I’m sitting on the shady patio of the Paradisio cafe in Vlychadia, overlooking an azure bay. My moist swimming kit is drying at the fence. “I need to explain the breakfast,” says Stathis, who has been my manual on an epic morning of trekking, caving, and swimming. “Kalymnos human beings like to combine sudden tastes. That tea is alisfakia – sage – with thyme honey. And that mizithra cheese goes with the watermelon.”
I’m beginning to get hold of Kalymnos, the second stop on my quest to discover the Aegean’s lesser-recognized islands (which had started in Ikaria, 2hr 40min away by ferry). This is an island that appears to love each the sudden and the acute.
Kalymnos turned into as soon as the sponge-diving capital of the Mediterranean, but with the aid of the mid-1980s, a marine virus had destroyed that enterprise. (The interesting nautical museum within the capital, Pothia, is full of brilliant period snapshots and artifacts.) Meanwhile, Kos’ nearby island had become a traveler honeypot, whose boat owners reportedly informed traffic no longer to trouble with Kalymnos because “it just rocks.”
That didn’t deter Andrea Di Bari, an Italian climber who desired rocks, huge ones. He came over inside the mid-Nineties on an afternoon trip, noticed the capacity, and returned. By the early noughties, mountain climbing had transformed the island’s reputation. I’ve come to test out this island of adventure.
I’m joined by my accomplice Sophie and daughter Maddy (16), who’ve come over at the ferry from Kos for a few days. We stay in the mountain climbing capital, Missouri, in a groovy and adorable condominium overlooking Telendos, a car-loose island that I’m itching to discover. But we begin with the aid of meeting Dimitris, a dive grasp who sails us east across the island. Dimitris comes from an extended line of sponge divers and points out the spot in which, 50 years in the past, his grandfather died simultaneously with the use of a newfangled brass helmet and compressor. No one had advised the divers about the dangers and complexities of the usage of air underwater.
Today we’re looking for dolphins, and Dimitris assures us that his family connections will assure a come across. Stopping above his father-in-law’s fish farm, he dives to 20 meters and releases a shoal of sea bass. I’m snorkeling above and notice them arise, rolling their silvery aspects enticingly, but there aren’t any dolphins. The sea bass, sensing an opportunity, race away to freedom. Yesterday’s stormy winds, Dimitris thinks, have alas pushed the dolphins out in their usual haunts.
We climb back into the boat and head right into a slender inlet where cliffs up to fifteen meters excessive have to turn out to be a popular spot for deep-water soloing. This entails diving into the sea, then grabbing the rock and trying to climb to the cliff-top. A pair of old hiking shoes can be on hand. Maddy skips the climbing element, walks up, and chucks herself off the top. I fall. Deepwater soloing is, I expect, a game of destiny, mainly while the water is this warm.
We sail around the east coast to the lovable village of Vathys, wherein we are saying goodbye to Dimitris and jump into kayaks with a new guide, Tasos. He paddles with us to another, a lot better, cliff face and factors out a cave approximately 50 meters up. After an ungainly transfer to land, we climb a narrow set of steps, push through a curtain of untamed figs and descend into cool gloom. All kinds of historical treasures had been located in this cave (they’re now within the incredible Archaeological Museum of Kalymnos, also in Pothia). At the lowest is a pool of clean, cold water. Potsherds (broken ceramics) lie around the theft of extraordinary limestone pillars.
We retrace our steps and paddle out to a cute deserted seaside to picnic in the color of a tree. Day one entire, we return to Missouri, where there are lots of high-quality eating places.
Next morning Maddy and I are back with Dimitris for a shore dive, which proves to be something of a conventional: sponges, amphorae, a German 2d international warfare plane, bombs, a wrecked sponge boat, lots of fish, and an irate octopus that squirts angry ink, modifications color and escapes up a tiny rocky hollow.
Finally, the bit I’ve been maximum looking forward to the rock climbing. We are picked up by using Loukas and Kostas. Is it going to be too hot? Loukas shakes his head. “We have mountain climbing within the color all year. May and October are great, but summer is satisfactory.”
There are also such many routes that climbers can do 10 an afternoon for a year and by no means repeat one. We head north to cliffs above the village of Arginonta. Kostas, Maddy, and I climb. Sophie watches. A dog is barking down within the village.