Girls Go Hopping!
THINKING ABOUT GOING ISLAND HOPPING THIS SUMMER, IF YOU LIVE IN KOS, HAVE VISITORS COMING TO STAY OR ARE HOLIDAYING HERE….IT’S CERTAINLY A FUN DAY OUT AND WELL WORTH THE MONEY….!!!
This is an account of when I took my two youngest daughters to Kalymnos, Plati and Pserimos last summer. We hope to go again too this year!!!
A flat tyre and scraped knees and a slightly hysterical child, I was beginning to wonder perhaps I should just go back to bed….!
However, we set sail on The Kalypso, a boat we had previously been on a few years ago with my parents, and one I had often travelled with during the days of Guiding Tours all those moons ago (in the time of little wrinkles and worries!)
9.30am and already it was sweltering….Kos was in for a heat-wave! Always good to try and get to the boats with plenty of time before they sail , (this is why the pick-up time for most coaches is early to ensure you can choose your seating, especially in high-season).
So with the wind blowing in our hair (good idea to tie it back if you have long hair, and remember to slap some suncream on your forehead if you usually have a fringe…to avoid a bright red two tone face effect later!)…we were off! The breeze very welcome on such a hot day, and the waters calm.
With the Kalypso and most of the other boats you can choose your seating, there are loungers, where you can strip down to your swimwear, and sleep off the night before perhaps, and really get a great tan, or the chairs where you can look out to sea and dolphin spot, and indoor seating for those who wish to stay out of the sun, or the breeze.
Coffee time for me….and fresh donuts for the children, there is a bar on board that serves refreshments, and a few snacks (thank goodness). We were on our way to Kalymnos, the island famous for it’s sponges and divers. Get your camera ready as you approach the island is really is picturesque, all the little coloured houses stacked in the rocks, centered around the main harbour area. We were met off the boat by a Kalymnian lady who took our group to a sponge factory a few minutes of dodging traffic and walk away. Here you learnt the whole history of the divers and how the island became so famous, you are shown a demonstration as to how they ‘colour’ the sponges to give them their soft yellow colour which people tend to prefer. There are many different types of sponges which you will learn all about and their uses! Well worth a visit, and the children were fascinated, and spent a good time dipping various sponges in buckets of water and exclaiming…”look how soft this one is mummy!”….You can purchase sponges, gift bags and shells from here, which are fabulous presents to take home to your friends, and are certainly not heavy if you are worried about your luggage allowence on the plane!
Having been to Kalymnos before I wanted to show my daughters some of the other sponge outlets too, so we quickly managed to see around another 2, there are 4 in total in the centre area of Pothia. Where we also had chance to speak to other local people and ask questions about the divers, listen to the stories of their grandparents, and the island itself. The Kalymnians are very friendly and there are still 4o divers on the island today that risk their life in this dangerous occupation. Even with all the new technology and equipment they tragically lost one of their divers a few years ago.
Kalymnos Harbour is very busy in the summer months, so take care, especially when trying to cross the roads! The streets are lined with tavernas, restaurants cafe bars, and shops where you can pick up souvenirs and Kalymnian products.
We had pre-booked our lunch with the boat/tour so by then had to literally ‘leg it’ to the restaurant….luckily I knew where it was! Although, the boat and some of it’s members stay in the harbour if you need to ask any questions, or have forgotten anything….or ask for directions even! The lunch is served quickly and is remarkably organised in a traditionally sea themed taverna. The food was hot and tasty, also served with a small salad per person and bread too. The drinks are very reasonably priced, so much so that I thought they might have made a mistake!
Yiannis the owner, is loud and serves always with a smile, however hot it is and however many people need feeding, welcomes you and has a great sense of humour….a glass of crisp white wine later, we found ourselves running back to the boat ….!!!
Full up and slightly hot and bothered the coolness of the sea air and gentle breeze was more than welcome, as people nodded off to sleep for a while…until we were started to approached a rocky area, a small little bay- rocky terrain of ‘Plati’ the whole boat started stripping! Yes, young and old….within a few seconds, there was exposed flesh every where you looked….and people jumping off The Kalypso from upper and lower decks, and slipping down the especially designed slide into magically aqua marine crystal clear waters below….just like the films! Time for laughter, swimming, snorkelling and cooling down…..(a few trembled around the edges…..thinking should I, or shouldn’t I, for quite a while too!)
The sound of the horns, as people climbed back onto the boat, and onto our next port of call. The island of Pserimos. Paradise. An island which comes alive when all the day boats come in, but is one of the most quietest and with very few inhabitants, in the Dodecanese. Again, you can cool down in the clear shallow waters, the kids can play in the sand…..and you can sit under the shadow of umbrellas in one of the taverna’s that are just a few steps away, and taste a little bit of Greece, or have an ice-cream!
For those feeling strenious you can also walk along the small bay, where you can find local products to buy such as honey, and herbs and little outside stalls selling various beautiful shells in their natural form, or as lampshades, picture frames, bracelets, necklaces or even jewellry boxes too.
We also had the pleasure of bumping into a Greek Amercian family who as they said ‘are in love with Pserimos’, they come to stay on the island every year for the peace and tranquility, and fresh fish. We watched as the men brought in several large fish which they had just caught with their spear guns! Aria even got to hold one with their son Nikos…(although they were slippery and they both dropped them in the sand!)….
We didn’t want to leave…..but again time was ticking…..and another gentle jog to the boat and we set off for home. You can rent rooms on Pserimos, there are a few. Properties (villa’s) are also being built for sale too….so who knows, if you win the lottery?
By this time most people on the boat were looking slightly bedraggled and sun tanned, and wind swept! Still looking out for dolphins, we saw a fish flying through the air…..and missed a giant squid….(typical, as we were buying refreshments at the bar downstairs….iced coffee)….whilst the lovely girls we met sipped cocktails…..’Sex on the Boat’…for only 3 euro!
With the music ringing in our ears and the Captain dancing, (and balancing) to the sound of the bouzouki – Zorbas, and shaking his stuff, whilst the whole boat clapped…..we were back to Kos shores …I have to tell you, it really was a fabulous day out! A day trip that is fun for all the family…..and whatever age you are…..!
For those wishing to spend more time on the island of Kalymnos, or wish to return, and get chance to see the whole island and not just the harbour, there are little ferries that go practically every hour from Mastihari Village, and it only takes 20 minutes from there and also the Flying Dolphins from Kos Harbour too.
Thanks go to all the staff and crew of The Kalypso Boat – Kos Harbour
Michael Karvonis (Natural Sea Sponges of Kalymnos),
Stelios Nikolakis (Sponge Warehouse of Kalymnos), and N.S. Papachatzis (Exporting Factory of Natural Sponges).
Yiannis (and family and staff) from The Restaurant/Taverna Omilos in Kalymnos
DON’T FORGET SUNCREAM, SWIMWEAR (good to be already wearing it), MONEY, HAT AND TOWEL…..!