OASIFICATION! 🌳 🌳 🌳


.
.

WTF is this word? 😵 ❓ ❓

According to YourDictionary: Oasification

«The process of restoring water, soil, and plant life to an environment that has been degraded by soil erosion.»


According to the Wikipedia: Oasification

«In hydrology, oasification is the antonym to desertification by soil erosion. This technique has limited application and is normally considered for much smaller areas than those threatened by desertification.»

«To help the oasification process, engineers aim to develop a thriving dense woody plant cover to redress the hydrological, edaphic and botanical degradation affecting a slope.»


According to writer F. R. Chateaubriand: Oasification

«Forest precedes Man and desert follows him. Thus has ocurred with many civilizations that we know, settled in arid and semiarid territories. However, desertification is not an irreversible and hopeless process. In this new millenium we must be able to find the solutions to the problems that we generate. Against desertification: Oasification!»


According to the declaration of the three Ikarian Associations mentionned
at the end of my previous article «The little house in the desert»

«Besides that, again with our voluntary work, we intend to fence an area of at least 8.000 square meters around the shelter in order to protect it from the goats. This way, we will allow at least a small part of the overgrazed, eroded and almost desertified mountain plateau to grow green again like it was in the past.»

«Among the benefits resulting from this [project will be] the awakening of the local community concerning the desertification of the mountain volume of Ikaria through creating a visitable framed green space where endemic species will grow. This way, it will be proven in practice that this phenomenon and its disastrous effects (flashfloods, landslides, impoverishment of the soil) is not a natural, inevitable process but something that started for specific reasons [only] few decades ago and therefore, there is a way to stop it.»

«But most of all, what we want to do is to show with a project of our own -no matter its smallness- the great love we feel for our mountain, its freedom and its wild beauty.»

Project: 'To Spitaki tis Mamis', mountain refuge and protected green area in Ammoudia plateau, on mt. Atheras, Ikaria island, Greece
Well, tThe fenced area around 'Spitaki tis Mamis'hey’ve done it!!!! Against all odds (bureaucracy, indifference, fatalism, pessimism and hostile goat barons) on Sunday, September 24, more than 40 young local people gathered on the mountain and after several hours of hard work, they secured an area of 8.000 square meters around the old mountain shelter on Ammoudia plateau with a long line of welded wire mesh panels.
They ‘ve done it! Look at them at work! You can tell from the pictures which are all first quality, the feelings of joy and fulfillment shared by the participants. I am so glad I’ve helped in my own small way to this project. If things go well -and I have every reason to thnk they will- in less than 3 years, instead of that depressive, although sometimes also impressive, goat desert, we will have an oasis!

Notice: The gallery above is made up of 56 pictures I discovered in three posts at the OPS Ikarias Google+ page. They redirected me to three of their facebook posts: the first one, containing 12 pictures taken by my friend Angelos, the second and the third one containing a total of 44 pictures, taken by our friends from Italy, Paola and Ivo, founders of the association «Η ‘δική μας’ Ικαρία».

All pictures © OPSIkarias & DikimasIkaria 2017


For the title of this article I am gratedul to
angeloska | Flickr
who looked up the meaning of the term «oasification» for me and
suggested that it would be more appropriate to describe the project
of fencing instead of the akward «fencing against desertification»
which wouldn’t make much sense to a reader who is not familiar
with our strange island and its strange problems.

.

For information and donations, you may write to
opsikarias2008@gmail.com
kinisi.politon.ikaria@gmail.com



Advertisements

I’m back & sea turtles! •·.·´¯`·.·•. •·.·´¯`·.·•☀


.

Sea Turtle, ancient Greek silver coin

.

.

Two days ago and I’m back in Ikaria and I am taking part in my own cleansing ritual as always In my blog: A pink woolen baby hood - Ενα ροζ μωρουδίστικο σκουφακι' early in the morning and after that I put something on and lie on the sand and I am tired and I drowse off and although it was cold earlier, now the sun rises higher and I wake up from the heat, and I think I’m dreaming baby sea turtle october ikaria 1‘cause next to my waist, and my left thigh small black creatures emerge from the sand hot babes and they look as if made of rubber and they are six or seven (maybe there were more while I was asleep) and they crawl and paddle towards the sea – because they are newly born baby sea turtles!!! baby sea turtle october ikaria 2
😊 😍
And I jump on my feet and one more baby crawls out of the sand from the spot where I had laid my head and I’m trying to reach my camera while I’n also trying to keep my pareo around my waist and the camera drops on the sand and I am wasting time to clean it and I think that I’m screaming -from baby sea turtle october ikaria 3 impatience, excitement and joy…
😖 😆 😄
And I open the lid of the lens and I finally take three good shots!!!
📷 😤
Bravo, chelonakia!
Bravo, baby sea-turtles!
Thanks for the short crazy momentmy shadow on the sand
I felt you were my own little brats!!!
👶

.

Now in case some of you thought I am some kind of animal enchanter ☺ – according to latest records, loggerhead sea turtles are not uncommon in the eastern Aegean islands, including Ikaria, and that in spite the fact that we don’t have many appropriate sandy beaches. Several friends have seen nests and even witnessed mothers laying eggs.

Sea turtles in the surf, from Nana to agrimi's article '∩oso ∩ια Vα?'Turtle tale, a set by angeloska on FlickrCaretta-caretta eggs in Syrtiko beach near Agios Kyrikos, a set by Giorgos Sourtis on FlickrERT: (article in Greek) 'Και οι καρέτα – καρέτα επισκέπτονται την Ικαρία'

But I think I was the first person on the island that baby Sea turtles in the Aegeansea turtles hatched and crawled out of the sand right under my body!
^^’

Ikaria 22/10/2016

Windbag of Aeolus


.

«Windbag of Aeolus»
«Ο Ασκός του Αιόλου»

.

.

About the documentary, in short

Director, journalist Nasim Alatras You cannot conceive the beauty or the ugliness of this world when you are observing it from a distance. You have to approach, dive into its depths and explore… It is only then that awareness and objectiveness are acquired.

Green growth was introduced to Greece round the early ‘80s, when E.U. directives applied to Greek Government energy policy led to the installation of the first wind farm. Since then the number of wind farms has been increasing at an immense rate. The incentive for this investigation was the observation of wind turbines being inconsiderately dispersed across invaluable regions of the mainland and the islands of Greece, in the name of clean, “green energy”.

The main objective of this documentary is to shed light on the environmental, financial and social consequences of this policy and the aftermath of the so-called “high priority” investments supported by huge subsidies.

Why?

Ikaria with towers and propellers While following this objective numerous questions were raised. Is this energy policy the essence of green growth and if so, could this be considered a truly sustainable form development?

When examining the environmental aspects, one could wonder about the following:

  • Which are the spatial criteria for selection of areas of installation?
  • Under what kind of environmental assessment sites like forests, conservation areas, sites near traditional settlements or historic sites are approved as suitable?
  • Why are those environmental assessments carried out mostly by private companies and not by scientists, and how are their results validated?
  • Which are, if there are any, the obligations of the wind farm owners considering the removal of the turbines and the restoration of the environment and who sees that it is actually carried out?
  • In other words, is this really a strategy or a predatory way of harnessing renewable energy sources? Could green energy under these circumstances ever be actually “green”?

profit Such an obvious lack of strategic planning raises more questions considering the financial aspects of the matter.

  • Whom do these “strategic investments” really serve?
  • Under what legislation is the constitutionally defined meaning of sustainability being annulled, when permits are being issued inconsiderately and subsidies are given out to one-person companies and affiliates of the same key companies in the energy field?
  • Why isn’t there any consideration whatsoever of the actual energy needs of the country?
  • Why aren’t those companies fined when they are not meeting their dept to land owners?
  • Or, why is the ownership status scouted?

Risks & Challenges

No to the giant wind turbine plant on mt Atheras Τhe strength, support and motivation for this 16-month journey of searching, filming and visiting the farthest corners of Greece came from the people of this land, people who have been conveniently silenced. This raises the biggest question of all:

  • Why are all the above taking place while communities around Greece are provided with no official information at all?
  • Why are the views of Municipalities totally disregarded in decision making? Why are their arguments, protests, petitions passed by?
  • Is this really where the birthplace of Democracy ended up to?

As a production team we decided 16 months ago to open the windbag of green growth in Greece and separate the lies from the truth. We did so being fully aware of the risks involved and while knowing well enough the power of the key players in the energy field in Greece…

source

—⊥—⊥—⊥—⊥—⊥—⊥—⊥—⊥—⊥—⊥—⊥—⊥—⊥—⊥—

Ο «Ασκός του Αιόλου» με λίγα λόγια

 

Director, journalist Nasim Alatras Δεν μπορείς να συλλάβεις την ομορφιά ή την ασχήμια αυτού του κόσμου όταν τον παρατηρείς από μακριά. Πρέπει να τον πλησιάσεις, να βουτήξεις μέσα και να τον εξερευνήσεις… Μόνο τότε αποκτάς πλήρη συναίσθηση και αντικειμενικότητα. Ο όρος και η πρακτική εφαρμογή της πράσινης ανάπτυξης εμφανίστηκαν στην Ελλάδα τη δεκαετία του ’80, όταν η ενεργειακή πολιτική των Ελληνικών κυβερνήσεων, καθοδηγούμενη από τις Ευρωπαϊκές οδηγίες, συναίνεσε στη δημιουργία του πρώτου αιολικό πάρκου. Από τότε ο αριθμός τους αυξάνεται με φρενήρη ρυθμό. Η παρουσία πολυάριθμων ανεμογεννητριών που αλόγιστα φυτεύονται στο όνομα της «πράσινης ενέργειας» σε ανεκτίμητες περιοχές της ηπειρωτικής και νησιωτικής Ελλάδας, αποτέλεσε το έναυσμα της έρευνάς μας. Ο κύριος στόχος του ντοκιμαντέρ είναι να φέρει στην επιφάνεια τις πραγματικές περιβαλλοντικές, οικονομικές και κοινωνικές συνέπειες της εφαρμογής αυτής της πολιτικής και τις «παρενέργειες» τον αποκαλούμενων «στρατηγικών επενδύσεων» που επιδοτούνται αδρά.

Γιατί;

Ikaria with towers and propellers Ακολουθώντας το στόχο αυτό γεννήθηκαν πολυάριθμα ερωτήματα. Αυτή είναι τελικά η ουσία της πράσινης ανάπτυξης και αν ναι, υπό ποία έννοια χαρακτηρίζονται βιώσιμες οι εφαρμογές τέτοιων πρακτικών; Σε ότι αφορά το περιβάλλον ορισμένα μόνο από τα βασικά ερωτήματα  που προκύπτουν είναι τα εξής:

  • Ποια είναι επιτέλους τα χωροταξικά κριτήρια επιλογής των περιοχών εγκατάστασης;
  • Τι είδους και πόσης αξιοπιστίας περιβαλλοντικές μελέτες «επιστημονικά» συναινούν στην επιλογή δασών, προστατευόμενων περιοχών NATURA, σημείων σε απόσταση αναπνοής από παραδοσιακούς οικισμούς και κατοικημένες περιοχές ή ιστορικούς χώρους, ως περιοχών κατάλληλων για εγκατάσταση;
  • Γιατί αυτές οι περιβαλλοντικές μελέτες, που συνοδεύουν τις αιτήσεις αδειοδότησης, πραγματοποιούνται κυρίως από ιδιωτικές εταιρείες και όχι από το άρτια καταρτισμένο επιστημονικό προσωπικό των Πανεπιστημίων της χώρας και με ποιον τρόπο ή από ποιο φορέα ελέγχεται η αξιοπιστία των αποτελεσμάτων τους;
  • Ποιες είναι οι υποχρεώσεις των ιδιοκτητών αιολικών πάρκων σε σχέση με την απομάκρυνση των ανεμογεννητριών μετά το τέλος της λειτουργικής περιόδου τους και την αποκατάσταση του περιβάλλοντος;
  • Ποιος ελέγχει ότι εργασίες αποκατάστασης όντως πραγματοποιούνται;
  • Με άλλα λόγια, είναι αυτό στρατηγική και σχέδιο ανάπτυξης, ή απλά ένας ληστρικός τρόπος εκμετάλλευση κοινωνικών αγαθών όπως ο αέρας, το νερό και ο ήλιος;
  • Πως θα μπορούσε ποτέ η “πράσινη ενέργεια” να είναι υπό αυτές τις συνθήκες πραγματικά «πράσινη»;

profit Η προφανέστατη έλλειψη στρατηγικού σχεδιασμού λοιπόν, δεν μπορούσε παρά να γεννήσει ακόμα περισσότερα ερωτήματα, ειδικά σε σχέση με το οικονομικό καθεστώς που επικρατεί στις «επενδύσεις» αυτές.

  • Ποιόν εξυπηρετούν στην πραγματικότητα αυτές οι «στρατηγικές επενδύσεις»;
  • Υπό ποια νομοθεσία καταργείται στην ουσία η συνταγματικά κατοχυρωμένη έννοια της βιωσιμότητας με την αδιάκριτη έγκριση αδειών και την συνεχή παροχή επιδοτήσεων σε εταιρείες του ενός ατόμου, ή σε θυγατρικές των ίδιων βασικών παικτών στον τομέα της ενέργειας, εγχώριων και ξένων;
  • Γιατί παραβλέπονται και αποτελούν δευτερεύον κριτήριο οι πραγματικές ενεργειακές ανάγκες της χώρας;
  • Υπάρχει κάποιος μηχανισμός προστασίας των ιδιοκτητών γης όταν δεν λαμβάνουν τα συμφωνηθέντα από τις εταιρείες για την ενοικίαση της γης τους;
  • ‘Η, για ποιόν ακριβώς λόγο το ιδιοκτησιακό καθεστώς περιοχών απαξιώνεται και αλλάζει εν μια νυκτί;

Προκλήσεις

No to the giant wind turbine plant on mt Atheras Η  δύναμη για αυτό το 16μηνο ταξίδι μας προήλθε από τους ανθρώπους της χώρας αυτής που αποτέλεσαν και το ισχυρότερο κίνητρο, γιατί έχουν πολύ βολικά και επιμελέστατα αποσιωπηθεί. Και αυτή ακριβώς η παράμετρος γεννά το μεγαλύτερο ερώτημα από όλα:

  • Γιατί όλα τα παραπάνω συμβαίνουν ενώ οι Δήμοι και οι τοπικές κοινωνίες δεν λαμβάνουν απολύτως κανενός είδους επίσημη πληροφόρηση;
  • Γιατί οι απόψεις των Δημοτικών Συμβουλίων απαξιώνονται και παραβλέπονται κατά την λήψη των αποφάσεων;
  • Γιατί οι διαμαρτυρίες, οι φωνές των ανθρώπων αυτών αποσιωπούνται;
  • Εδώ κατέληξε τελικά η γενέτειρα της Δημοκρατίας;

Ως ομάδα παραγωγής αποφασίσαμε πριν 16 μήνες να ανοίξουμε τον Ασκό της πράσινης ανάπτυξης στην Ελλάδα και να ξεχωρίσουμε τα ψέματα από την αλήθεια. Το κάναμε έχοντας πλήρη συναίσθηση των κινδύνων που ελλοχεύουν και γνωρίζοντας πολύ καλά τη δύναμη των μεγάλων παικτών στον τομέα της ενέργειας στη χώρα…

source
.

____________________________________________________

.

 .Thursday December 1, 2016 - 10:37pm (EEST)


‘The Hiking Trails of Ikaria’ – illustrated interview by OPS Ikarias


.
.

.

In life it's not where you go but who you you travel withHello readers! 

You know that my blog likes interviews and this one… well, it’s a good one because it’s like a documentary! I mean that you can just stare at the photos (loads of them) streaming over the questions and answers, only that I thought that the context was interesting too, so I got into the trouble to translate the whole thing in English and then I sent it over to be added as subtitles to the video on youtube. Which video is an illustrated version of an interview to my good Ikarian friend, Angelos K., founding member and representative of the Mountain Climbing and Hiking Association of Ikaria (OPS Ikarias), by Babis Kokosis for «The Hiking Trails of Greece» a regular radio show on «The Voice of Greece», the international Greek state Radio (ERA 5). Unlike what you might have expected, the pictures do not show landscapes and trails and maps and stuff like that but people!
As the introduction goes:

«The photos showing in this video made by OPS Ikarias were taken along our various hiking trips and many other activities in the nature of Ikaria from 2008 to 2016. They are a tribute to our older and newer friends and members of the Club who walk and enjoy the island’s fascinating landscapes and take part in the club’s projects and activities. They are our inspiration and our one and only support. This video is dedicated to them!»

.

.
.
***Find button to turn on "subtitles". Seen best in full screen mode!
.

.

You can read my translation of Angelos’s radio interview by opening this link to OPS Ikarias Google docs. The interviewer introduces the show like this:

«Today we will visit Ikaria, an island that has managed, in spite of the growing tourist development, to maintain a big part of its cultural traditions.
The natural particularities of Ikaria are many. They are shaped by the geographical features and the position of the island in the Aegean Sea. Ikaria consists of a long mountainous mass stretching from east to west forming a ridge with heights over 1000 m. and separating the island in two sides: the northern side with mild slopes, forestlands and abundant waters, and the southern side with stony grounds and steep slopes. Therefore, it displays an impressive variety of landscapes and natural sights which the visitor can discover by following its numerous trails while getting in touch with its history and the legendary particular way of life of its inhabitants.
Let’s find out a bit more about the hiking routes of the island as well as what a hiker may encounter in them through our talk with Mr. Angelos Kalokairinos, representative of the local Hiking Club.»

read more...

And if you are a Greek reader you can check out the original transcript in this link.

The video, seen best in full screen mode, it goes without saying, includes a selection of pictures from the Flickr Album: «Mountain Climbing and Hiking Club of Ikaria».  I have exercised my influence 🙂 and gotten a specially coded link so you can see all the pictures -not only the public ones. So take advantage of this privilege and enjoy an amazing slideshow! But if you just like a quick view, here is the album straight out of Flickr:

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

.

Mountain Climbing & Hiking Club of Ikaria, a set on Flickr

.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐


Eleni Ik

https://www.561media.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/heart.png 

.

Ikaria, May 14 2016
[BIG DAY!]

.


What I blogged about in 2015


.
My blog posts about Ikaria in 2015
.hope for 2016

Happy New Year, my friends!


Google Image Search for Eleni's blog in 2015
The same as last year it’s again time to review for you my blog posts of 2015. I wasn’t counting but now I can see they were actually twelve, one for every month! If you are too lazy to scroll, you can just click on the image on the left and you will be directed to Google Image Search to see a gallery of random pics from my posts of 2016. But if you like things to come one after the other, go ahead and scroll below my gaping mouth 🙂 I have set my posts in order of appearance: a book, two maps, a guiding woman, a group of friends, a cook, a craftsman and a crazy girl, a food gathering man, a survival manual, yoga in the wild, hikers in the wild, my river and me, mushrooms, and finally, amazing landscapes in winter. I hope 2016 will be as rich with good subjects as 2015. I hope,..

My photos in FlickrI am in Ikaria now and it feels like in a lifeboat: heading for the unknown but safe and calm.

love

 

.
Presenting Ikaria Guidebook, an honest, careful and responsible piece of work based on long field research. The texts are to the point without unneeded literature and the maps are bold, nicely colored, clear and helpful. But the best thing about this Guidebook is the emphasis on hiking!

Ikaria Guidebook !!! 😎

.
Presenting the Google map of a circular hike in the Forest of Radi which lies between the village of Petropouli in Messaria and the village of Frantato in Perameria as created by the Mountain Climbing and Hiking Club of Ikaria and the Google map of several hikes in Ikaria, especially the one in Chalares canyon, created by our Czech friend Zdeněk who visited our island with his girlfriend Petra.

Two big hikes Google mapped! ^^’

.
Presenting our friend Xenia and her work as bee-keeper and mountain tour guide in Ikaria

Xenia, the Ikarian mountain guide ❤

.
My friends Angelos, Xenia, Lefteris, Lina and Giorgos, all of them well-educated and experienced local guides, joined their forces and formed a collective. They are opening an agency of mountain tour guiding in Armenistis, the main tourist town of Ikaria.

KANGA! ツ ツ ツ ツ ツ ⭐

.
Presenting three irrelevent events which happened at the same time: 1) Jamie Oliver's visit, 2) Beautiful polished and painted pebbles on sale, and ... 3) Girls who do headstands in wild places!

food, pebbles and headstands 😉

.
Presenting a translated interview with Lefteris who, besides being a partner in KANGA, is a modern food gatherer, specializing in samphire. He has been gathering this tasty and nutritious wild plant which is very abundant at the rocky shores of Ikaria, since he moved to the island nine years ago.

Gathering samphire at the brink of the waves ^^’

.
Presenting a translation of a groundbreaking article issued by the local municipal party 'ASPI' pointing out the the basic facts and oddities a young visitor should know about our strange island during the high tourist season. Excellent!

Ikaria in August – Instructions for Use 😎

.
A new tradition is born! Yoga and other health and fitness exercises on the mountains and beaches of Ikaria!

These Mountains are for Yoga! 🙂

.
One more post on my favorite subject of dramatic Ikarian landscapes. This time there are tiny people in them too!

Large views – Small people ⭐

.
Flashback to 2003 when we discovered Chalares canyon in Ikaria. What happened then and what happened afterwards.

≅ river 2003 ≅ ❤

.
Presenting a group hike with the Hiking Club of Ikaria inside a wooded mountain ravine, looking for mushrooms and learning their names, getting to know their qualities and the big part they play in the eco-system. I am sharing this post because, like many Ikarians, I love mushrooms.

Mushrooms! 😀

.
My friend Angelos contributes to my blog with a great article presenting 36 amazing black and white photos taken in the rocky landscapes of Pezi by an American writer and photographer during the winter.

Thick with the eerie awe of the uncanny 😮

.
.
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
.
.

Mushrooms!



Hello friends! 🙂 🙂 🙂
This is a reblog from the OPS Ikarias blog about their recent
 
Parasol mushroom (Lepiota proсеrа)a guided group hike inside a wooded mountain ravine, looking for mushrooms and learning their names, getting to know their qualities and the big part they play in the eco-system. I am sharing this post because, like many Ikarians, I love mushrooms. I like to look for them, I like to pick them, to eat them, to talk about them, to take pictures of them -like for example, that unforgettable x-large «Parasol mushroom» (lat. «Lepiota proсеrа») from 2005 which I have picked as an introductory image. My dear readers, through the following set of pictures I hope that you will get a bit of the taste, if not of mushrooms themselves, of the magical places where mushrooms like to grow, a bit of the taste of the well-known, yet always unexplored, natural places of my island. Enjoy! ^^’
.
All pictures open in the source. Move over your mouse to read titles and descrpitions.
Mountain Climbing and Hiking Club of Ikaria
© all rights reserved

 

Amanita vaginata The woods and the river inside the ravine of Myrsonas in Ikaria Large old terraces as we go deeper and deeper in the ravine It's a fine sunny morning in Vathes, Rahes Ikaria

 

Lepista nuda Scleroderma polyrhizum Amanita sp. Hard to identify. Probably Lycoperdon (L. pyriforme) Mother and daughter examining the harvest The teacher is waiting for the students with a mushroom in his hand Laccaria laccata Amanita phalloides - Deadly! Laccaria laccata Marianna, one of the two photographers of the group Rotten and unidentifiable The pine forest on the banks of Myrsonas Crossing the stream of the river Detail of the stonewall inside an old house inside a 'lost village' the teacher is giving a lecture about mushroomsthe inside of an old house inside the 'lost village'Maya, the youngest member of the Club
Tricholoma acerbum - not edible Mushrooms inside the basket: Lepista nuda, Lepista flacida, Lactarius sanguifluus, L. deliciosus, Tricholoma caligatum. Leccnellum lepidum, Suillus collinitus, Suillus bellinii, Cantharellus cibarius, Agaricus sp. Russula delica the 'square' of the 'lost village' in the mountains tiny barn to keep a goat

 

Our baskets, bags and gear on the old stone where the people of the 'lost village' used to crush olives for their oil The teacher and the group talking about old things, nature and... mushrooms! one more of the houses of the 'lost village' in the mountains the place inside the old house where they grinded grain to make bread
One more of the old houses under ancient holm oaks ruins of ancient beehives made of clay The dogs are looking for mushrooms too! The teacher explains something about a mushroom

 

Difficult to identify Russula sp. Amanita Pantherina - Toxic, deadly! Gymnopilus junonius The teacher is taking down notes about a mushroom Teacher and children happy on the way back

Now watch the photos in slideshow!
That’s all from me!

Note: If you like to get in touch with the OPS Ikarians, besides  their blog,
you may join the following facebook groups
:

animated mushroom


~ ❤ ~



≅ river 2003 ≅


.
.
.

aqua1006 (msaz) - Ikaria 2003 Seeing pictures of those new girls as they went around and posed proudly in the wild nature of Ikaria last summer, I said: «Hey, young ladies! We were there long before you!» Not that -goes without saying- we were the first. We don’t claim a title which righteously belongs to the hippies. But we were the first who took photos and shared them with the world. Retracting my memories, I had even made a drafty webpage in 2004 where I described the magic of one of those places -the best in my opinion in the whole island. «Hike Chalares, canyon of my heart», was the title, if I am not mistaken. I had received critisism for that page, critisism of the kind, «You shouldn’t give out secrets» and so on. But I was sure of my step. Wonders of nature shouldn’t be kept secret. The same goes for «pockets of freedom», they shouldn’t be kept secret either. But this is not the issue today. The issue today is that, twelve years after that day of September when we walked up bravely for almost the whole length of that river, today that I am not as young and posy as I was in 2003, I am sharing again with the world some of the material stored in the poor memory card of our obsolete Casio Exilim which could contain no more than 20 hi-res shots. But first let me review a few stories about the river – the scenery where these shots where taken.
♦ ♦ ♦  As I said, in 2003 we visited the canyon to survey the location and take photos. Besides sport and fun, our purpose was to a evaluate: «Was it as beautiful as they said? And if so, what kind of threats to the environment were there?».
♦ ♦ ♦  Having proven that Chalares was an amazing place, having shown that inspite it was September, there was plenty of water and the vegetation was lush, having warned that the sides of the hills were infested by disastrous free-grazing goats, I suggested that a hiking trail was created in order to put in value the beauty of the canyon and hopefully promote its protection.
♦ ♦ ♦  My appeal was heard and in 2005 a large trail network spread in the area. In addition, the large river pool which appears in the photos below was chosen for a very interesting experiment: the construction of a small environment-friendly semipermeable dam, meant to slow down the flow of the river and give new strengh to the vegetation.
♦ ♦ ♦  But though in the coming years the canyon got to be more and more known, visited and enjoyed, the main threat to its environment was not treated.
Unfortunately the goats were always there. As a matter of fact, for reasons that don’t concern this review, there were even more! As a result, exactly five years ago, in October 18, 2010, when a torrential rainfall hit the western part of the island, the overgrazed, barren and unstable sides of the lower part of the canyon collapsed. Tons of earth and rocks were carried by the water smashing the trees  and wiping out all vegetation, leveling the lakes, transforming what used to be a detailed natural handiwork into a flat highway of gravel and sand.
Today is the black anniversary of that disaster. For older girls like me it is a bitter reminder that it takes much more things than just good intentions for paradise to happen. For younger girls I hope it is a lesson to be learned, I am afraid, only through experience. I am spreading my winds (which have started to turn grey) over their pretty heads and I am dedicating to them seven pictures from that blissful day of 2003 in the river when it was rich, when it was green, when it was mine. For better or worse it’s their turn now.
The following photos were heavily processed using different methods in different periods of time. In this entry, as they always should, they appear their real «order taken», which is «in order of feelings»: curiosity, worry, happiness, pride, relaxed bliss, anxiety, humility. Their titles in Flickr are different but if you move your mouse over each picture, you will be able to know which is which.
That’s all. Let the old show begin again! ^^’

.

curiosity

.

worry

.

happiness

.

pride

.

relaxed bliss

.

anxiety

.

humility

.


Copyright © Eleni Ikanou