Kalymnos is believed to have been inhabited since the Neolithic period. The island is mostly barren and mountainous; harboring two small valleys full of citrus groves and plentiful aromatic plants, such as thyme, sage and oregano to which the excellent Kalymnos honey owes its fragrance. Scattered about the landscape are loads of ancient rock walls and the crumbling remains of castles leftover from the reign of the Cretans, Persians, Romans and the Genoese, the latter being largely responsible for the larger, more significant castles; Alexander the Great fought and won battles along the rocky shore.
In my opinion the most fascinating historical characteristic of this island and the greater
Dodecanese is the sponge fishing; this area was once considered the sponge capital of the world and fishing for sponges (yes they are in fact animals not plants) began here around 700bc. The Shepard man spoke of his grandfather the sponge diver, he would plunge into the water naked and unaided, all he had with him was a net in which to collect sponges and a heavy, flat stone called a skandalopetra attached by rope to the boat above. Relying purely on a lungful of air and raw courage, he thought nothing of plunging to depths of up to 30 meters. The invention of the bronze-helmeted diving suit or skafandr in the mid-19th century enabled men to gather sponges from much greater depths – but at a terrible cost. Tragically, the dangers of surfacing too quickly were not realized until countless divers had already died or been paralyzed as a result of the bends or decompression sickness. Sponge collecting in the Dodecanese has since plummeted, partially due to the introduction of synthetic sponges but largely due to some type of blight that almost wiped out the sea sponges of the Aegean.
|Jen Larvarda aka "Red Bull" on Rendez with Platon (8b)|
Glancing down from where the Shepard sat I noticed a glorious pile of used toilet paper garnishing a years worth human excrement. The Shepard must have sensed my distain because he kicked some rocks at the pile and cursed something about pulling t.p. from a goat’s mouth. It’s pretty disgusting actually, why can’t people crap at home before they go to the crag, or at the very least pack out the spent wipes? And while I’m on a rant WTF is up with the Euro belay? No it is not cool to put a jacket on while
your boyfriend is at “rest" yeah I know you have a Grigri, but rock breaks…duh. I know I’m not the only person that has noticed the rapid increase of climbing accidents – on Kalymnos alone accidents have more than doubled this year; lowering off the end of the rope, ground falls from bad belay technique and anchor failures have mostly been to blame. In fact I even had a climber arguing my sentiments for safety. Please be carful folks!
|The Verm sending Mort (7b).|
Jessa Goebel, Orion 7c+, Kalymnos, Greece