Arose at 7AM after a Greek night on the ship, complete with dancers, Ouzo and Raki, hoping to catch a glimpse of the island, but by the time I got on deck, we were already pulling up to a mooring in the chaldera, in front of the town of Fira, a confection of white buildings hanging 500 feet above our boat.
Colonized by the Minoans in 3000BC, a massive eruption blew away the mountain in 1450BC, leaving a huge crater. The inrushing seas resulted in a tsunami that also devastated Minoan Crete (and may have been coincidentally responsible for the parting of the Red Sea in time for Moses). Islands in the chaldera appeared after the eruptions of 197BC and 1707AD. They are still active. The last earthquake in the 1950s flattened the existing villages which have been stubbornly rebuilt.
From the harbour, one can get up to the town (via a winding path) on foot, on a donkey or by cable-car. We strolled, shopped and lunched at a taverna on the chaldera rim. More strolling, then took the funicular down to the dock and tendered out to the boat. What a place.
We’ll revisit Santorini later.
Sailed for tiny Ios, dining en route. We’ll overnight here and sail for Mikonos early in the morning.
Fira from the chaldera
Our boat and the chaldera from Fira
Minoan era wall-painting from 1700BC in the local museum
Fira from our lunch-time Taverna
Church in Fira