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.

Enough words

The lump of lava like a weird creature at the beginning of Lava Coast Walk is about 8 metres high, the cliffs significantly higher

The lump of lava like a weird creature at the beginning of Lava Coast Walk is about 8 metres high, the cliffs significantly higher

.... and the distinctive headland at the end of it about 12 metres high

…. and the distinctive headland at the end of it about 12 metres high

.... with the soft pumice/ash cliffs behind also a lot higher

…. with the soft pumice/ash cliffs behind also a lot higher

One of the extrusions in the sea, a mixture of very rough and smooth surface as if squeezed like tootpaste

One of the extrusions in the sea, a mixture of very rough and smooth surface as if squeezed like tootpaste

Multicoloured blocks metres high

Multicoloured blocks metres high

Weird shapes and hieroglyphics

Weird shapes and hieroglyphics

... one shaped like a coffin with inscriptions

… one shaped like a coffin with inscriptions

... another like a weird head or helmet

… another like a weird head or helmet

.... or a recumbant figure

…. or a recumbant figure

.... or shooting upwards out of the ground

…. or shooting upwards out of the ground

And then some are matt-smooth like stranded sea creatures

And then some are matt-smooth like stranded sea creatures

..... or delicate plants

….. or delicate plants

One like a giant fossilised meat pasty

One like a giant fossilised meat pasty

Veined with sulphur like gold, over  a metre in diameter

Veined with sulphur like gold, over a metre in diameter

Or just great lumps of raw ore

Or just great lumps of raw ore

Very definitely of alien origin

Very definitely of alien origin

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