Nisyros: Autumn came and went again.

Unexpectedly amazing day on Wednesday, as already said.  And un-anticipated, though with hindsight not entirely unexpected change in the weather.  Since I arrived on Nisyros on 26 August there literally hasn’t been a cloud in the sky.  Wednesday and high cirrus advanced from the north and by the end of the morning there was orographically induced cumulous cloud (cloud formed by air being force upwards by mountains and cooling to condensation level) over Oros Diavatis, the highest peak on the island.  It grew and diminished and grew and diminished through the afternoon but was still there as night fell.

Coupled with that was a distinct change in temperature.  It was nolonger hot in the shade. In the evening locals were all wearing coats.

Autumn had come.

The cloud was still over the peaks as I set out on Thursday to catch the newly scheduled 09.45 to Palloi but by then there was quite some heat in the sun and it was verging on being too hot sitting on the harbourside waiting for the bus.

The plan was to walk along the coast towards Lies in order to photograph the lava clam shell and adjacent pumice cliffs which I blogged about a few days ago.  Then the light had been over the back and the whole face of the lava and the pumice had been in shade.  The hope was that earlier in the day it would have the sun on it making for better photos.  That worked reasonably well, half the lava clam shell being in the sun and the whole of the pumice cliff.  Not perfect but distinctly better.

I climbed up to the top of the clam shell, apparently more accurately described as a ‘ramp lava front’ ……. but it looks like a giant clam shell so I’ll stick with the descriptive rather than the scientific.  Then I climbed cautiously and delicately around its lip on both sides with the aim of  trying to capture the shape of it and the colours in the lava.  I really needed to be there a couple of hours earlier in order to get the whole of the structure in the light.  But the photos I did take I hope manage give an impression of it.

Lava clam shell from one side

……. and from the other

Small section of the lip of the lava

Layers of pumice and ‘paleosoils’ laid down in pumice cliffs  by different eruptions of the volcano

In places much eroded

The line of sea-eroded caves seen from the tip of the clam shell

The next stage of the plan was to reverse the walk up to Emborios which I sussed out last Friday.  Bit of time-warping here.  It’s difficult to believe that I have been here now nearly 3 weeks and it’s difficult to believe that it was nearly a week since I did the Emborios–Palloi route-finding.  As the cliché has it “doesn’t time fly when you’re enjoying yourself”.

Apart from being resolutely uphill all the way retracing the route in reverse up to Emborio wasn’t too difficult.  I managed the 20-foot dry waterfall no problem and the only real decision was when I reached a confluence.  Following the combination of path and stream bed downhill there is no decision to make, two streams becoming one, but going uphill one stream bed becomes two.  Is it left or right??  No anxiety.  I thought it was the right hand option and knew that if it was wrong, when it intersected the road and the upward continuation wasn’t immediately opposite, then I just had to turn left and I would find it.

Worked a treat.  Right was right and within 20 minutes I was at the road and the next section of the path, a well defined and mostly paved kalderimi was straight ahead across the tarmac.

Some people don’t like ‘out-and-back’ walks on the basis that they don’t like doing the same route twice.  The route back up to Emborio bore no resemblance to the route down.  Same path but two completely different walks just by looking the other way.  I think only two features were memorable and identifiable, first the waterfall and second a lump of lava the size of a house overhanging the path.

I reached Emborios by 12.00 and the cloud over the peaks had disappeared completely.  The wind had dropped and there wasn’t a cloud in sight anywhere.  Fabulous.  Time for a frappé on the famous terrace cantilevered out over the caldera.

Summer had returned, for a while at least..

It must be said that while September is a great month in Greece, probably the best, there is always the likelihood of unsettled weather towards the end of the month.  Unsettled in terms of the reliability of clear blue sky. The likelihood of rain is still very low. But for Wednesday an early finish to the walk meant time on the beach at Hochlakoi where the sea was crystal clear and, for once, amazingly calm.

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