Ikarian Naked Landscapes


This is Adam Monk. He is a professional photographer from Australia who specializes in wide wild landscapes of the type that Australians call “outback”. Adam who is an artist, calls them “Naked Landscapes”. They are, as he says, «places far from the influence of man«. Last June he visited Greece and took photos of our «outback», our Wild Nature (“Άγρια Φύση”) or “Virginal Nature”. Naked Landscapes, Virginal Nature, one metaphor for another. Metaphors is tricky stuff. To use them one has to know well what he or she is talking about. Undoubtedly Adam does. See here some great photos from Fournoi isles and four well chosen Naked Landscapes from Ikaria. On his permission I have connected them into this entry. I couldn’t also help copying the stories that go with them as well, which he was so generous to share with the viewers.

The Greek island of Ikaria

Last year in June/July i had the opportunity to go to Greece with my girlfriend Electra, who is Greek.  Greece is one of the places i’d always wanted to go but had never made it to… it’s a long list!  We stayed only 4 weeks, which is not long enough to really explore Greece, but seeing all of it wasn’t the objective, but to experience the life and culture of Greece a little, hear the language and eat the food…  and eat more of the food… Greek food is great, usually quite simple, but really good!

One of the places we visited was the Island of Ikaria, not one of the main tourist islands, and right over near the coast of Turkey. Ikaria was quite different to what i expected Greece to look like, and very different to the other Greek Island we visited on that journey, more on the other island later.

The Greek island of Ikaria in the Aegean Sea, Greece.

I had always thought Greek Islands would be more like Rottnest, the island off the coast of Fremantle, and many of them are, very rocky, dry and windswept with low scrubby vegetation and small white painted houses.  In contrast to this Ikaria is green, forested and has beautiful gorges with rivers and waterfalls, and the houses are not painted white!

One thing that was as i expected it to be was the crystal clear water of the Aegean Sea with it’s amazing deep aquamarine blue colour that just invites you to jump in, which i did on many occasions, including just after making this image here, which is the bay of a tiny fishing village at the end of a long rough dusty dirt road (it was a hire car…).  I cant remember the name of the place, but when we finally arrived it was around midday and the whole town (all 15 houses) was asleep for the afternoon, so it was quite eerie, like a ghost town, we had the whole place to ourselves.  So, we went down to the bay and swam around naked!  It was lovely.

Chalares Canyon, Ikaria

The Greek Island of Ikaria is a haven for bushwalkers and nature lovers.  Unlike many Greek Islands that tend to be dry and windswept (though still beautiful), Ikaria is thickly forested and covered in gorges, rivers and waterfalls… i’m starting to sound like a travel agent or a travel documentary!  Way too formal.

Well, as much as i love beaches, freshwater rivers and waterfalls amongst shady forests are really my favourites, there is something more surreal and almost imaginary about them.  Its probably something left over from my childhood when i would ride off on my bicycle into the bush  and spend the day wading around in creeks and rivers catching little freshwater crayfish and turtles (then letting them go again), only to turn up at home again hours later wet and smelling of the swamp!

Whatever the reason, for me Ikaria was a paradise of rivers, waterfalls and freshwater crayfish (i tend to eat those now…), with lots of long lovely walking trails through shady forests and rocky gorges, that would take you down to places like this one…

Crystal clear stream on the Greek Island of Ikaria in the East Aegean Sea

I didn’t find any freshwater crayfish, but i did find some very cute little freshwater crabs and some very small shrimp…  I didn’t eat any of them, and i did spend many hours here just sitting.  Bliss.

This one is the beach below the town of Nas on the Greek Island of Ikaria, it is also the opening to the sea of the Chalares Canyon from a previous post.  On the opposite bank of the river is the site of an ancient temple of Artemis, the Greek Goddess of the wilderness, the hunt, wild animals and fertility; there’s not much left of it now but the sea wall and the foundations, but it is a beautiful site.  I just found out the other day that this temple was originally built from stone quarried from Petrokopio beach on the neighbouring island of Fourni which featured in this post

Site of an ancient temple of Artemis, the Greek Goddess of the wilderness, the hunt, wild animals and fertility

Quiet Reflection, Ikaria

This magical little spot was just a short walk from the room we rented just outside of Nas on the Greek Island of Ikaria.  It is a small pool in the Chalares Gorge which cut right through the landscape below the balcony of the room and ended at the beach shown in the previous post. This spot is cool, shady and tranquil, perfect spot to lean on a tree and read a book or just do nothing…

Quiet reflection

The reason Adam chose Ikaria is obvious. He speaks about it in the descriptions and, most of all, through his photos. The reason now I chose Adam was of a different nature. It had to do with destiny. Only few months after his visit, torrential rainfalls hit the island and violent landslides altered the looks of the sites where he took photos.

This is Trapalou (site of Adam’s 1st photo and story) in October 2010.

Τhe whole town (all 15 houses) was asleep for the afternoon, so it was quite eerie, like a ghost town, we had the whole place to ourselves.  So, we went down to the bay and swam around naked! It was lovely.

This is Nas (site of Adam’s 3rd photo and story) in October and the riverbed of Chalares (site of 2nd and 4th photo and story) in December 2010.


Who can say if it’s better or worse? Who can judge the course of the planets?

Someone would love the new beach (for as long as it stays). Someone else lost an ancestral old house and property. Someone loves the new clean stony bed of the river. Someone else weeps over the loss of the pools, the plane trees and the waterfalls. A romantic is shocked. A stoic is not.

Yet there is a thing we can do. We can eliminate the influence of man in what so ever aggravates the consequences of nature’s changes on man. Only rain can’t break down a mountain. That mountain had been eroded and broken already. Not by mining or excavations but by… goats! Who on earth would believe?

An extravagance for another, first thing I do when I am back in Ikaria will be to bathe in the goat-made new beach and hike in the goat-made new river! I am more than sure they will still be beautiful, though different, Naked Landscapes. And when some day people realize that too many goats is a disaster and get rid of them, the new Naked Landscapes of Ikaria will stop breaking down They will be very green and that day I will call Adam back!

Note: Adam Monk’s photos © Adam Monk, see technical details inside the original entries. Photo of Trapalou and Nas © Christos Malachias. Photo of Chalares riverbed © «angeloska».


8 Σχόλια on “Ikarian Naked Landscapes”

  1. Ο/Η Adam Monk λέει:

    Hey Eleni, i love it. You didn’t just add a post, you changed your whole blog, a big task indeed. I especially like the point you make about swimming at the new (goat created) beach and hiking the new (goat Created) gorge, i think at this stage there is nothing to do but accept the new state of the landscape, no point wishing for something else. It is a shame if the trees have been washed away, and the quiet pools are no longer there, but they will all come back in time, i’m sure this is not the first time this type of storm has hit Ikaria and it won’t be the last, the landscape is constantly in a state of flux, thats its nature. We humans are also part of that nature and that change, we certainly cause a lot of change, though i must say i find it ironic what you say about too many goats creating the instability that allowed the landslides that altered the landscape so, not something i would have expected, but also makes sense too.
    I found your image of Trapalou quite confusing at first, cause it didn’t look like any place i had been (i’m bad at remembering names), until i read your coment that it was the same as my first image from Ikaria, so i had another look… talk about changes! there is a beach where there was no beach previously, and it looks like a river exits there now where i dont remember a river being… Nature is powerful and god is great!
    i look forward to returning to Ikaria and hiking the new (goat created) landscape one day soon.

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    • Ο/Η egotoagrimi λέει:

      Hello Adam, I am Nana, one of Eleni’s closest friends. Congratulations for your pictures. They make us proud of the island we love, and give us strengh to keep on protecting it. It’s so difficult to understand this thing about goats. It’s not a threat as obvious as the gas hub in Kimberley that I was glad to see you are very committed against. Every visitor who sees a goat thinks it’s a nice and picturesque leftover of the past as is the case in many places of Europe. But Ikaria makes an exception. For reasons that are hard to explain to an outsider, goats make «the island’s main industry»! It has been out of control for ages so a disaster (the locals use this word) was only a matter of time. Now your photos help so much in showcasing the beauty of this land. You know what some people in Greece say about «Naked Landscapes»? They say «They are good for nothing. Let them to the goats». Oh no!

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  2. Ο/Η egotoagrimi λέει:

    If this is new looks! Energetic tanzerine! I am happy that it worked but you seem to have done something more to it, sister, I will detect later.
    Though I told you, you were right to focus on just the changes of the general landscape and not to blog on the terrible close-ups of the ruins and the old people in distress. It would have sent the concept to an other direction.
    The sea of Trapalou is as blue as ever and if the locals remove the flocks from the cliffs one day this remote paradise will be a green tropical-like haven. I will swim and climb, you will read in the shade, and your son will play on the «new» sand.

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  3. […] Ikarian Naked Landscapes from: Eleni's Blog in Ikaria on 17 January 2011 […]

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  4. Ο/Η angelosk λέει:

    I wrote to Adam and thank him. His images are actually made of several photos, 3D like. That’s all from me.
    Can’t comment on anything else about this entry. You have my wholesome admiration.

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  5. Ο/Η xxx λέει:

    Cool pictures, but I like yours as much because they are more real. Wish you still put them on…

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  6. Ο/Η *** λέει:

    Yes indeed, I have now 🙂

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