Day 4 – Dolphin’s Bay
Just around the corner from the Kastelli “parking space” and opposite of the Kastelli climbing sector is Dolphin’s Bay. It is in the sun all day and has a really nice breeze all day long. After spending the previous day in the shade during the climb while sweating and freezing I was feeling a bit under the weather. While starting with the easier 5’s we made two nice acquaintances. Number one were a few guys from Sweden, just from the area where my boyfriend has to go to for business reasons once in a while. They exchanged contacts just in case they might want to go climbing in Sweden together. Number two was a whole group of climbers from the area of Bristol and Cardiff. Since I felt a cold creeping up on me I ended the day by asking the British climbers whether they would be willing to take my boyfriend with them on the next day. And they did. So for Dolphin’s Bay – I liked the sector because of its nice and easy routes, they were great to get comfortable in a higher grade. Plus the stone does not hurt that much on my fingers. If you are very brave you can even jump into the water from the lower cliffs (as some Italian people did).
Day 5 – Exploring the island of Kalymnos
For the next day I left the guys to the climbing and decided to have a closer look at what else Kalymnos has to offer. I started by driving over to Pothias where I wanted to look at the castles that were marked in the map. Unfortunately driving by myself, not finding the castles on Google maps and rarely finding any signs in Pothias I did not find the castles. So I ended up driving down to Vathys. It is a smaller fishing village in a valley. When you drive from Pothias to Vathys you will first see the village from a higher point up the road. You can immediately see that the valley is quite long and at the bottom very green. It is not very touristic and when you drive into the boating area you can tell it is more likely to find the locals in the taverns than tourists. I did try to see some of the churches that are advertised by very large brown signs at the road. But they were all locked up. From Vathys I drove back to Aginontas where the climbing areas start. You can hardly miss them by the number of scooters parked on the roadside. To me, Vathys was nice but the beautiful side of the islands really is Masouri with its view on Telendos and the beautiful sunset every evening. In the early afternoon I ended up finding one of the castles in Pothia after having finished with some food shopping in one of the bigger supermarkets. It sits on the right hand side of Pothia and overlooks the port town. There are no signs at the main road (I was keeping an eye out for the brown roadsigns marking historic sights), so if you look up to your right, you can see it when driving towards Pothia. Once you have spotted it you just take on the roads leading to the right and then you cannot really miss it. At the sight itself there is no explanation of what the remnants of the castle mean or what they have been once, so after walking around for a few minutes I left and drove back to Masouri.
Day 6 – Back to Kastelli
Since the climbing group from Cardiff was so awfully nice and we enjoyed their company so much we decided to take them up on their offer and spend the day climbing with them. We were first trying to locate sector “Peter” but were not successful with the search. As we were seeing Kastelli all the while we were searching for Peter, it was an easy decision to give up the search and hike over to Kastelli for the day. Kastelli is more of a large lump of rock extending the island like a thump into the sea. The climbing area is facing the water and thus it is in the shade most of the day. With almost no wind, this sounded and was blissful. There is a sector full of easy fives and fours and then it gets harder the more you get towards the north wall of Kastelli. The stone has a lot of “chickenheads” and even though they are tiny you can just place your feet almost anywhere. It will hold. Just like when climbing slates you have to trust your shoes. For the hands there was always a pocket that would hold nicely. We were sorry to see the group depart as it was their last day of vacation and they would take a plane back home to England in the late evening. But there is always the chance to meet for another climb together :).
One tip for a treat after climbing: the Italian ice cream bar next to Café Onsight. It is above Mike’s bikes and you might not find it while driving through. But the ice cream is the best in Masouri and worth a visit!
Day 7 – One week on Kalymnos!
Since the day before I utterly failed to complete a 6a in toprope and was thus completely run down (and afterwards made my boyfriend go to the beach with me in order to do just nothing) I promised him to go back to Dolphins Bay for him to complete a 6b. We got up early, stopped for a strong douple espresso at Café Onsight and were in Dolphin’s Bay before the new arrivals and the sun. During the night the wind had picked up and it still felt stormy when we reached the sector. The whole morning we were sprayed in sea water which was great when the sun got higher and we felt the temperature going up. Around lunchtime we decided that there was not much else to do (besides one 7a just above the water level and that did not tempt me at all to stay) we decided to drive the car up to sector “Je t’aime”. To get there you drive into Aginontos and then take the road to Vathys. Just when you get over the edge and can see the valley of Vathys, there is “Je t’aime”. The climbing guidebook describes the sector as being in the shade after 1 pm. That is true for the routes described in the guidebook but does not stand for the new ones that are listed in the update we purchased from Glaros Snack Bar. The routes in the update are in the lower 5th or 6th grades. The rock up there in the new routes feels very sharp and I did not like it after the first two trials. But for those who do not like polished rock from a myriad of climbers having visited a place and do like some peace and quiet combined with some tough 7’s and 8’s, this is the place to be. We were watching some Italian climbers with awe who managed a tough 7 in lead climbing for several times. As a nice finish we found the way back to Vathys where we had a lovely dinner at Palini’s. It is the restaurant to the far right in the port area and he has just opened up business this summer. A lovely guy, having travelled to and worked in a number of countries, who does the cooking himself and who has an open smile for everyone, now runs this place. He also showed us the rooms he just renewed, including the nice view from the balcony. He does not have a website yet, but is planning on having one for next year. Until then you will have to book a room by calling him (I have the number in case you want it).
We have a few days left until we have to go back home and will update you along the way.