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Published: January 26th 2021
DIVE SHOP OWNER'S FANTA-SEA
Two beautiful young employees, a boat and sun and sea.
DIVING THE ADRIATIC COAST
Saturday dawned and I waited in my hotel for Philip, the dive master. Finally he rushed in and told me there was no place to park, grabbed my dive bag and led me to the back of the hotel. He was parked illegally and explained that I should stand at the curb the next morning…it would be easier.
We arrived at the dive shop early, so I got a cup of tea, then tried on wet suits because, although the water is much warmer than Sicily or Croatia, it is still too cold for my own three mil wetsuit. At last the rest of the group arrived. Our boat was a large Zodiac (rubber boat, with a firm floor) but without a roof. I pulled my scarf over my head to protect my face from the sun. The underwater terrain was much like Croatia: many large rocks, caverns and swim-throughs. The prominent color was tan…rocks with fuzzy algae and small green growth. At the entrance to the first overhang one of the certifying dive masters’, Tina, pointed out a cuttlefish. His round head blended with the round smooth rocks of the bottom. He
OMG - COLOR!!
Bless the sea stars for providing vivid color and texture in an otherwise drab, dull terrain.
had little color and he was so still, I might have missed him. Due to the huge rock overhead blocking the light, it was very hard to take photos. My strobe just wasn’t bright enough. I don’t have enough experience with this kind of photography.
The second dive I dove with Philip and Roy, from the Netherlands. We entered a real cave with an underwater entrance, but inside you could surface and breathe air. Roy was agitated and pedaling rapidly to stay on the surface. When we descended we went through another opening. Perhaps Roy looked up and saw the light far above because he suddenly bolted toward the light, shimmering off the surface. Philip looked at me and shrugged. I signaled I was OK and Philip went up to get Roy. I just made myself neutrally buoyant and waited for them to return. Obviously Roy did not like diving inside closed spaces yet Philip led us through cave after cave. We finished the dive, but with Philip holding his hand on Roy’s head, or shoulder so he couldn’t surface again unexpectedly. In the boat, I commiserated with Roy, and said it must have been awful to continue an
Usually passive and easy to photograph, in the dim light and rocky substrate, this little darling was very difficult to see.
uncomfortable dive. In any case, Radon, the store owner, led the next dive. Philip remained on the dive boat. This time it was not cavern diving, but a boat wreck so Roy managed just fine. I must confess I had an embarrassing moment as we exited one of the caves. The dive masters were ahead of me and I suddenly found myself glued to the cavern overhead. I hadn't remembered that the bottom was rising and the expanding air in my BCD pushed me to the "roof" of the cavern. Just as I realized what was wrong, why I couldn't swim, and started to vent the excess air, the team turned around and started rushing back to save me. Thank goodness as I sank down to mid water and gave them the "I'm OK" signal they turned around to the rest of the group. But I'm sure they were smirking.
I dove two days, three dives a day. It was all caverns and tunnels, except for one dive on a patrol boat that sank in local water. There was not much life, but I really appreciated what I could find. We ate lunch the first day at a restaurant
And brooding. Tunnels, caverns and caves. It takes more experience than I have to get great underwater photos without surface light.
in the bay. People were quite friendly. I had my sandwich sitting on a big smooth rock at the water’s edge, near the moored boat because you weren’t supposed to bring your own food. But I had a roast beef sandwich I wasn’t going to waste. When I finished I bought a round of drinks (juices and coffee) for the group. The second day we stopped at a restaurant on the beach. The sun was out so I tried to warm up a bit. My final day, after the dives, Radon invited all of us to go have a beer and take some photos. It was fun.
In the evenings I did a little shopping (the first night). Then spent the rest of my time trying to find a hotel for my next stop…Albania. I wanted to go to Bosnia, and discovered, when I checked the map, that it was behind me. I’ll have to come again, I guess. For now…on to Albania.
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