Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Snorkeling in Crete

Crete is ideal for snorkelling because:
• Visibility in the seas of Crete is excellent and it is regarded as some of the best in the world. In summer the average visibility is 30 or more meters.
• The water temperature in summer ranges from 22 to 27 degrees
• There is a great variety of fish and sea-plants
• There are no currents
• The seabed in most beaches in Crete is rocky and this means a wider variety of sealife.
Which beaches are more appropriate for snorkelling?
• All beaches with a rocky seabed. Sealife in beaches with sandy seabeds is significantly reduced
• Move away from the crowds. The fewer people on a beach, the better the snorkelling. People usually gather in sandy beaches and these are not ideal for snorkelling. Besides, the noise created by people can drive the fish away or make them allusive to spot.
• The beaches along the south coast are preferable to those on the north coast.
What time of the day is better for snorkelling?
It is better to go snorkelling early in the morning or late in the afternoon, one to two hours before sunset.
Which month of the year is better for snorkelling?
September and October are usually better for snorkelling in Crete. Certain species move close to the shores during those months. Needlefish are such a species and they approach the shores in September for reproduction. Their predators do the same too.
Fish hide when they see me. Any tips?

• Move slowly and limit noise as much as possible.
• Do not move your hands.
• When you notice a fish hiding in a cavity, stand still and wait. Fishes are as curious as you and sooner or later they will come out and take a better look at the big ugly creature, who invades their privacy.
• Feed them! Take a few cookies with you in a plastic bag and break them into small pieces into the water. Fish will smell the food and soon they will swim all around you. Do not offer them all the food at once. You don't want to fatten the fish, you want to keep them interested and close-by. Smelly and oily food is more effective.
Should I bring my own mask and fins?
Yes. You cannot rent such equipment at beaches.
Are there any snorkelling tours in Crete?
• Yes, there are. Most diving clubs offer such day-tours for non-divers. It is very easy to find such a diving center at your holiday destination. Just ask your hotel receptionist.
• There are also boat day-tours to Dia island. Dia is a small island 9 miles north of Heraklion. Its rocky seabed offers a great opportunity for snorkelling. Several boats depart from Heraklion and Hersonissos daily
• The island of Chrissi or Gaidouronissi, south of Ierapetra is a great place for snorkelling. Boats depart from Ierapetra port every morning.
Dangerous animals in the sea of Crete
There are some fishes and sea-animals in the seas of Crete or Greece that may cause some harm to you:

• Watch for Sea Urchins on rocks
• Do not play with the Moray. It may bite you if it becomes afraid of you
• Scorpion fishes and Weevers have poisonous spines that cause a lot of pain and a severe swelling. Scorpion fishes live on rocks and Weevers live on sandy or muddy sea bottoms. Sometimes swimmers accidentally step on them and can be stung. If such a fish stings you, then clean the area well, apply an elastoplast dressing to avoid secondary infection and look for a doctor to prescribe you the right medicine. Wearing jelly shoes or flippers may be a sensible precaution.
Ready to go snorkelling? Go to www.medestino.com and book a hotel in Crete!

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