It was a last minute holiday booking that took us to the village of Georgioupoli on the island of Crete. With no package holiday bookings pretty much anywhere in Spain, Balearics, Canaries or Mediterranean that met budget or accommodation requirements (I don’t want a Holiday Camp hotel complex!), we travelled independently on EasyJet and having contacted the resort directly, happened upon a room at Anna’s House.
Under strict orders from The Memsahib that this was not a dive holiday, I was however able to negotiate a pair of fins, prescription mask and dive computer “just in case”! And to be fair, EasyJet’s baggage policy of a maximum 32KG per case which you can buy weight in 3KG increments, it was an easy fix.
Annas’s House is located just to the west of Georgioupoli, no more than a ten minute walk to Kalivaki Beach with its relaxed taverna and quaint beach, frequented more by the locals than tourists. To the north of the beach on day two, I spotted the ubiquitous PADI flag waving in the gentle breeze. The scene was set for a cheeky dive with Grace.
Grace qualified as a Junior Open Water Diver in the summer of August 2019 with Sandra of Eco Dive School in Cabo Verde. Our dive in Kalivaki will have been her first dive since she and I dived on the Santão Wreck some three years ago.
Evelin Dive Center
That ubiquitous PADI flag belonged to the Evelin Dive Center and sitting in the taverna for lunch during the first few days, we watched as the busy dive centre conducted course after course in the Kalivaki Bay. It wasn’t long before I asked Grace if she fancied a dive and with my 10th year of diving fast approaching, we agreed we would get in the water together to celebrate my 10 years as a qualified diver.
Today was Wednesday. First stop this morning was to the dive centre on our way to the beach. We spoke to a lovely lady and explained that I was a qualified diver and Grace too, albeit I last dived two weeks earlier, Grace has not dived since pre-Covid. You know what’s coming next and yes, Grace has to do a refresher course; cost €80.00. Grace on the other hand was not enamoured, although I convinced her it was the right thing to do. But her’s the rub. I was asked if I wanted to dive with Grace as she did her refresher and answering “No, I can snorkel”, Grace reciprocated my convincing and said that she wanted me to dive with her too. Cha-Ching! I’m now enrolled on a Discover Scuba Diver course at €60.00. That’s €140.00 to get me and Grace in the water before we do a dive. #WTF #PutAnotherDollarIn
That evening we talked about the Elephant Cave and The Memsahib was not happy that Grace would go into a cave. Even though I would be with her, it still seemed a little off putting as we would need to “follow a guide line”. Although she could enter sideways, Grace was also not filled with excitement of entering the water backwards from a RHIB. We agreed therefore we could speak to the Evelin Dive Center next morning (Thursday) on our refresher and DSD dives to cancel our Saturday dives.
In hindsight this was good news as I now had to cancel the refresher for Grace and the DSB for me. Asking whether Grace and I could simply rent some kit and dive as a buddy pair and do a shore dive, the centre answered my WhatsApp in that they only do guided dives. A few messages traded and with Sunday being their day off, Grace and I would dive on Monday with a guide. Exactly what we wanted. #Huzzah!
At 09.00am we were prompt to the dive centre as other divers arrived too. There was a DSD course, a trip to the Elephant Cave and one diver doing a refresher. But what about Grace and me? Half an hour later, we are on the refresher course! #FFS!
The instructor tells me that it’s OK and he is going to be our guide. It’s just that this German chap needs to do a refresher. He says that Grace and I can join in the skills if we wish, or not, as we desire. The plan is some skills in the shallow water and then a 50 minute dive in the bay. And that is what we did! #Perfect!
Grace and I did our own thing, our own skills and kit checks and once Andreus and Farole were good, we swam off into deeper water. It wasn’t a deep dive, my logs showing a maximum depth of 8.8m. The slow descent was over 34 minutes along a sandy bottom with a small reef to our left. I have to say, Grace seemed in perfect trim, though I think she could do with a little weight higher up towards her shoulders in some trim pockets. This was all rental kit for her as we did not bring her wing. We returned back over the reef and into the bay. Water temperature was a delicious 27degC and I’m going to cite 20m visibility. A thoroughly enjoyable dive, clocking up some 55 minutes. Cost? The same €80.00 for Grace and €60.00 for me, which I still felt was a little expensive especially as a two dive RHIB day is €120.00.
As for Evelin Dive Center, we were simply not their typical customer. I’m guessing they have some contract with local hotels as there is a good 30 people a day doing DSDs and many of them children. It is a great setup there and the kit seems in good working order, though Farole did have a leaking first stage that worried him. I think our dive at €140.00 was a tad expensive for what we wanted, but Grace and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Would we go back to Evelin, I think the answer is yes. We will certainly be making a trip back to Georgioupoli.