Nisyros: alien images on the Lava Coast
After two weeks of trekking in the mountains around Nisyros every day, much of it in noon heat, I was ready for an easier walk. I headed south along the west coast of the island, no footpath, just hopping and teetering from boulder to boulder. I had been that way before a few times but was surprised that little was familiar. Winter storms had brought down more of the cliffs with lava blocks, some the size of a car, balanced precariously on one another before they settle after a few more winters. Blocks four or five times my bodyweight could be rocked backwards and forwards by balancing on them …. or slide ominously.
I walked about 4 kilometres to a distinctive headland backed by loose pumice/ash cliffs, and then turned back. It looked boring from there on.
The main problem, apart from the prospect of triggering fresh rockslides, was to keep moving. The rocks were a mesmerising array of colours, shapes and distortions which had a vrachophile like me (Google it), stopping to look and photograph every few seconds. Many were fragments of lava bubbles, created when gas erupted from the liquid lava which then cooled rapidly. Now centuries-old rock. Many pieceslooked like hieroglyphic messages inscribed on tablets more than a metre across.