Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Honey Extraction

Quite by accident yesterday afternoon I bumped into one of the honey men. He was busy extracting honey from the honeycombs that had been collected the previous day and invited us in to take a look at the process. We walked down a very sweat little ally way which had i suppose once been a road, it was now used as storage and was complete with its own bath tub! Some of the local bees had turned up attracted by the overwhelming smell of honey. The where hanging out on some of the old hives which where being stored.

In years gone by it was somewhat more time consuming than it is today. Today with the aid or modern machinery not only is the process faster, it is more effective and efficient with much less wastage of precious honey.

The honeycombs are placed into a machine that vibrates so fast you think it might walk out the door and down the street. The vibrations are caused by two rows of teeth which skim the tops of the honeycombs off so that the next machine can spin the honey out.

The first machine spits the now open honeycombs out and stacks them on a rack where a metal tray collects any honey that might seep out while the honeycombs wait for their turn in the next machine. The scrapings will be cleaned and taken to another processing machine, which will turn them into a film to help the bees make the next hive.

The second machine is quite clever, it is a large metal barrel with slots on the inside into which you load the honeycombs. The honeycombs are first spun in one direction and then spun in the opposite direction, the spin time for each direction is around 12 minutes. As the combs spin the G force the machine creates forces the honey out of the combs and on to the sidewalls of the machine, eventually the honey collects at the bottom of the machine where it is poured out into a bucket.

The bucket of honey is taken over to the final barrel where it will be stored, but first it must pass through a double layer filtration which will remove all the small particles of wax which may have been accidently knocked into the honey.

The honey is then stored in huge tanks of 520 kgs until it is sold.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

the tiny beach

We found a new spot, which you’re, all going to love. You need a 4x4 to get down to it or you can park the car on the road and walk down. You will have to do some mountain goating and the rocks are a little bit loose but it will be well worth it.

Hanging out on the south coast just under 2kms from the kapsa monastery driving towards Goudaras is a small ravine. From the road it doesn’t look that appealing as someone has decided to empty their skip at the top. However if you drive a further 100m you will see a track heading towards the water leave your car here or engage four wheel drive and follow the track. The track will take you to the edge of a small cliff, which you will be able to climb down. For this beach I don’t recommend that you take small children as it is not the easiest decent and could be a bit much for them. Once your down you will find a very small private stone beach. The breeze comes down the mountain and the cliffs protect the water keeping it nice and calm, there are plenty of over hangs meaning that there will always be shade somewhere … the best of both worlds.

We clambered our way down to the beach to go for a swim, there where quite a few fish they where small but they were there. Other wise there was the underwater landscape was quite interesting, there are plenty of caves in the surrounding rocks, though please be careful, some of them you can swim into others should be given a wide birth

 The under water fights!! 

 How to get there - This is taken from google earth showing the road from Makri Gialos to Goudaras 

Monday, 23 July 2012


My dear husband awoke with what the South Africans call a ‘bubalus’ more commonly known as a hangover! As he always says ‘If your going to run with the big dogs, don’t piss like a puppy’ He had to get up and get on with it! After some debate on wind direction etc we decided to drive over to the south coast for a spot of snorkeling … we packed our gear into the Vitara that Dynomite had hired for his stay. Masks, fins, snorkels, weights, towels, cameras, sun cream, water and a cool box filled with food and the all important beer, we where ready to go.

My husband wanted to check out another beach that he had found on his favorite toy … Google Earth, he new that we would need a 4x4 to get there and so ceased the opportunity with the little Vitara. Off we went past all our normal spots and on to the potential new dive zone. After countless corners and hundreds of olive trees we finally arrived.

As Google Earth had claimed the beach was there, it was very beautiful, Chrystal clear waters lapping at a half sand and half pebble shore line, it looked extremely inviting but as luck would have it, it was, completely un-accessible. We drove around the top of it looking for our way down, the beach was protected by sheer ocher cliffs, they guard it form potential land based invaders, after driving back and forth we decided that the only safe way there was going to be by boat, so with our tales between our legs we retreated back to a beach that was more accessible and went for a swim.   

 Tip: If you have a goatee or beard like My husband cover it in Vaseline to keep the water out of your mask.

 Dynomite coming though a swim through

 We found a cave that had an air pocket and a small beach at the back - though not a place to stay for too long!

Knowing that after our swim we would be hungry we had packed a heap of sandwiches’ that unbeknown to us at the time would later prove to be our downfall. After stuffing our faces, cracking open an ice cold beer and sun basking for a while we decided to move locations. Our plan was to head over towards Makri Gialos to play at the watersports center.

This was the plan. On the way to the water sports center we pulled in at a friend’s weekend house, they had come over to spend the weekend over on the south coast with all the kids to relax and chill at the beach. We arrived just in time for the end of a Greek lunch. I have said it before but I will say it again, the Greeks live to eat. They love there food lunch, dinner its all the same and you had best be hungry! I was already full to the brim from the sandwich and had absolutely no space to put anymore food. Fortunately Dynomite had some room, he was also curious to try all the different Greek dishes and so he took one for the team, much to the delight of our hostess who immediately disappeared into the kitchen to bring out some more food. It took a lot of convincing to get here to stop!

The day was a hot one and the house had a stunning view, we relaxed with our friends for a while and then decided to carry on with our mission, however we where only permitted to leave if we came back for dinner! We of coarse agreed and left them to enjoy the nearby beach.

The watersport center is on the beach of a hotel called the Mikri Polis (translates to small town) in Makri Gialos (translates to long beach) the watersports center is run by a very happy go lucky, jolly, Greek chap called Yanny. Yanny has been working in watersports industry for his whole life, so much so that his feet are pretty much webbed and his skin aided some what by the sun is a very dark shade of brown.  He is a lot of fun and very happy to take you out on the toys. We wondered into the toy shed to choose our method of torture, we had had the idea of a ride on the sofa but when got into the shed we found a slider, less protection, far harder to hold onto, much smaller and much more fun.

‘You wont stay on that’ said Yanny when I asked if you could use it,
‘That’s the point’ I replied. Husband on one side and Dynamite on the other I was nicely sandwiched in … protection from falling over the edges but not the back. At first Yanny was gentle with us, the three of us where giggling away like small children, eventually as Yanny became frustrated that we where holding on the giggling transgressed to a little big of swearing and then tactics where shouted to one another on how to stay on as Yanny pumped it up determined that we should come flying off. Five minutes later Yanny had us off! Yanny one us zero. We all clambered back on and spent the next ten minutes trying to out smart Yanny, we were not successful and failed miserably. After 15 minutes of holding on for dear life our bodies where beaten and our muscles ached as if we had run a marathon and then entered the boxing ring for a 12 round fight. We decided a beer and a short relax on the beach was in order.

After the break it was deemed that the sofa was going to have to be taken out for a trip … for the first five mins I was on the boat taking pictures the rest of the time I was with the boys on the sofa. This time piggy in the middle was not the best place to be and trying to prevent my self from falling onto either of the guys was futile, I was all over the shop!

Eventually we said good buy to Yanny and headed back towards our friends who where down on the beach. The beach that they where on was in Kalo Nero (translates to clear water) and called Staousa. This beach is quite cool as it has a natural source of fresh water in the form of a drip into a little pool, which has been caved out of the cliff face. The beach also had a cave, which you can swim into, it is shallow enough inside and there is enough head room to stand up.

After the beach it was dinnertime. Fortunately the afternoon’s activities had restored our apatite and we where ready to each. In true Greek style half a million dishes we made! Everyone had their chance to get involved. A stunning cheese pie was whipped up – recipe to follow. Meat was prepared by the kids on the BBQ under the watchful eye of there father / uncle. Salads where made and potatoes drenched in lemon and olive oil where slow roasted in the oven. Other friends arrived from their house in the village and the party very quickly got going. It was great fun enjoyed by all especially dynamite who got his first taste of real Greeks and when they really get up to.

 Me holding the make shift shower over the balcony

 There is no phone reception at the house so, hence a bowl of mobiles!

At some point in the night we made it home, where we where greeted by two rather annoyed dogs!!  


Yanny’s watersports is located on the beach of the Mikri Polis in Makri Gialos. You can walk through reception who will direct you down to the beach or if you drive to the right of the hotel and follow the road down towards the beach you will find a small car park, leave the car there and on foot aim for the water, once on the beach the watersports center is on the right hand side. Yanny has jet skis, peddle o’s, a huge banana boat, sliders, sofas, water skis, knee boards, wake boards, mono skies and whole heap more. His rates are very reasonable and all the gear is almost new.

The beach we eventually snorkeled off is the one I wrote about a couple of weeks ago opposite the power plant. We were the only ones on the beach.

The beach that we met up with every one on was called staousa it is in Kalo Nero and is clearly sign posted.