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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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…