Friday, September 22, 2017

More species hunting adventures on Crete : Part 2.

On the forth day of our stay in Kissamos we decided to head to one of the spectacularly beautiful beaches of western Crete. We could have taken a boat to Balos beach from nearby Kavonisi Port but instead we decided to head south through the mountains by road to Elafonisi beach instead. Once there we headed away from the crowds at the beginning of the beach and walked along to a quieter area nearer the island of Elafonisi that the beach connects to the mainland. This was a good choice as with nobody around it allowed me to fish for a little while and then we had a swim.

Looking back towards the mainland. Well worth walking out towards the island to get away from the crowds.
The beach is famous for its pink sands. These are most apparent where the waves gently lap the shore.
The dunes behind the beach are a nature reserve and are off limits. They are home to these very rare flowers. They reminded me of our Daffodil.
Fishing from some rocks I caught a few wide eyed flounders slowly twitching angleworm along the bottom on a simple split shot rig over a clean sandy area.

After enjoying a relaxing swim we walked back along the pink sands to the car and took a coastal road back north so we could head to Sfinari on the west coast for an evening meal. We'd been told by the receptionist at our accommodation that there was a restaurant there where we could enjoy a nice meal as the sun set. With an hour or so before the sun started to dip down towards the horizon we headed to some rocks at the end of the beach that looked like a promising fishing spot. This was a good decision and saw me catching a few fish, adding some more species to my tally in the process.

Quite a nice spot at the southern end of the beach with a rocky area close in and a clean sandy seabed further out. Fishing out on the sand proved more productive but wasn't without risk in the shape of poisonous fish.
The last greater weever I caught stung me so I was extra careful with this one.
As well as weevers, sandy areas often produce another ambush predator. At least you can handle Atlantic lizardfish without worrying about any venomous spines.
Pearly razorfish are another fish found over sandy areas. They bury themselves in it when threatened. I caught a few of these.
I think this rather plump specimen had been feeding hard and might have struggled to get its rather full gut under the sand.
Lovely markings on this species and the colours around the eyes are stunning.

Happy to have added a few more species to my tally we headed back to the restaurant to enjoy our meal and the amazing sunset. The clouds had other ideas however, rolling in to blot out the sun so whilst the meal was nice the view was pretty disappointing.

Could be Scotland.

The next day Lillian decreed that we were heading back up into the mountains yet again. This time to spend a few hours wandering around Crete's botanical gardens. Stopping to admire lots of colourful flowers and the shade provided by various trees overhead made the walking up and down the hills of the gardens bearable and when we got back to the start a nice lunch made from produce grown on site was a nice way to end the visit.

Strange purple flowers.
Pretty pink flowers.
Delicate looking flowers.
Bright red and yellow flowers.
Lots of insect life to see too including some large swallowtail butterflies.
There was an aviary with nice finches as well.

After lunch we headed back to the north coast so I could fish for a bit. First we visited the ferry port in Souda, a venue I fancied returning to at dawn one morning later in the holiday, so it was more of a reconnaissance visit. There was a huge cruise ship moored and I did get the gear out of the car briefly but fishing was quite poor so we headed east to Kalyves Harbour so I could have another go for a stargazer. I went with the same approach as I had the first time, a small metal jig fitted with an assist hook slowly jigged along the sand. After half a dozen casts I thought I had got snagged on a mooring rope lying on the bottom but applying some pressure I realised that I had a fish on. It didn't fight much and reeling in I got rather excited when the unmistakable shape of a stargazer with its raised black dorsal fin came into view. It swam right towards me and was quickly swung up onto a waiting towel.

What a cool fish. I was over the moon. Caught on a jig my mate Lee gave me and fitted with an assist hook I made myself.

After this exciting capture I decided to spend the rest of the session freelining bread for the mullet in the harbour. Lillian gave me a hand, throwing in small pieces to get them all feeding, and lots of mullet soon appeared but the bigger ones were very cautious. In an attempt to catch some of the smaller ones I changed to a setup with two smaller hooks and fished smaller flakes of bread on them. Just after setting up this new presentation however a shoal of bogue arrived and they were much more gung ho in their feeding approach. After a while we gave up on the mullet and headed off. I'd have another go at the mullet later in the holiday.

One of the bread munching bogue.

On our last full day in Kissamos Lillian again dictated the itinerary and we headed off to the Akrotiri peninsula for what would turn into a monastery crawl. Exciting stuff! The first stop was Tzagaroli Monastery and we spent a while walking around the grounds before visiting a small museum and browsing religious gifts in the shop.  

I'm not a fan of religion but I can appreciate the beauty in some old religious buildings.

Driving north up into the mountainous national park at the north of the peninsula we soon arrived at the second monastery on our tour. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your perspective) we weren't allowed in. Basically because Lillian was dressed like a filthy whore bound for an eternity of suffering in the raging fires of hell. Not really, even I didn't meet their strict dress code because I had shorts on! Anyway, there was a gate in the wall surrounding the monastery so being curious we decided to see what was on the other side. It turned out to be a gorge walk that included another monastery!

It was the middle of the day, we only had one bottle of water and Lillian wasn't overly keen on the idea but as she loves monasteries I insisted we head down and then continue the walk all the way to the sea.
Here's the monastery situated in the gorge. Not as pleasing on the eye as the other two but with no one around and no dress code in place we were free to look around and it didn't take too long.
*Carrying on down the gorge we found the odd bit of shade to catch our breath...
..and eventually made it to the sea. I thought it was worth the effort and wished I had taken my fishing gear down.

Of course the climb back up was pretty hard going! Gorge walks are probably best undertaken in the morning or late afternoon when it's not so hot! Feeling quite tired we got ourselves some water to rehydrate and drove west to nearby Stavros for a spot of lunch. It was a nice place and several scenes in the 1964 film "Zorba the Greek" were filmed there. It's not a film that I think I've seen but I'll be making a point of watching it now. I didn't do any fishing there but on the way back to Kissamos we stopped for an hour at Kolymvari harbour. It was quite a big harbour and it looked like it had potential but sadly the fishing was very poor. All I managed to catch was two fish, a white seabream and a wide eyed flounder.

The halfway point in our holiday had arrived and I got up early on our last day in Kissamos and fished Kavonisi Harbour one last time. Yet again the fishing was disappointing although I did add another species to my tally when I caught a small goldblotch grouper.

Small groupers scrap hard for their size. I thought I'd hooked something much larger when this took my small jighead mounted paddletail.

Heading back to our accommodation we packed up, checked out of our room and drove east to the coastal village of  Geogioupolis to begin the second week of our holiday. The fishing had been hit and miss but I'd caught over twenty species including two new ones and was hopeful that a change of location might see me add a few more.

Tight lines, Scott.

No comments:

Post a Comment