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They aren’t much to look at, these rocks in the sea just outside the Old Town walls near the lighthouse and the entrance to the port at Chania. Rocks like any other rocks. But they do appear in a passage in one of the most famous and fascinating tales ever told about Crete: Robert Pashley‘s Travels in Crete (1837). Pashley’s wasn’t the first published foreign account of the island. There have been many, some 50 were written between the years of 1323 and 1939. If you’re interested, you can download a fabulous bibliography with links by George Kabourakis. But back to the rocks.
Here’s what Pashley wrote about them in footnote No. 30 on page 14 of his book: “Many […] rocks emerge from the water a little to the west of [the entrance of the port]. When at Khania, in the hot weather, I frequently bathed in the sea; and, on account of these rocks, could only do so by rowing half a mile from the mouth of the harbour. […] The entrance to the harbour is so narrow, that any pilot, not acquainted with it, might easily run his ship aground; as was done, while I was at Khania, by a Turkish vessel from Alexandria, which attempted to enter the port two or three hours after sunset.” I have never seen anyone swim here in modern times. If you want to swim in the city of Chania these days you either go west to the beach at Nea Chora, or east to the bay at Koum Kapi.
All text and photos © 2019 John Freedman. If you wish to reproduce, repost or use any of the text or any photo, please ask for permission.

Photo © 2019 John Freedman.