I’m beginning to get the dangle of Kalymnos, the second forestall on my quest to discover the Aegean’s lesser-recognized islands (which had begun in Ikaria, 2hr 40min away with the aid of ferry). This is an island that seems to like each surprising and the acute.
Kalymnos became the sponge-diving capital of the Mediterranean, but through the mid-Nineteen Eighties, a marine virus had destroyed that commercial enterprise. (The interesting nautical museum inside the capital, Pothia, is packed with splendid period pix and artifacts.) Meanwhile, the close-by island of Kos had turned out to be a visitor honeypot, whose boat proprietors reportedly advised visitors not to trouble with Kalymnos due to the fact “it just rocks.”
That didn’t deter Andrea Di Bari, an Italian climber who desired rocks, huge ones. He got here over within the mid-Nineties on an afternoon trip, noticed the ability, and again. By the early noughties, mountaineering had converted the island’s reputation. I’ve come to check out this island of adventure.
I’m joined using my associate Sophie and daughter Maddy (sixteen), who has come over Kos’s ferry for some days. We stay in the mountain climbing capital, Missouri, in a groovy and lovable condo overlooking Telendos, an automobile-unfastened island that I’m itching to explore. But we begin using meeting Dimitris, a dive grasp who sails us east around the island. Dimitris comes from a long line of sponge divers, and points out the spot wherein, 50 years ago, his grandfather died even as the usage of a newfangled brass helmet and compressor. No one had informed the divers about the dangers and complexities of using air underwater.
Today we are searching for dolphins, and Dimitris assures us that his own family connections will come upon us. Stopping above his father-in-regulation’s fish farm, he dives to twenty meters and releases a sea bass shoal. I’m snorkeling above and see them come up, rolling their silvery sides enticingly, but there are no dolphins. The sea bass, sensing a possibility, race away to freedom. Yesterday’s stormy winds, Dimitris thinks, have alas pushed the dolphins out of their typical haunts.
We climb again into the boat and head into a slim inlet where cliffs up to fifteen meters excessive have to grow to be a popular spot for deep-water soloing. This includes diving into the ocean, then grabbing the rock and trying to climb to the cliff-top. A pair of vintage hiking shoes may be reachable. Maddy skips the mountaineering detail, walks up, and chucks herself off the top. I fall. Deepwater soloing is, I expect, a sport of destiny, especially when the water is that this warm.
We sail on around the east coast to the lovely village of Vathys, where we say good-bye to Dimitris and soar into kayaks with a brand new guide, Tasos. He paddles with us to every other, a great deal higher, cliff face, and factors out a cave about 50 meters up. After a clumsy switch to land, we climb a slim set of steps, push via a curtain of wild figs and descend into cool gloom. All historical treasures were observed in this cave (they’re now inside the exquisite Archaeological Museum of Kalymnos, additionally in Pothia). At the lowest is a pool of clean, bloodless water. Potsherds (damaged ceramics) lie around the theft of exceptional limestone pillars.
We retrace our steps and paddle out to a cute deserted seaside to picnic in the color of a tree. Day one whole, we return to Missouri, wherein there are plenty of tremendous restaurants.
Next morning Maddy and I are again with Dimitris for a shore dive which proves to be something of a conventional: sponges, amphorae, a German second global battle plane, bombs, a wrecked sponge boat, plenty of fish, and an irate octopus that squirts irritated ink, changes shade and escapes up a tiny rocky hollow.
Finally, the bit I’ve been maximum searching for ahead to the rock climbing. We are picked up via Loukas and Kostas. Is it going to be too warm? Loukas shakes his head. “We have hiking within the coloration all yr. May and October are great. However, summer season is first-rate.”
There are also such many routes that climbers can do 10 a day for 12 months and never repeat one. We head north to cliffs above the village of Arginonta. Kostas, Maddy, and I climb. Sophie watches. A dog is barking down inside the village.