Boat ride 250 metres underground through Diros Caves
– Mani Peloponnese Greece
Down the mouth of the cave we go, donning life jackets and stepping precariously into a very flat small wooden boat.
It is a tight squeeze. We must leave backpacks and handbags in the car. And we are told not to move or wobble.
Explorason is super excited. He loves to go to unusual places, and we have been trying to get to these caves for days. I did find it interesting that on the way to this region, two people told us the wrong area for the caves, and it was finally stopping to ask a man outside of Kalamata that we were given the right directions. His English as good for an older man, but then he tells us he is the Chief of Police. Such a helpful man!
Now we find ourselves wearing rain jackets – it is only 17C down here, and the water in 11C.
There is an elaborate system of electrical wires that drape through the water, so the caves are naturally lit. At first the waters are shallow and the tunnels are wide, but as the boat is manoeuvred by one man and a small paddle.
As we head deeper into the caves, the height changes from 1/2 metre deep water to 75 metres deep. The total length of the caves is 14 km.
It gets narrower and lower as we go. The tall man behind me has to crouch down low. Even Explorason and I in the front have to huddle into the centre of the boat. We are told NOT to move as the boat is so flat it can easily capsize.
We are fortunate the lady behind speaks both english and Greek, so she interprets and we learn a lot, and Explorason can ask all sots of questions. He learns only Eels live in here and go to feed in the ocean, and then come and hide here. In 35 years, our ‘captain’ has only seen two eels.
There are mirror effects when we reach the deep waters – it is probably the best boat ride I have ever done in a cave.
As the caves can only be entered by row boat, it is incredibly silent inside. You can hear the drip of the water / condensation from the roof. It is an incredible silence. Just magic!
In some areas the stalactites and stalagmites are so fine they are like fairy floss. But the boat can’t stop for photos. Once he stops he is one man pushing 7 people and it is too hard for him to restart.
I can’t describe the beauty. The photos do not justice, but I will share them anyway.
Now at this point we are 250 metres under the earth. The ride is for about 1/2 to 3/4 of an hour. It is no place for anyone with a phobia.
What amazes me is you can see the bottom of the cave floor in some places. The water is salty and clear. It is so, so blue here.
As we near the end of the caves, the rocks appear and limestone walls replace what were quartz in some places.
The last section is by foot. Lifejackets are off. It is time to touch gently and feel with permission by the guide only. Explorason says it is the best caves he has ever been in. I think that means out of the two he has been in – the first being Cuba.
I really recommend if you come to Peloponnese that you make the trip to Diros Caves. For us it was a highlight.