Fishes and Food of Crete: An Awesome Aquatic Adventure

Fishes and Food of Crete: An Awesome Aquatic Adventure

Now, I think I have covered inland Crete pretty well, but a lot of you may be asking me “Isn’t Crete an island? When do I get to hear about the water?” Don’t worry, I’m getting to that. I will also mix in some recommendations for food in order to refresh you after your day in or around the water. Crete has many options for water activity, with a plethora of snorkeling options to choose from, but the first thing I am going to talk about is fishing.

As the Mediterranean has an abundance of fish, fishing is a very fun activity there. We decided to go fishing for one of our days in Crete, and it was quite enjoyable. We went out with a local company, EVA fishing, and boated along the coast in search of interesting fish. Where we first stopped, there wasn’t a lot of variety in terms of fish, and we caught a fair number of sardines, but eventually we caught two more fish types here. My Dad and I both caught sea bream (a small, roughly circular fish with spikes on the top), and I caught a damselfish (a very pretty fish, with black scales that had red and gold flecks in them). After this spot, we cruised around the bay and found another spot. There was more diversity here in terms of fish, and surprisingly, we caught no sardines here. Dad and I both caught several perch (a relatively chunky fish with red and blue scales) and a few more sea bream, but then Mom caught something especially interesting. A pufferfish! It was so cute, and the little thing just kept puffing up and looking at us as we unhooked it. We had to let it go, because pufferfish are poisonous, but not to worry, we got plenty of time with them, because Mom proceeded to catch another. And another. And another. This continued for the next fifteen minutes, with her even catching two on the same hook at one point. Eventually, she gave up, and asked if we could move the boat so that she could catch something else. We also caught a few pufferfish at that spot, with Dad catching two and me catching one, but I think Mom caught at least ten. When we moved to the next spot, I was finally able to catch a perch, and Dad and I caught quite a few of them, and Mom even got some. Not to worry, though, she still caught plenty of pufferfish, I think she caught five or six at this spot. After this, the tour company fried up the edible fish we caught, and we had a nice fresh lunch on the water. It was great, and I especially loved the sardines. The damselfish I caught was good, but I didn’t really like the perch. The sea bream were quite good as well, but the sardines stole the show.

A Perch
A Bream
A Damselfish
Sorry, I don’t remember what kind of fish this is
One of Mom’s plethora of pufferfish
A pile of fish
A slightly more fried pile of fish

If you are looking to live with the fish instead of live off the fish, you probably want to go snorkeling! I wanted both, though, so don’t worry, they aren’t mutually exclusive. For our snorkeling tour, my parents booked a boat tour around some of the beaches in the area. First, on our way out, we passed by Spinalonga, an island fortress in the middle of the bay in Elounda. It was beautiful, with huge walls sticking up over the water and ancient rock buildings sprawling across the island. You could go out to the island (which was also previously used as a lepper colony) and take a tour, but we heard that there was almost no shade on the island and that it was extremely hot out there during the hours that the tours go, so we didn’t take any tours of the island. Our first swimming spot was in Mirabello Bay, on a peninsula in Calydon. The water in this place was a beautiful shade of crystalline teal, and almost looked like it had been painted there. I did more boat jumping here, as it was now my preferred method of getting into the water, and found one of the highest spots on the boat to jump from. My parents only jumped from the sides, but I climbed on the docking ramp that was sticking up near the front of the boat at an angle, and jumped from there. Once I was in the water, I got to look around at the beautiful shore around me, and at the rather large amount of fish in the area. There were some really cute fish, including several surprisingly large ones, but the landscape here is what stole the show. The rocks in this area formed a series of underwater valleys, with little fish shooting through them, and there were little sheltered coves that we could snorkel into. These coves often came with little pockets of fish, which shot out around us when we went into them. It was really fun! We decided to leave this beach after a little while, though, and soon we were on our way to the next spot. The next beach was actually reachable from the shore, which was great, because it was so cool we had to come back again after our tour to get another look. The moment I jumped into the water at Dianiskari Beach, I noticed the sheer amount of fish around me. There were clouds of them, swarming through the water in enormous quantities. They were swimming all around me in a never-ending vortex, whirling constantly in a wheel of color. Most of the fish in this area were either damselfish or wrasse, making for beautiful, constantly shifting mosaics of fish under the water. The damselfish were all over the place, but the wrasse were in a condensed cloud, with quite a few of them chasing the others around, making for a really fun show. They shot around like little green and blue torpedoes, darting back and forth across the seagrass plains under the beach. It was really fun to watch.

Mirabello Bay
Mirabello Bay
Dianiskari Beach
Dianiskari Beach
Dianiskari Beach

Now, for food, (time to make myself hungry all over again, I already got hungry writing the fishing section), even among Mediterranean food options, which are notably wonderful, the food in Crete is exceptional. The place we went to on our first night here was Ostria Taverna, which had amazing food, and the people there were very nice. The most unique thing that happened there was that we got to see a very beautiful moonrise across the bay after the sun went down. It was beautiful, and we got to see a beautiful streak of moonlight across the water as we ate our dinner. I had shrimp orzoto, as usual, and it was delicious! There was also a very sweet cat there, and I got to say hello to it. If you are looking for a great setting, though, look no further than Kanali. This place is amazing! The setting is beautiful, it is set up on an old cobblestone canal, with wonderful views of the bay and a cool old bridge and a windmill near it. It is beautiful there, and while you wait for your food, you can also look at the wildlife around the canal, which consists of crabs and small fish that dart around and are very fun to see. I do not remember what I ordered here, but I do remember that it was delicious, and that the setting was wonderful. I highly recommend going here for dinner at least once. Another great place here was Moon Spinners, and the setting here was also great. There were also lights in the water that drew in fish to watch while you eat, and we also saw a crab walk by at least once. I got a whole fish here, and it was delicious. Another really good restaurant was Palaria, in the old town. Here, I got one of my favorite fish ever, Common Dentex (which, despite the name, is not a common find). It was delicious, and I have always loved Dentex, which made this restaurant especially exciting. Now, for a restaurant that I wish I had gone to for dinner instead of lunch, Ferryman. This place had everything, setting, good food, nice people, and convenient placement. The coolest thing here, though, is the sun dried tomatoes hanging over the awnings! They looked so cool! Also, their fisherman’s pasta is incredible, and I very much recommend it.

Moonrise at Ostria Taverna
Our table at Kanali
My Dentex from Palaria
The kitchen at Ferryman

Whatever you do in Crete, I am sure you will enjoy it! There is just so much to do here, and it is a really great place to be. I feel like Crete is a great choice for all kinds of travelers, as it has everything! Great food, nice people, wonderful scenery, fun activities, you name it, they have it! It’s amazing there, and if you go, you will not be disappointed.