When I last went to Kefalonia I was 17 years younger and had two wee kiddies in tow. I can vaguely recollect that we spent a few days on the beach at a small place called Skala, shading from the late summer sun under some rocks, and enjoying the 'au naturel' dress code as you moved further away from the resort. Returning to the island this summer one of my main concerns wasn't getting an all-over suntan but rather finding somewhere to get a bit of climbing in. This time the kids I had with me were bigger and had started join me in the joys of clambering on rocks. I found we had the chance to head back to Skala after we had booked into the neighbouring village of Katelios, the quiet fishing village we had stayed in last time. From all accounts this had grown into more of a resort, and we found some nice apartments with a pool. In turned out that Skala had got bigger as well since I had been back, and walking down onto the beach there were deck chairs and sun loungers as far as the eye could see. Turn right, though, and within 5 minutes things quieten down considerably- the wide sandy beach narrows and boulders begin to jumble at the base of the cliff. And whilst Skala may be bigger the beach had shrunk- several of the largest boulders were no longer on the beach but instead surrounded by the clear, turquoise water of the Ionian Sea. It turns out that throughout the year the sea shifts the sands around significantly so that the shoreline can vary by up to 20m. Not surprising given that the area was the epicentre of a massive earthquake in 1953 that raised the ground by 60cm. As a result, my initial thoughts of bouldering on the beach needed some rethinking. There were a few options on the beach and I tried a couple of traverses. But I quickly got very hot- it was about 34'c- and walking about meant sand in my shoes, not pleasant. The real fun lay out in the sea- that was where the big boulders lay, I could stay cool in the sea, and falling off should be a lot more fun. First job was checking out the depth of the landings so we got our masks and snorkels on and had an explore.
|Keir snorkel bouldering|
A few nice easy climbs out of the sea got us warmed up and gave us the chance to do some jumping in as well. Moving around the rocks, I found some more challenging climbs and got used to the Swim Start- much like a Sit Start in that you could get your hands and feet on but stay sat in the water.You sway about, then when the swell comes use it to rock onto your feet. Despite the water, and the polished look of the lower holds, I rarely slipped off, and once up on the rock the pointy nature of the rock meant the water wasn't too much of a disadvantage. Out and drying off a bit I did some more traverses, swinging around one arete onto a sharp, overhanging top- I managed a few metres before the pain in my hands was too much and I took a plunge into the sea.
|Heading out of the water at the big hole and heading right|
|A fun descent|