Lava & Hotsprings

Trip Start Mar 18, 2011
Trip End Apr 02, 2011

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Where I stayed
Hotel Keti

Flag of Greece  , Cyclades,
Wednesday, March 30, 2011

So today, this time on time, we need to descend the caldera and hop our boat over to the island that has risen from the sea since the 'big blast' of 1650BC that ripped the island of Santorini apart.  This is the site of the present-day volcano which last plummed in 1925.

There are 3 choices: by donkey, by foot, and by cable car.  We chose the smooth way...3 Euros each and not much more than 3 minutes later, and we're at the Old Port just in time to see our craft arrive -- a 2-masted, teak-decked "Black Pearl".  I headed straight to the upper deck to join the Captain, alone from the crowd of about 30 passengers (95% in their twenties and a true paradise for the single man), for the 15-20 min ride across the choppy caldera bay to our black lava island.  Half-way there the depth was 500 metres.  The surface of the island is rough, sharp, jet-black rock -- from huge bolders to golfball size, pockmarked with bubbles or smooth like ebony glass.  It's like an unweathered lunarscape.

God, another hike.  I guess it was 1.5 km this time but, as usual, like walking stairs.  My thighs will crush walnuts after this trip.  And gusty.  It's strange how even on such a stark place vegetation is able to take root.  There is a fiery-red and green dwarf plant hunkered down on some slopes.  (Most of Santorini is covered with wildflowers and wild thyme.)   After spending 90 minutes hiking the island we reboarded the boat.

Next and final stop was in the bay of an adjacent small islet where the especially depraved amongst the passengers dove off the boat, swam 50 metres in 10C water to the shoreline where hotsprings warmed the water to a reputed 22C.  Most of the victims said it was just "less cold" water before swimming back to the boat so fast they were planing.  One guy from Detroit said he was so cold he had a headache!  Do I regret not going for a swim?

You can guess the rest: appetizers, Santorini white wine and a good lunch of pork gyros made fresh at a local shop near our hotel.  This pretty much covered what we wanted to do & see on Santorini.  Tomorrow is forecast as cloudy, cooler, so a good day to keep in our hip pocket as an "open day".  Until then,
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