Well folks, we're up to the part of the cruise that Lee and I were looking forward to the most (and the pictures that my mom has been waiting to see)--Santorini, which used to be known as Thera. Reminder: click on any photo to see it larger.
The cruise ships anchor in the middle of the bay, which is the underwater caldera of a giant volcano (more on that in a bit). This was the second port where we booked an excursion, which was a trip to the smaller island of Nea Kameni and hiking around the volcanic crater.
I channeled Mom and took a butt shot : )
Check out the lens flare. I'm all artsy and stuff.
The black rock terrain and lack of vegetation make it look like it should be in a sci-fi movie set on an alien planet, right? (OH funny story! At least, I thought it was funny. So Saturday was the 50th anniversary special of Doctor Who (which Lee still thinks is the weirdest show ever, duh that's why I like it) and after that, there was a live after-party thing on TV. They did a clip of "Doctor Who by the numbers", like he's had 12 faces we've seen so far, how many times the Ninth Doctor said "Fantastic!" or the Tenth Doctor said "Allons-y!", and my favorite bit, the Doctor has visited 26 planets which resemble a rock quarry on Earth when in reality they filmed them all at ONE rock quarry. I thought that was really, really funny.)
Soooooo I took a lot of pictures (yep, the pictures on this post are all by ME, not Lee, everyone says what a good photographer Lee is but I'm no slouch either, right?!) and this time I'll have to do three posts to get through them all because I couldn't decide which ones were my favorite.
I like the teeny tiny people on the far side of the crater in this shot.
If Star Trek had had an unlimited budget for location shots, then I think they would have come to Santorini. Or maybe Hawaii, they have volcanoes there and it's closer to California, but I didn't visit any Hawaiian volcanoes so I don't know what they look like compared to this. (Another funny story: one night last week, I had a dream that I was arguing with this woman that I don't like, and then she turned into a Gorn and attacked me. What's *that* about?)
Isn't that blue water just gorgeous?
There's Lee, checking out the steam issuing from a small sulfur vent. Our tour guide was named Hara (which means "joy") but she said we could call her Mama Hara as she was our Greek mother for the duration of the tour. So when we got to the steam vent she said we could feel the steam but do NOT touch the rocks because they're HOT and will burn you. Yep, definitely a mom ; )
The discoloration is from a bigger sulfur vent. Wonder if CLR would take care of that.
So here's our most excellent tour guide Mama Hara, telling us all about the volcano upon which we were standing. It's a bit of a hike to get to the top of the crater, but she's done it over 4,000 times, starting when she was three years old and her grandfather took her. So in the upper left you can see how Santorini (Thera then) used to be a lot bigger, and how the island changed shape with successive eruptions. Then there was the giant eruption somewhere around 1600 BC, which was FORTY TIMES the size of Krakatoa and one of the biggest eruptions in Earth's history. Scholars think that the eruption contributed greatly to the downfall of the Minoan civilization on Crete since it probably caused a pretty serious tsunami, and that might be the factual basis for the myth of Atlantis. (Or IS IT a myth? I like to think that there's much left to be discovered, and I totally believe Atlantis might still be out there. And fairies and unicorns and dragons, but maybe not manticores.)
Think the moon looks like this? Only, ya know, white and without water and air?
I like how you can see the strata on the cliffs. And that blue water!! Man, now I want to go live in Greece. Only maybe not on top of a giant and hugely destructive volcano.
Again, I just couldn't decide which pictures were my faves.
The paths around the island with a cruise ship in the background. I don't even know if that was our ship, there were like three or four anchored at Santorini at the same time.
So that's it for Santorini, Part 1. Stay tuned for more later and cheers, peeps!