ΟΚΤΩΒΡΙΟΣ - OCTOBER 2006
 
Sunday, 1st October - was a lovely day - warm 26C and sunny. We swam in a calm sea at Kalives - beach very quiet after the bustle of the summer visitors. After lunch we drove along to the Askyfou plateau on the Imbros road. We turned right to Table Land (Tavri) and followed the extended tarmac road towards the plateau. The road winds for some distance round the mountain with wonderful views. When the tarmac ended, we parked and walked further along the track towards the top. It was very windy and very high, so much cooler. We watched a group of Griffon vultures for some time. It was still warm and sunny when we returned to Provarma early evening.

   

   

Monday, 2nd October -
Alan and Margaret were busy entertaining several friends and relatives who had arrived to see them. They kindly invited us for a delicious, lunch time barbeque to meet everyone. We spent several pleasant hours with them.

We swam several times over the next few days taking advantage of the calm sea and warm temperatures. We had a couple of enjoyable lunches at beachside tavernas.

Friday, 6th October - Roy had arranged another meeting of the Crete, Western Wildlife Watch Group at Agia Reservoir. It was a warm sunny day and 22 people attended. Around 12.30 several of us drove up to Lakki on the Omalos Road. We stopped at a view point but unfortunately it was full of heavy machinery and work was in progress. We continued to Lakki where some people opted for coffee or lunch and some of us continued to Omalos and the Samaria Gorge. Patti and John kindly drove us. We enjoyed an excellent lunch at an Omalos taverna. While there we visited a cheese factory and were shown where the cheeses were stored.  Patti negotiated (in Greek) to buy an eighth of a 'wheel' of cheese.  We continued on to the head of the Samaria Gorge - wonderful views no matter how many times you have been there. We climbed up to the cafe at the top of the Gorge and spent some time admiring the views, watching for birds and drinking coffee.  We eventually had to tear ourselves away and meander back to Lakki to collect our car. We had another coffee there and then called in at Agia Reservoir on the way back home.

Meskla Church from Lakki

Statue at Lakki

Cheese Store at Omalos

View from top of Samaria Gorge

'Loo' with a view Cafe Samaria

Looking down from Samaria Cafe


Saturday, 7th October -
Yiannis - our landlord had put a lovely vase of roses on the table on the front terrace. We then spent several pleasant hours swimming at Kalives where we stayed for lunch. We were delighted to have a call from son Ian to say baby expected in January is a brother for Sophie.

Sunday, 8th October - late on Saturday evening Roy checked his e-mails and there was one from the Crete National History Museum asking if he would like to help at the Birdwatching/Ecology day at Agia Reservoir the next day (Sunday) He would help people to identify birds in the area. So Sunday found us, once again, at the reservoir. The event was well attended - including politicians and local TV covered proceedings.

There was a petition to sign to draw attention to the environmental laws which should apply to the lake and surrounding area.

Information stand and Petition

Local TV camera man

Help and advice

Bikes and cars lining road to Reservoir


On the way home the weather deteriorated and there was torrential rain and flooded roads.


The next day started bright and sunny 25C. We had a shopping trip and returning along the National road we met torrential rain and the temperature dropped to 18C.

Tuesday, 10th October - Fine at first but clouds gathered with heavy rain by 11.30 a.m. Later at Kalives the rain cleared and it was warmer 20C.

That evening we had been invited for a meal with Patti and John at Kefalas.  Alan and Margaret were also there. We enjoyed a lovely variety of food- some from France and spent a very pleasant evening together.  When we left around midnight the sky was illuminated with sheet and fork lightening

The next day thunder, lightening and rain lasted most of the day and night.

Today, Saturday, 14th we still have very heavy showers but the storms of the past few days seem to have gone.
 

Sunday,15th October - weather had improved it was sunny 22C when we went to Kalives and walked by the sea near Kalami. It was very windy and the sea was rough. We called in at the river walk by the church just outside Stilos. It felt much warmer here as we were sheltered from the wind.  We met a couple from Holland who had been in Crete for a week so had had a lot of bad weather. They said they had never seen such torrential rain. They were hoping for better weather for their second week.

That evening Margaret and Alan joined us for a long, promised dinner of roast duckling. We spent a pleasant evening together.

The next day started warm and sunny and we had breakfast on the balcony. It then clouded over and became cooler. In the evening we had the central heating on to take the chill off the room.

Tuesday, 17th October - the severe weather hit Crete with a vengeance. Torrential rain and storms lasted all Monday night and Tuesday. We could not see across the valley - it was a 'white-out'. Debris raced past the house on the road which had become a river. We had phone calls telling us of houses, shops and roads flooded. That night the battering continued - torrential rain and high winds, which mostly affected the coast. Almritha along the coast, east of Kalives was badly hit, as we saw on TV. Cars were washed out to sea and hotels, shops and homes flooded. The storms tragically resulted in the death of a British man who was washed out to sea - probably in his car- while out checking holiday properties. It was much cooler and there was snow on the mountains. Showers continued through Wednesday and Thursday.

18.10.06. Snow in mountains

20.10.06. Snow and sun


On Thursday we went to Kalives for essential supplies during a dry spell. There were a few rocks on the road and debris where the rain had flooded down the hillsides. Some olive groves with low walls around them were like swimming pools.  The road along by the sea at Kalives had a lot of mud and debris. Some of the tavernas had been battered and flooded. Beach sunshades and sunbeds were in chaos. We called in at the river walk and found a muddy torrent where a crystal clear stream had been a few days earlier. It was dull and a cool 17C that afternoon as the rain continued.

Friday, 20th October - the good weather returned. We woke to blue skies and sunshine. We had been hoping to visit Petres Gorge, 15 minutes away along the National Road towards Rethymnon, with Angela and Mike before they returned to the UK. This was the first suitable day for almost two weeks. Unfortunately, because of the weather we had experienced, and lack of time they were unable to join us.

This was our first trip along the National Road since the severe weather conditions.  A few 'pot holes' and debris had appeared on the approach roads but the National Road was clear. Marsh areas along by the sea were flooded. The stretch of beach all along the coastline was piled high with debris from the storms.  Beachcombers were out in force. The sea was calm and it was warm and sunny. 

The stream through Petres Gorge was now a muddy river so different to when we visited on 20th July when the water was crystal clear.

We drove up the road towards Petres Gorge - several houses are under construction on the hillside.  We parked and walked to the gorge. The views wonderful as always. We had a picnic and continued to birdwatch.  Before we left, late afternoon, we saw 27 Griffon vultures gathering above the gorge - details on Roy's diary pages. There were a few spots of rain as we left around 5 p.m.

 

Saturday, 21st October - no rain! Yiannis, our landlord spent a few hours doing outstanding jobs in the house. After lunch we went for a local walk late p.m. in warm sunshine. It was some weeks since we had taken this route and found the goat farm no longer existed - cleared for housing development? There were still lovely hibiscus flowers in a garden. The olive trees are heavy with fruit. There has been more rain than usual -even in July - so the crop looks good.  Nets are in place under many trees ready for the olive picking. Oranges are gradually ripening on the trees. Walnuts are still there to be collected. Wood is being gathered ready for winter fires.        

Sunday, 22nd October - this was European Birding Day. An event had been organised at Georgioupolis water to encourage an interest in birds, wildlife and the environment. Roy had arranged a meeting of the Crete, Western, Wildlife Group to coincide with the Birding Day. It was held on the dam area near the small power station. The water was still crystal clear, unlike many other streams and rivers after the floods. We were made welcome and met some interesting local people including families with children - some of whom we had met at the Agia Reservoir on 8th October when Roy helped with the Birding/Ecology Day. The organiser of today's event, Thanasis, was extremely knowledgeable, informative and helpful. The event was well attended. It was sunny and a warm 24C. As we left just after 2 p.m. the sky had darkened and there were a few spots of rain although still 22C.


We are hoping for an improvement in the weather so that we can swim again - I have swum in November and December in previous winters.

Monday, 23rd October - a warm, sunny day temperature reached 27C.  We had some shopping to do in Souda and combined that with another visit to the Moronis nature reserve. I walked along the edge of the bay, on the sandy shore, towards the English War Cemetery. I enjoyed watching two Great White Egrets having a squabble. It was very peaceful and warm walking along the shore.


This is the time of year when the grapes are gathered for wine making. Yiannis has been busy cutting the grapes from the vine. This year he has a grape crushing machine. In previous years he has followed the tradition of 'trampling' the grapes to extract the juice. Each village seems to have a still for the production of tscouthia. This is produced from the grape skins left after the juice is extracted for the wine. There is some information in the diary, about the process last year, when we went with Yiannis to see the tscouthia being distilled.  Autumn colours are evident in gardens and in the countryside. 


Tuesday, 24th October -
another lovely day - sun and clear blue sky 25C. We enjoyed a swim at Kalives. The sea was really calm and the beach quiet. Certainly an end of season feel. Some tavernas had closed already due to damage from the storms.

We were told that one of the travel reps. had broken her leg getting out of the coach into a flooded road.  Another had lost her car when it was swept out to sea at Almiritha. Local people have said that that have never seen such bad weather as the storms which hit Crete between 11th and 19th October.

We were able to swim for the next two days in a calm sea. Temperature around 24C.

On Friday we had to be in Chania at 8.30 a.m. for the one year service on our car, at the Suzuki garage. We spent a couple of hours wandering around the back streets of Chania and had a coffee while we watched people trying to park outside the very busy IKEA office (health centre for Chania). We also did some shopping before returning to Provarma. When we left early in the morning it was 18C and 23C when we returned.

Saturday, 28th October - we decided to have a trip to Omalos plateau and perhaps look at the Kallergi refuge building. This is normally a trek of about one and a half hours.  However, following the recent storms the track had been damage by the torrential rains. Vast channels had been gouged at the sides of the track where the rain water had flowed down the mountainside.
We walked along the track for a while but decided that it was too difficult to attempt in the time we had to walk there and back before dusk.
A group of children were enjoying a picnic on the plateau in the warm autumn sunshine.
We enjoyed the day, visiting Agia Reservoir on the way back. Saturday was a bank holiday in Crete (Oxi Day). This commemorates the date that Greece refused Mussolini's request to have Italian troops in Greece. The lake taverna was crowded with cars arriving and leaving constantly. We have never seen the place so busy. The temperature on Omalos plateau was only 12C in spite of warm sunshine and blue skies. Back on the coast it was 20C.

Monday, 30th October - the day started with blue skies and sunshine 21C. We went to Kalives and swam in an almost deserted bay. The clean-up was continuing on the beach following the bad weather. Later in the day the weather deteriorated and rain and storms returned - lasting most of the night.

The last day of October was a day of high winds and torrential rain. October 2005 had only four days when it rained, but October 2006 gave us ten days of rain and several storms. The snow was now lower down on the mountain slopes.

We rounded off October with a meal at Provarma. Alan and Margaret, Patti and John braved the weather to join us at our house for a very pleasant evening.


Back to diary index