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Crete Island
The island of Clauda
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The description of Crete can hardly be closed without some notice of the island of Clauda, Iying directly opposite to Sfakia and its port of Lutro, since it will, in conjunction with the latter port, ever possess a special interest from the notice of them both in the events connected with St. Paul's perilous voyage and shipwreck after quitting Fair Havens, which I have very fully dwelt upon in the first two chapters of this volume. For it will be remembered that it was under the lee of this island of Clauda, that the ship, after being struck or caught by the fury of the Euroclydon in endeavouring to cross the intermediate channel for the port of Phoenice, ran for temporary shelter, and the mariners, it is said, undergirded the ship, and had much difficulty in saving their boat.

The modern name of the island is Gavdo or Ghavdo, although it is strangely corrupted into Gozzo by Italian navigators.

Its general appearance from a distance is flat (having no defined peak), with whitish cliffs forming the northem and eastem parts of its coast; and it is not high as compared with Crete, although it is much higher than Malta, its altitude heing nearly 1000 feet. The south coast of the island is straight and high, forming a continuous precipice, the summit of the island being just over the cliff from which it declines gradually to the northern shore, where it is low and rocky, with several outlying dangers; and the watershed down it in this direction has consequently channelled its surface into long parallel and deep ravines running in the direction of the dip or inclination of the strata. These deposits much resemble the lower group of those of Malta, and seem to be identical from the sea-eggs and sharks' teeth found in them: they correspond also with the upper series of deposits upon the Cyrene coast, which overly the nummulitic limestones there. But the southem cliffs of the island of Gavdo are composed of the unfossiliferous and unconformable brown and blue shales and schists so frequent in Crete.

Ghavdo contains about seventy families, scattered over it in three or four hamlets and farms. The property of the island generally belongs to the Sfakiots; and the inhabitants being only their tenants, are consequenty poor. They are primitive in their habits and ideas, and moreover are without enterprise and energy, a mixed and degenerate race; for the island having been made a place of resort by the old Levantine corsairs, Maltese cruisers during the middle ages and later times, these left their imprint strongly marked in the features and temperament of many of its inhabitants, as in Antiparos and other islets of the archipelago. And so inconsiderate was their curiosity, on the first arrival of my ship, that several swam off to her soon after anchoring, and suprised us by hoarding her from the gangways and bows in state of nudity, just like the uncivilized natives of the Pacific islands. The island presents to the eye a rather barren, unproductive appearance, having no trees or shrubs, excepting a few karoubs in the valleys, and a sort of stunted juniper growing amidst the hlown sands upon the northem shore; for the olive-tree cannot flourish upon the hills, from their entirely northem aspect rendering them exposed to the force of the frequent Luroclydon squalls during every "meltemi".

There are no indentations or bays, nor any safe anchorage, except on the east side, and there it affords only a temporary shelter from a westerly gale.

Upon a flat but steep eminence terminating close over the north shore, near its north-west extreme, there is a small site with Hellenic remains, from which I procured a finely draped but headless colossal female statue in Parian marble, a very fine specimen of Greek art, and which I soon afterwards had the gratification of presenting to the British Museum. It had been discovered, a few years previously by the peasants when tilling the sail, and when I saw it Iying neglected upon the surface surrounded by the daily chipping wantonly and thoughtlessly made by the shepherdboys for pastime, I was induced to remove it to save so valuable a specimen of Cretan sculpture, and, by the consent of the party in possession of the spot, was fortunately enable to do so; otherwise it would ere long have been a disfigured block of marble, and not worth the time, trouble, and expense incurred.

There must have been a temple near where the statue was found, together with the acopolis of the only ancient city in the island. From what remains, it must have been at that rime a v ery small city, and not of sufficienlt importance to have its own coinage, as no coins of this island are known, and I could nor learn that any had ever been found by rhe natives.

Yet, according to rhe showing of Dr Cramer (vol. iii p. 376). there was a Bishop of Clauda. and therefore it must have heen populous and of some importance in rhe early days of Christianity; the island, however, is not more rhall five miles in lengtlh by ahout three in breadth; so that I think it probable that within the see were included the inaccessible part of the Sfakian territory and coast lying opposite to it, with which, no doubt, then as now, communication by boat was frequent.

My general observations of rhe geology of parts of the opposite coast of Crete and of Ghavdo have shown that the latter is chiefly a fragment of what are supposed to he deposits of the niocene tertiary peliod, and therefore a sort of link between those deposits on the coast of Crete and on that of Cyrene, but it is apparently separated from Crete by a chasm nearly 1000 fathoms deep, and from Cyrene by a depth of upwards of l500 fathoms.

Yet I found a tradition existing among the inhabitants that there was a submarine bank or shallow between Gavdo and Cyrene. which the well-known French tralveller Sonani having heard of accepted as a fact, and attributed the separation, with this shallow connexion between, to the abrading effect of currents. He thus divided the eastern half of the Mediterranean into two deep basins, viz one between the Malta channel and the Cynene or Cretan channel, and the other benween the Cyrene channel and Syria. This tradition, however, is entirely negativated by the deep soundings we have obtained off part of Crete and between Ghavdo and Cyrene. Even at only fifteen miles to the south of the south-west exneme of Crete we found by a single sounding. hut perfectly reliable, a depth of no less than 1950 fathoms. or nearlly 12000 feet; and in allprobability, this is not the deepest.being rhe only one raken Thus, as rhe While Mountains as this end of the island are 8000 feet high. There is a suhmarinle valley under or rather off it. that is about 4000 feet deeper below the surface of the sea than either the White Mountains or Mount Ida are ahove it; therefore if we add the heigth of these mountains viz.8000 feer. to this remarkable depth so near to the island of Crete, we have a result indicating a difference of level. between the bed of the Mediterranean here and rhe top of the White Mountains, of nearly 20000 feet in a distance of about twenty-five miles, thereby giving a contour of the subbaerial and submarine Stata of the earth of this part of the Mediterranean almost equal in vertical dimension to that of some of the highest mountain-ranges in the world, and exceeded by few in boldness.

>> Crete Island Chania, Heraklion, Lasithi, Rethimno, Gavdos Island.

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