Day 2: Balos – Sfinari

Total distance: 23.01 km
Average speed: 6.32 km/h
Total time: 04:32:59
Download file: Kayak-Balos-Sfinari-Short250618.gpx


The plan for my second day of kayaking around Crete is to take a lift to Balos and go as far as my arms will take me.

The weather forced me to take a break, I have done this stretch of coast before and I really don’t fancy doing it in wild winds. It’s very exposed and there is no landing for a good two hours. The last time I did it, I also made an important discovery: you can get sea sick when you paddle a kayak. An experience I am not in a hurry to repeat.

So I pick what should be a day of mostly East wind, which I should be sheltered from, and max 3 Beaufort.

The plan works out well. I get a lift on the back of a pick-up truck almost straight away. The Seicento is still being worked on. I scan Balos lagoon from the top before walking down. The sea looks calm, the colours are amazing.

By the time I get down to the beach and put the kayak in the water, the wind has picked up a little. I circle the Pan, the rocky hill on the Balos peninsula. It goes easy, until I turn my back to Balos. On my left, impressive rock formations on the cliffs. Behind me and on my right, waves that seem to come from nowhere.

And so it goes for the first two hours. I paddle and paddle, taken between admiring the cliffs on one side and riding the waves from the other side. The wind is also pushing me.

I feel very fast. I get to Falasarna without any breaks. After turning around the cape, I moor on a rock by the WWII shipwreck, near the entrance to the ancient Falasarna harbour site. The sea is flat here at last, though the wind is pushing me around a bit. I eat my snack and check all equipment. It’s too cold for a swim so I restart.

Across Falasarna bay the waves are not as big. There’s a big, dark cloud on top of Manna, the tallest mountain just above Falasarna. I watch all the beach-goers on the sandy shore from a distance. It’s been an easy morning so far, I keep going around the point, see the continental shelf a few metres underwater.

Past a little church and a beautiful snorkelling spot, inside a very low cave, a slalom between the low rocks. Around the last point at the North entrance of Sfinari bay, I take another break and jump in the water. It’s frozen! I know this part of the coast generally has cold waters, yet I can’t help a gasping reflex when I jump in.

The sea is eerily still now, the sky is completely covered in clouds, it’s pretty dark and the air is heavy. I paddle fast and fly on the still water all the way across to Sfinari. Giulia and Sofia come and meet me in the water.

Another day, another shore.

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