The experienced canyoning instructor Manos Petrakis talks about canyoning and explains why Crete is the ideal place to discover it
Συνέντευξη για το περιοδικό MINOAN WAVE των Μινωικών Γραμμών από την δημοσιογράφο Αστερόπη Λαζαρίδου.

Tell us about your impressive occupation. How many years have you been involved in canyoning in Crete, what made you fall in love with this process, what are the elements it gave you in terms of self-awareness?

Canyoning is an activity that is gaining more and more people, as it offers the opportunity to explore unique and largely unknown places, inaccessible until a few years ago.
My first contact was 15 years ago when, as an already active spelunker and outdoor activities enthusiast, I crossed my first canyon involving the use of ropes.
Coming in contact first time with waterfalls, unknown geological formations, imposing vertical rocks of different varieties and colors, natural slides and pools, I was impressed by the natural terrain and fell in love with the sense of freedom you get when descending with a rope. Thus began a journey of exploring new unknown places that counts more than 1,000 descents in gorges not only in Crete and Greece but also in Europe.
Canyoning is an activity that has given me intense experiences, changed my way of life and my way of thinking, brought me closer to nature and my true self. It revealed skills I didn’t know I had, expanding my knowledge and inspiring me to work in education.

Tell us some of the nicest descent destinations in Heraklion, Chania and other parts of Crete. What are your personal favorites and why?

Some of the most beautiful gorges in Greece are located in Crete. The prefecture of Heraklion has some of the island’s top gorges, such as Portela, Arvi, Panagia, the majestic Lapathos and Kavousi and of course the rest of island are not short of interest. The most enjoyable, playful and at the same time challenging gorge of Heraklion is Portela. I would describe it as a natural water park, with the siphon being its highlight feature.. θα το χαρακτήριζα ως φυσικό υδάτινο πάρκο, με πιο ξεχωριστό σημείο της το σιφόνι.
Chania has many demanding gorges due to inaccessible terrain and the large area of the white mountains. Malacha, Klados, Kalokampos and Perdika are some of the most impressive and technically difficult gorges in the island, with Perdika having the highest waterfall in Crete (240m). Of course, there are gorges in the area of Chania that are more friendly, both for beginners and for those who just want to go for the experience. A typical case is the Diplochachalo gorge which ends up in the famous Seitan Limania beach. 
Speaking of canyoning in Crete, one can not fail to mention the King of the gorges in Crete Ha, which excites the imagination just by looking at its exit. One of the most impressive, with wall height of more than 300m and 24 descents, it is considered the ultimate destination for experienced canyoners and the pride of Lasithi. Ideal for a first experience is Mylonas and Peristera, with the last to be my favorite descent in the area.
Kria Vrisi, Rechtara, Kaminolakkos, Kakoperato in Agios Vasileios and Smiles are among the most beautiful destinations of Rethymno, with the last two being favorite descents for young explorers. Personally however, I would single out Kria Vrisi and Rechara, as they have the biggest abseils of 95m and 55m respectively.

Does the degree of difficulty vary from canyon to canyon? What should someone who wants to do canyoning know and have? What are the virtues that a person should have beyond a good physical condition?

The degree of difficulty varies depending on the water supply, the height of the descents and the time it takes to cross them. Moderate physical fitness and swimming ability is required in most of the wet canyons. The rest is learned during training and knowledge is enriched by continuous engagement. Teamwork, a good attituded and good intentions as well as respect for the environment are essential values that anyone who wants to get involved should possess.

Are there people who tell you that through this process they have overcome their phobias?

A key feature of the activity is boosting your confidence and overcoming your fears, as a parallel self-awareness course one acquires. Most common of all, acrophobia. I know someone who could not get out on their balcony, but by attending the beginner’s course in canyon Descent not bonly became familiar with exposure to the void, but continued to the level of autonomous Canyoner.

Share with us a descent incident that will be unforgettable for you..

The first time I went through a rainbow! Although it seems like a child’s dream, it is a common phenomenon in gorges due to the reflection of light through the prisms created by the mist in the waterfalls.

How would you describe in 3 words the experience of descending to someone who wants to, but hesitates to dare?

Live the experience !!!
The best things are on the other side of your fear.

What is your favorite place in Crete?

It is hard to choose a favorite spot on an island full of contrasts. It is a small continent, one could say, which gives you the opportunity to go skiing on Psiloritis mountain and within an hour you can swim in the sea. Crystal clear turquoise waters, sacred caves, picturesque settlements, small hidden oases and imposing gorges make up a monumental place. Of course the greatest awe I felt was when I saw for the first time the waterfall of Mastoras, 215m heght, which flows into the gorge of Ha.

Such activities, are they now able to strengthen even the island's tourism?

These activities enhance the tourist profile of the island by offering new experiences to visitors, in perfect harmony with the natural environment. At the same time, they extend the tourist season, increase the number of visitors and improve the quality of service.     

Can you tell us a contact number for those interested as well as the social media

You can get a small taste of the activities through the website and our social media platforms. Contact number 0030 6973042802 where we can give you more information about your participation in a descent in the Gorges of Crete.

Instagram :  Canyoning Crete
Facebook page : Canyoning Crete
Facebook group : Φαράγγια της Κρήτης