" Santorini, Greece ~ Trip round the Bay ~ "
Date & Time: Thursday 4th October 2012.
Locations : The Greek island of Santorini.
Places visited : Oia, the volcanic hot springs, Red Beach, White Beach and back.
Accommodation : Cheladonia Traditional Villas Oia, Santorini, Greece.
With : Ann and myself.
Weather : Sunshine and blue skies all the way ~ daytime 29 degrees night time 24 degrees.
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Day Two on the island and we were a little slow in grabbing the camera for sunrise . . . no pressure however as we had come here to relax after all.
Still the first picture of the day still finds the street lights on so it must have been soon after seven o'clock.
Time to return to bed for a lie in !!
Breakfast . . . guess who fetched croissants and water melon from the local shop.
The town was coming to life . . .
The first of the wedding parties and their entourage were preparing for their day.
We had in fact booked a boat trip on the red catamaran and so gathered our suncream and sunglasses and headed for the harbour.
Those pink Bougainvilleas were looking stunning in the morning sunshine.
A close up of the beautiful flowers that line the path.
The boat started from Amoudi Bay at the bottom of the steps.
Amoudi is the main harbour of the north end of the island
and supports a small quay side for local boats and sight seeing tours.
We opt for the more modern sailboat cruise aboard the catamaran Ocean Voyager
A select party of twelve or so but the boat is capable of carrying fifty passengers on a busy day in the high season.
Heading out from the harbour . . . the trip today will take us out into the enclosed bay
that was formed when the volcano's heart was blown out of the island some 5000 years ago.
Santorini is more or less a circular island with two main sea entrances, both on the western side of the caldera.
Views of Oia hanging on the cliff-edge of the caldera.
The smaller island of Thirasia is all that remains of the western edge of the old volcano.
Like Oia, the main village here is also high on the cliff edge with a steep, stepped path down to the harbour below.
On the boat we met and chatted to Lyndon and Jas from New Zealand.
They were amazed that we knew of, and had visited, their home town of Invercargill, the major town at the bottom of South Island.
In the centre of the Santorini caldera are two islands that have risen out of the sea at a time when the volcano was still active.
Fortunately for us the last puffs of smoke were recorded in 1926 so everything has been settled and quiet for years.
On the smaller of the two central islands there is however a hot spring which bubbles small amounts of sulphur gas into the water.
We moored up and had the opportunity to swim ashore, the little cove becoming less busy when the other boats left a short time later.
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After a warm swim we returned to the boat and continued on our way around the island.
Magajet . . . the fast ferry roared into the bay . . . keeping a suitably safe distance from ours and other boats close by.
Rounding Akrotiri Head and out into the open sea at the southern end of the island.
Archeologists have identified around 22 different eruptions over time, identified by 22 different rock layers on the island.
They are easiest to spot on the coastal cliffs due to their varying colour and texture.
The red rocks of this headland gives rise to the popular "Red Beach" bay.
The beach has many beach huts and umbrellas but the 'sand' is quite coarse compared to the golden sands of the UK.
Due to the slight westerly swell causing the boat to pitch somewhat, we didn't stop for a swim.
A dramatic white cliff, a volcanic intrusion amongst several more horizontal rock stratas.
In the lea of the headland we were able to drop anchor, enjoy a swim and a snorkel around the boat
and partake of an on-board buffet lunch comprised of beautiful fresh salads, bread and a hot barbeque if you wished to partake.
Housekeeping routines completed as we sail past the small island of Aspronisi, notable again for its different coloured strata.
Looking across the bay to Fira and Firastefani with another steep cliff path down to the harbour below.
Anchored in the bay was one of the very many cruise ships that visited the island.
The darker ground is the larger of the two central volcanic islands in the middle of the caldera.
Lazing on a sunny afternoon . . .
The small community of Ameni Bay clinging to the cliffs beneath Oia.
Our villa is just below the blue dome on the left hand edge of the photo.
Before we rounded the headland we passed a large rock outcrop.
On the small island is a church and a landing quay and the water here seems a popular place for a swim.
Rounding the final part of the headland the harbour of Amoudi is revealed,
ending an excellent and relaxed midday cruise round the western side of the island on the Ocean Voyager
Now to climb those 251 steps back up !
Donkeys wait in the heat of the day to offer people a ride up the steps, but we chose to climb using our own leg power.
Time perhaps to check out our villa.
The bedroom was set deep into the rock cave and was delightfully comfortable.
Just mind your head on that rock when you get up !
. . . and a rather nice balcony with panoramic sea views . . . can't be bad.
[ We booked the self catering apartment through Cheladonia Traditional Villas ]
There was even time to enjoy a glass of local wine and some fresh olives !
Sunset again . . . it happens every day . . . the excursion boats wait as a large cruise ship exits the bay far below us.
Immediately below is the rock we passed earlier . . . maybe we'll go down tomorrow and try a swim from the rocks.
The Costa Facinosa leaving the bay.
I walked up a few steps to the roof tops above to view tonight's sunset.
A few steps up means I'm quickly back to watch the lights come on in the town.
Time to get changed into something slightly warmer for a meal out at one of the many excellent outdoor tavernas.
And so to bed with the lights of that tall ship illuminating the bay under Firastefani,
some five miles away across the water.
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Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon Sureshot SX220, my Canon G10 or 1100D Digital SLR.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . . a good pair of sunglasses (and a zoom lens)