Sfakia report, April 2nd – Loutro, Phoenix, Sweetwater path Everything you want to ask, read or write about Sfakia, southwest Crete, or Crete island in general.

Jean
Posts: 521
Joined: 16 Nov 2015, 07:55

Sfakia report, April 2nd – Loutro, Phoenix, Sweetwater path

by Jean » 02 Apr 2019, 20:42

It was a beautiful, sunny day today, still cool in the early morning but warming up quickly.

The Sweetwater boat started its daily service today. I took the Samaria ferry to Loutro, and the ship was again loaded up with cars, pick-ups and vans carrying all sorts of stuff, from refrigerators to sheep. The doctor for Roumeli was also on board. Locals who hadn't seen each other all winter exchanged greetings. There was a man clearing all the stones from the path across the beach so that businesses can use wheelbarrows to transport items to the other side of the village, but since the path it isn’t usable yet the ferry also docked on the far side. Only the Kyma restaurant is open at the moment; owners or a couple of other tavernas told me they are aiming to open around the middle of April.

Loutro not open yet.jpg
clearing beach path in Loutro.jpg
Loutro.jpg


I walked up to the Venetian fortress, where there are quite a lot of dragon arums in bloom, and then down to Phoenix – the lower part of that path has lots of loose stones on it, so it’s easy to slip. The hotel owner at Old Phoenix said he would probably open around the 21st. After looking at the old frescos in the lower church, I went back to Loutro via the easy path around the headland, from where there are nice views to Lykos, Livaniana and Marmara Beach.

dragon arum.jpg
Phoenix.jpg
frescoes in Phoenix church.jpg
Lykos and Livaniana.jpg


The path to Sweetwater Beach from Loutro is quite tricky in a couple of places after the harsh winter. At one point there is a small gully where the path has collapsed, and the short downward slope consists of bare, slippery dirt, with nothing much to grab onto as you cross the rocky gap (the photo doesn’t show this well). Soon after that, the path across the steep grey dirt slope is very narrow at the moment. There is a jumble of large rocks leading to the large bay before Sweetwater. On the final descent to Sweetwater Beach, there is one bad corner with slippery gravel across what’s left of the track, and the lower part of the path is covered with loose rocks. As more people use the path, these dodgy parts should improve.

path before Sweetwater.jpg
Sweetwater Beach.jpg


Several other hikers were taking a break on Sweetwater beach, and a few of us ventured a quick swim, warming up afterwards in the hot sun.

The path from Sweetwater Beach to Sfakia is very messy at first, and you have to pick your way through the newly fallen stones; but the path markings are clear, and once you are on the old kaldirimi the surface is good, with only a couple of places where rocks are strewn across the path.

path after Sweetwater.jpg


Back in Sfakia, there is a steady trickle of tourists arriving. Late tonight a large group of geography students from the University of Reading in England are arriving for a week.

A few things to report from yesterday, which I didn’t want to post on April 1st in case people thought these were jokes:

- Some crazy idiot (not from this village) has smashed up the toilets where the buses park. This will be very costly to repair, and the Dimos doesn’t have much money.

- Up in the high madares near Pachnes, where there have been avalanches, a shepherd went to see how things were at his mitato and couldn’t find it. Some researchers with measuring tools discovered that the snow is 45 metres deep in the natural basin where his mitato is located!

agonigrami
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Joined: 29 Nov 2015, 13:18

Re: Sfakia report, April 2nd – Loutro, Phoenix, Sweetwater path

by agonigrami » 03 Apr 2019, 18:44

Jean wrote:- Up in the high madares near Pachnes, where there have been avalanches, a shepherd went to see how things were at his mitato and couldn’t find it. Some researchers with measuring tools discovered that the snow is 45 metres deep in the natural basin where his mitato is located!


Is this possible? A rough snow to rain ratio is around 10. So 45 metres of snow would be 4,500 mm of rain. I wonder how much accumulation of snow due to wind and maybe avalanches there has been in that place.

Alf

simon-1978
Posts: 32
Joined: 16 Nov 2015, 06:47

Re: Sfakia report, April 2nd – Loutro, Phoenix, Sweetwater path

by simon-1978 » 04 Apr 2019, 05:05

I also assume that the mitato must be stuck under an avalanche. I have seen some photographs of the high mountains. There are (or have been) some meters of snow. Around Kallergi, there was so much that the ground floor was covered and you could walk straight onto the roof! But 45 m is unlikely. Are you sure, Jean? And which mitato was it?

Best wishes
Simon

Jean
Posts: 521
Joined: 16 Nov 2015, 07:55

Re: Sfakia report, April 2nd – Loutro, Phoenix, Sweetwater path

by Jean » 04 Apr 2019, 05:10

This is what I was told by someone who talked to the shepherd - I'll see if I can find out which mitato it is. But the two main factors in the snow depth at this place are (1) avalanches, and (2) the mitato is sited down in a natural basin/valley, not on a ridge or slope.

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Erno
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Re: Sfakia report, April 2nd – Loutro, Phoenix, Sweetwater path

by Erno » 04 Apr 2019, 05:47

The 45m of snow is very likely, because the famous Mr. Antonis Plimakis, expert on the White Mountains, reported avalanche snow heights of 30m in general before, in Haniotika Nea newspaper. So, as Jean says, in a basin that could go easily to 45m:

avalanche-gournes0319.jpg
Avalanche Gournes, Apokoronas, near the village of Kares, March 2019, over 30m


source: http://www.haniotika-nea.gr/protofanis- ... lefka-ori/
All the best,

Erno
webmaster Sfakia-Crete.com

simon-1978
Posts: 32
Joined: 16 Nov 2015, 06:47

Re: Sfakia report, April 2nd – Loutro, Phoenix, Sweetwater path

by simon-1978 » 04 Apr 2019, 09:39

OK, I see. An avalanche combined with the location in a basin makes 45 m somehow possible. According to my information, the avalanches occurred in the north of the White Mountains. This means that the mitato should be located somewhere in Kerameia. I wonder if he will find the mitato at all because the avalanche might have destroyed it.

Best wishes
Simon

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