Cliff-Jumping In Sudak, Crimea

Are you a cliff-jumper?

Even though I’ve watched other people in action, I’ve never had a chance to do it myself. Would I? After all I’ve heard about broken spines and destroyed lives? I don’t know. Perhaps. Perhaps I’ll have a chance to try it one day. Perhaps I’ll have a chance to write about it too.

On the road again

We travelled with Martin, my travel buddy in Crimea, far and away. He’s a great backpacking companion. Not only he doesn’t have any problems but also he knows a lot about history and shares it freely. Plus, he knows Russian.

O-oh! Too pretty. Awwwww... <3
O-oh! Too pretty. Awwwww… <3

After we conquered Chatyr Dag, we moved our attention to a new destination: Sudak, which is an ancient site that is believed to be founded in 212 AD by Alani settlers on the territory of the Bosporan Kingdom.

Volatile history of Sudak

Sudak was an important trading location on the Silk Road and was considered to be one of the most important trading ports during the Middle Ages, according to Ibn Battuta, an ancient traveller and explorer.

The fortress takes a surprisingly large area. Now - should I really be surprised?
The place takes a surprisingly large area. Now – should I really be surprised? It’s a FORTRESS after all.

Nowadays, Sudak is a popular resort known for the impressive Genoese fortress, which is largely reconstructed.

The fortress is impressive indeed. Having a sharp cliff guarding its back, the place seems to be basically impregnable.

We wandered around the place, checking each and every corner, talking about the days past and life that this place had witnessed. Finally, the midday sun reminded us that we were in Crimea, that it was hot and that it was time for a swim.

Exploring the “suburbs”

At the suburbs of Sudak, there’s Novyi Svit where in 1878, Prince Lev Sergeievitch Golitsyn established a winery. The establishment produced sparkling wine so fine that it won the “Grand Prix de Champagne” in Paris in 1900.

Yes. This is actually correct: Russian sparkling wine won a Grand Prix for Champagne in Paris. How cool is that?

 Tsar's Beach is accessible only by the water. Unless you're a goat. Then it's accessible over the rocks.
Tsar’s Beach is accessible only by the water. Unless you’re a goat. Then it’s accessible over the rocks.

Sadly enough, or not, we didn’t go to Novyi Svit for the champagne. We went there for the beaches! Accessing them is a bit long but completely amazing walk. First, you have to enter a nature reserve, which is famous for its grottos, ancient juniper stands, and remote beaches. Of course.

I've got completely no clue what's happening in this grotto. It was just too weird. And you can't even see half of it in this photo...
I’ve got completely no clue what was happening in this grotto o_O And you can’t even see the half of it…

Cliff-jumpers & their audience

As it turned out, the nature reserve was also famous for cliff-jumping. No wonder. The narrow path meanders between sharp rocks for the biggest part of its length. It’s hot and the rocks are ending right inside the cool sea. The connection is easy to make.

Must be careful. Always be careful. Watch out. Just like your momma said.
Must be careful. Always be careful. Watch out. Just like your momma said.
Not so difficult to like this place, eh?
Not so difficult to like this place, eh?

Quite a few people were engaged in trying out their fear. Climb a rock, short pause to consider, jump. Splash! And he’s inside the sea. Yup. He. I saw no girls doing it that day.

This climb, pause, jump, splash routine was so mesmerizing that Martin and I sat down and just gaped at them.

Well, actually, the jumpers had quite an audience!

GERONIMOOO!
GERONIMOOO!

Pressure of the peers?

Restlessly, the boys were falling in and going out of the water. As they were getting bolder, they would climb higher and higher. Crossing some level of fear with every new jump. A thrilling spectacle to watch.  Especially that from where we were sitting, it looked as if they were going to fall right onto the rocks.

Cliff-jumping? What cliff-jumping?
Cliff-jumping? What cliff-jumping?
So easy to lose yourself to a slow & plesant reverie...
So easy to lose yourself to a slow reverie…

My blood was freezing every time someone was preparing for a jump. Even watching from a distance, I could feel the adrenaline rush. Sitting still, imagining what you feel when you actually climb, pause, jump…

Splash!

Look for it. Look for it. Look for it. Splash!
Wait for it… Wait for it… Wait for it… Splash!

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