.
Gurrë pa kripe
A small gravely beach surrounded by high cliffs. The bed is covered in river pebbles and streams of sweet water flow past disfiguring the water just as heat waves disfigure the air on a road on a hot day. The water in the bay is colder. The pebbles subside to gently waved sand. Gradually a cliff wall grows above us. The bottom is littered with rock fragments that get gradually larger. We swim along the bottom of the cliff peeking into the crannies of the rocky labyrinth. There are some beautiful starfish to be admired. The seabed falls away gradually, this is not a place to seek great depths. We slowly emerge from the watery labyrinth climbing the slope. We reach the cliff not expecting any further attractions. However, the Jon Sea surprises us at every step, just a few meters from the beach a large crevice looms in the rocky bed. We peer in curiously, the entrance is just 3m from the surface. Inside the sandy slope climbs gently upwards. Suddenly the water becomes murky and then crystal clear and sweet. The torch-light shows a dark and secret hole. This is the final touch of this dive.
Inside the Bay of Saranda there lies an Italian cargoship. It was sunk during the II World War by German Bombers on their way back from an attack on the Balkans. Traces of the bombs can still be seen on the ships sides! The vessel lies on its port side on the sandy bed at a maximum depth of 18m just 300m away from the shore. At the shallowest point the ship is just 3m form the surface and is marked with a bouy. The ship is roughly 115m long. It is marked above water by a Cardinal bouy signalling danger. Visibility underwater is good about 20m.
The murky waters of Sarandë bay do not entourage diving. The warm top layer of water carry’s a heavy residue of sand and silt washed down with the sweet rain water or the nearby rivers. Maybe that is the reason that these waters hold so many undiscovered treasures? We drop into the depths at 3m the visibility improves. The colorful markers on the line pass regularly upwards. At 15m we see the murky and shapeless shadow of a fishing boat. The boat has a sleek line, the sides are 10m high and the boat is entangled in old fishing nets swaying in the depths.
The boat has come to rest at 30m. As is characteristic for these units the superstructure is covered and the way below decks starts at 20m. We pass a curtain of hanging nets and move towards the back of the boat. Swimming towards the stern we pass above the hold and 30m from the bow we come to the stern. The rear mast rises proudly to 23 m. We return to the bow carefully observing the decks and then we leave the ghost ship to rise back to the surface.
Malownicza zatoka Telranisit to wymarzone miejsce do wypoczynku. Łagodnie opadające zbocza sadów oliwnych na brzegu, a pod wodą mieszanina skał, traw i łach złotego piasku. Poza rosnącemi tu w dużej liczbie Piniami często spotykamy tu też płaszczki. Właśnie tą zatokę wybrali Amerykanie, by w obrębie programu tworzenia sztucznych raf i opróżniania portu wojskowego w Sarande zatopić tu na mały głębokościach kilka starych jednostek. Chińskiej produkcji kuter torpedowy Klasy Huchuan PHT Typ 25 spoczywa zaledwie na głębokości 16-18m. Dokładnie pokład rufowy zaczyna się na 14m, a dziób sięga 16,6m. Dwie wyrzutnie torped kalibru 533mm stanowisko przeciwlotnicze z imponującym celownikiem i antena radarowa to komplet wyposażenia tej 30m jednostki.