The Skandalopetra games start tomorrow in Lindos, Rhodes island and will last till 28.06. Last week I found by chance the SKANDALOPETRA group in Facebook and learned more about this event. Organizers are The Free Diving Association of Thessaloniki, the Municipality of Lindos (Rhodes-GR), Apnea Academy Competition and Apnea Evolution Hellas.
Unfortunately I won’t be able to participate…I’m sure it’s going to be great since I’d dived many times at St. Paul bay in Lindos last summer. And I was lucky to meet the guys from Apnea Evolution and Dr. Nikolas Triklis (the organizer of Skandalopetra events) and try this ancient technique. I’ll tell you more about this experience in the next paragraphs.
It was in mid September 2008 – I had just started my (long) vacation. I arrived in Rhodes by chance – Diana, a friend of mine, departed with the intention to stay there for 2 weeks and invited me to come by. I also planned to stay for 2-3 weeks which turned out to be 45 days…(I started a part time job to cover some of the expenses). Rhodes island is a great place not only because of its rich history, but for the diving sites and the clear blue water.
One day I headed with Diana to a city called Lindos, (I’d heard that the nearby St.Paul bay is a nice place for diving). It really was – I did some freediving in the calm and crystal clear water when I noticed 3 divers with a round buoy approaching. At first I thought they were spearfishermen, but soon I realized they all wore C4 fins and Elios suits and didn’t have spearguns…obviously freedivers. That’s how I met Rosarita, Alessandro and Antonio from Apnea Evolution. They set up a line for constant weight and kindly invited me to join and reminded me that solo freediving is dangerous. I couldn’t believe it was real – I had arrived at the right place at the right time and met some great people! Rosarita and Antonio told me that on the next few days they were going to practice ‘skandalopetra’ diving with Nikolas Triklis and suggested me to join them. Honestly, at that time I knew nothing about skandalopetra…
On the next two days I had the opportunity to dive with Alessandro, Rosarita, Nikolas Triklis and a large Italian group of freedivers who had come on ‘Apnea vacation’ in Rhodes. I learned what skandalopetra is (a variable ballast dive using a 12 kg stone tied to a rope. A companion on a boat recovers the diver pulling the rope after the descent; you can learn more about skandalopetra here and why not join the FB group?). I did some dives – it was a bit strange in the beginning to dive without a mask and a wetsuit, but soon the joy of falling down with the stone made me forget about the cold. The second day of skandalopetra diving happened to be my birthday and I think that diving with these people was the greatest present. I still remember vividly the feeling of these dives and the positive people around me.
I won’t be able to come to the Games starting tomorrow, but I’ll definitely participate in skandalopetra events some day (maybe in Kalimnos).