August 20th and 21st 2012
About 60 Kms East of Athens is my grandparents birthplace and the land and sea that I first explored as a youth; later a a naturalist. Southern Euboea - the distinctive southern end of Greece's second largest island; around the town of Karystos. I will refer to this place often in this blog because it is a point of reference for me.
Today I share some snap-shots taken by my friend Kyriakos Dikelas who runs a superb Diving Center in Karystos (http://www.diveinevia.gr/). Do people dive frequently in Greece? (Well after so much fame as the sponge-diving center of the world and such a sea-faring tradition on would think so- but not...). Diving was made totally legal in Greece after 2006 - most people do not know this - a widespread ban was in place to supposedly protect antiquities. So this kind of recreation is new to us - and a lot of the sea is unexplored. Dimitri, my 15 year-old son and I got our Open Water Certification here this year - we are seasoned snorkelers - and he is a manic fisherman too...so it was about time!
We went on three shallow dives these days - first site is just East of the town of Karystos at the eastern end of the Bay at a place called Mantalia, near Bouros (12 m dive). Second site is beyond the Bay of Karystos in the more exposed shores to the Southwest, just across from the Petalii Islands, at Kalamitsia (19 m dive). We saw about 27 species of fish at the first site, 32 at the second (these are typical numbers seen during a sprint through these waters for half an hour or so). Visibility was good, but not great these days due to high winds and currents (visibility was about 25 meters I think - it is really clear in the Aegean - everyone should know).
As the years wear on, I realize the and calm one receives from spending more time underwater.
|Diving team at Mantalia, summer meltemi wind blowing strong.|
|At 10 meters depth or so- we look small from above.|
|Posidonia sea grass meadows, typical and widespread on the flat gravelly bottom.|
|Rock face with sponges, sea-squirts, urchins and algae - really interesting stuff.|
|Most bigger fishes are hiding under these crevices. We saw an huge Wrasse, perhaps Labrus merula.|
|Damselfishes create cloud-like schools above the sea grasses.|
|Fry of the Damselfishes (Chromis chromis) in the sea meadows.|
|Nearly everywhere in Karystos Bay are these shards of pottery and earthenware from classical times.|
|Team at Kalamitsia, series of narrow beaches along the extreme southernmost coast of Euboea.|
|We enter and start to jog down a slope for about 100 m.|
|Then it gets really rocky and interesting, crevasses everywhere.|
|Lots of colour in the crevasses. This sponge-filled crack had a Dusky Grouper and a further down was a funny looking Phycis phycis.|
|Bus and house-sized boulders litter the cliff base, above us a 10 m. tall wall.|
|Lots of Posidonia meadows among the huge boulders too. It was fantastic!|