Tag Archives: santorini sunset

Caldera views ~ a day in the life of a cave dweller…

Among the many ‘strange/odd’  questions I get asked by readers….is whether I ever get sick of the view. Whether it becomes ho-hum, whether it gets boring looking at the same thing on a daily basis.

So… for the benefit of those that have never been to this Santorini and/or have never gazed out over the caldera for any length of time… I thought I would let you into a secret.

“It never get’s boring…. because it’s never the same”. Certainly not the same from day to day, or even hour to hour… depending on the time of year, time of day, weather and even the very spot you sit to look out on this wonder of the world.

I could write pages and pages on this… but figured it’s probably best to let some images speak for themselves. Let’s look at some boats, of all sizes, that typically sail past the house. The following four photos were all taken on the same day… the first three being early morning, all within 30 minutes of one another:

 

 first up was my favorite cruise ship… the mighty Princess, probably one of the largest ships around… almost totally silent as she glides in at daybreak !

 

then… even more quietly, the sublime site of one of the sailing cruise ships that frequent the island. To see this just after sunrise… in the full glow of the early morning sun, is one of life’s exquisite little pleasures.

All this… in less time than it takes me to finish my cup of coffee.

ten minutes later… a young couple (as seen through the binoculars) were sailing
past, probably heading to another island. Just a tiny white spec on the magnificent blue of the deep caldera below me.

All this was just as the island was waking up. The parade is endless during peak summer… with dozens of boats/ships making their way in and out. The light changes… therefore the water color changes and if there is a hint of a light breeze, there are magnificent paintings that appear on the blue surface. It is a living canvas thats constantly changing… always capturing your glance, becoming ingrained in your mind for ever.

And then… then there is sunset. If there is a better somewhere on this planet I’d like to hear about it…

this is a sunset image of the caldera for me… nightly. This is one of at least half a dozen old sailing ships that do the sunset/twilight cruises… offering the most incredible images to those of us lucky enough to watch them from above…

So… to those of you  wondering, the short answer is NO… I do not get sick
of the view ; )

Happy summer to you… or warm winter if you’re down under !

M

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OMG moments !!!

I have said many times that “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take…but the number of moments that take our breath away”. An OMG-moment is one of those moments. When a variety of things align in a way that produces the inner-WOW in our brain. When our eyes capture images that the brain finds hard to believe. My little village & this island in general, has a habit of giving me these OMG-moments. It kind of feels like it walks up behind you, when you least expect it and taps you on the shoulder saying “hey you… you think you’ve seen it all huh? well have a look at this….” !

And then… the very next morning I woke up, made a coffee… walked out to the veranda and saw this:

The ship entering the caldera is the Westerdam… a frequent visitor to our island and a beautiful ship to watch as it glides past (believe it or not there is a huge difference watching the various large cruisers as they sail past the house… not just in noise levels but also sheer presence on the water). The Westerdam is a “very” elegant lady and almost totally silent. On this particular morning the water was like glass… as this magnificent ship entered what must be the best natural port for large ships anywhere in the world (certainly the most spectacular views offered to passengers). The view sailing past Oia at sunrise…for those passengers smart enough to be awake for it… must be magical. I could clearly see flashes going off just I was taking photos of the ship… so at least a number of them were awake to witness this amazing visual feast.

It was an incredibly privileged experience to be a witness to these different…but equally mesmerising moments in time on the island that seems to make a habit of offering these OMG moments to me.

Hope you enjoyed the images as much as I enjoyed capturing them ~

PS: On both occasions I had to use the iPhone to capture the images…just imagine what they would look like with my normal cam… but alas, my trusted Pentax is broken (if you know of a Pentax executive out there… or a marketing exec from another quality camera brand… let me just say that this is a good cross-promotional opportunity for them ).  Nuff said ;-)

the magic of sunsets !

Sunsets are like snowflakes…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

the coolverse

Neil Diamond

” Shilo”

Autumn sunset fantasia

This post was started yesterday and was going to look quite different. You see… as we always do after stormy weather, we went collecting driftwood. It’s amazing what we find on the western side of the island after storms… some of the driftwood is like work of art. As always we went early morning on Sunday. This post was going to be all about that…

Searching for driftwood…

Alessi shoots the shooter !

But then… this evening (Monday), as I was writing this post – using the driftwood pics from Sunday – I was told to “look outside…quick”.

I did…… & this is what I saw !

these are real colours…


bit more to the right to take the fort (blog column not wide enough)

only so much you can do with the little Pentax… but the close up looks dreamy,
don’t you think?

***************

PS: For the unidentified commenter “One of your readers”…. in answer to your question,  I would love to know why you would want to submit an essay but not want to win.

PPS: To all those who thought I was being harsh towards the procrastinators…you’re wrong. I’m guilty of it myself, so I can hardly chastise others. However…I still believe it is a debilitating condition and I suspect it robbed some people of  an opportunity to  be in the contest with a chance of winning. Big topic this one…perhaps a separate post !

PPS: More essays on Wednesday & the “Living with purpose” post still needs work ;-)

ALSO… if you haven’t seen them already, there are more “Respect” photos on the page… hope you can take a look and leave a comment for those who took time to try and make a difference in this world. If you happen to live in a large city (NYC, London) or anywhere for that matter… I would LOVE to see some “Respect” photos from you.

Letter to Neil Diamond !

Hi Neil,

been meaning to write you for a while but things keep getting in the way. You don’t know me but our lives have crossed paths a couple of times in the past. 

It all started back in early 70’s when “Hot August Night” hit the top of the charts in Australia and stayed there for what seemed an eternity.
I remember listening to all the tracks on the radio and like millions of people around the world, memorising the lyrics of most songs. 

Several years after you released the album you toured Australia and in Melbourne you played at the Myer Music Bowl… a park/garden setting that must have reminded you a lot of the Greek theatre in Los Angeles (you even acknowledged the “tree people” just as you did on the live album).
I worked at the concert that night and was lucky enough to be virtually under the stage for most of it… listening, watching the performance and observing the audience react. It was a very interesting night for me. It was the first time I witnessed the emotional power of a great performer.

I stood in the dark on the side, below the stage. I watched the anticipation on people’s faces and then I watched them being taken away… to wherever you wanted to take them. I saw them being lost in the moment… most of them not believing they were even there in person watching you sing. Then… at some stage during the concert you started to sing “Canta Libre”. Everyone was mesmerised. At the very start of the song I watched you play your guitar as you sang… your eyes tight shut. You could’ve heard a pin drop. You got further into the song and the emotion was building and building. I slowly turned to look at the audience… an incredible sight. There were grown men with tears in their eyes. Women with their hands over their mouths… eyes wide shut, watching and dreaming at the same time. You sang on…

“I got music runnin’ in my brain,
Ev’ry song with it’s own kind of meaning…”

 

You had them in the palm of your hand Neil… every last one of them.

Many years later (just before Christmas) I went to the toy store at the top of Beverly Drive in LA. It was a regular stop for me on every trip. Their “Ty” fluffy stuffed toys had become a huge hit with my girls back home and they eagerly awaited new additions to their collections every time I returned from my trips. That day I had seen the latest addition to the “Ty” teddy bear collection… a bright magenta/purple teddy which I knew would be a big hit with the girls. I looked at it and put it down on an empty part of the shelf, along with 3-4 other teddies I had chosen. I headed to the back of the store to look for a couple of toys for my son when you walked in with your friend/relative… an older, shorter gentleman. I have to tell you that the beard and hat didn’t do a very good job in disguising you. Anyway…I kept searching and you two started looking at the fluffy stuffed toys. Before long I looked up again and you had the purple teddy in your hands, holding it for minutes. Can’t tell you how disappointed I was. I couldn’t believe that of all the toys in the store you had to choose that one. I was kicking myself for not leaving my chosen toys at the sales counter instead of the shelf.

Bitterly disappointed I kept looking around when I noticed that you two were also coming to the back of the store to look for more toys. You had put the teddy on a different shelf… along with a couple of other things you had chosen. I guess we both made the same mistake that day. I walked up and took it off the shelf, along with all the other toys I had initially chosen and put it on the counter. The outrageously fem, red-headed male shop assistant looked at me and shook his head.

“Soooorrryyy… that one belongs to Mr Diamond”.

“But I had it before he did… I had it there with other toys I had chosen”.

“Maybe… but he didn’t know that and he chose it”.

“Yes… but he didn’t take it with him… he left it back on the shelf”.

“He is coming back for it”.

Needless to say I was extremely pissed off with “Precious” by this stage….

“What’s your name?”

“Tom” (it was probably something else… I honestly can’t remember)

“Tom… Mr Diamond is a gentleman, he really won’t mind if I took this teddy. On the other hand I am not. I will get very angry and… you won’t like me when I’m angry Tom”.

 

Sorry Neil. I like you…respect you, but I just had to have it man. I didn’t play fair I know… but you live in LA and you could always go back for another. I couldn’t… 

Years have gone by since then. Your music has touched many many millions of people in so many different ways. Everyone has a song, a lyric that takes them back to a place… a moment in time. It must be an incredible feeling to know that your words and music have been a part of the lives of so many people in this world. I still can’t listen to Canta Libre without remembering that night in Melbourne. I can’t listen to Solitary Man, Red Red Wine and especially Shilo without a myriad of thoughts running through my head… they all mean a lot even now. For people of a couple of generations at least, your music is part of the soundtrack of our lives.

Which brings me to the point of this letter… I’ve never been one for nostalgic sequels, but I was looking at a venue the other day here on Santorini and I was thinking “what performer would this venue be perfect for?’

On the night that “Hot August Night” was recorded you described the  Greek theatre in LA as the “place where performers go when they die… a performer’s paradise”. On that night you promised people that it was going to be “special”… and it was.

But I think I have found a venue that’s a whole lot better Neil… a real Greek theatre, with all the drama, the magic and mystique you can possibly imagine. Just think of it… an audience from all over the world gathering around sunset. Not just any sunset mind you… the mid-August sunset on Santorini. The grandest sunset of all. With the volcano as a backdrop, the last rays of the red sun reflecting on the deep blue waters of the caldera just as the music begins…everyone knowing that something magical is about to happen. We’re not talking about a concert… we’re talking about a once in a lifetime experience.

Now…call me crazy, but I have a feeling that reading this little blog is probably not in your top 10 “must do” things every week. It should be… but I’m guessing that it’s not. So I’m counting on the “Kevin Bacon effect”. Six degrees of separation. Someone who knows someone who knows someone… somehow reads this and comes and whispers in your ear. 

Let’s hope “that” someone is out there and this letter somehow gets to you. If it does… I hope you think about. Think about the place and the concept. Don’t worry about the details… I’ll take care of those, it’s what I do.

Best from Oia !

Michael

 

PS: Sorry about the teddy bear ;-) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spirit of Oia – a Sunset to remember !

In Oia, on most evenings, something magical happens. People are happy…very very happy. Some come early, some come at the last minute… but all of them have a certain expression on their face. It’s like watching kids about to see a magic show. They come, they take their seats and they wait….

They come as couples mainly, but also as friends, as groups (small and large), or as families. They come from all over the world and its quite special to hear smiling faces speaking in all kinds of languages to each other. Its HAPPY hour in Oia, Santorini. Its “s u n s e t” time.

Since I promised you sunset magic I have gone out a couple of times to take photos. The sunset gods have not been kind, but magic still happens in Oia… even if the weather is not perfect.

As usual the sun-setters are in position early…waiting, chatting and taking photos.

s1

What a lot of them don’t realise is that the best way to get great photos in Oia is by moving around. It’s a moving picture show and unless you move around you’ll miss some magic shots… like this:

s2

On hazy days the light changes constantly… and the boats (as always) move around trying to get the best views for their passengers. Half the fun is trying to capture “the” shot…. if you’re there for the photos that is and not everyone is there for great photos. Most are there to share a great experience.

My theory on the fundamental need, we have as humans, to share an experience gives rise to many types of “why” questions. We humans are not just social animals. We are pack animals. We live in large cities together and we like to go to places where there are lots of others sharing the same experience with us. Not always of course…as you will see soon !

Sunset time in Oia is special for many reasons. It’s not just the view… as fantastic as it is. It’s the whole atmosphere around you. It’s the architecture, the topography, the people from all over the world around you and the “spirit” of the village. A multi-sensory torrent. Its a total immersion of sorts.

Did you know that humans have more muscles in their face, used for expression, than any other animal? Up to five main muscles and on occasion up to ten more. All used for expression. Useless information…I know, and I can only assume that not all of these are used to express pleasure… but let me tell you that the “pleasure muscles” work overtime at sunset…. I mean that in the cleanest possible way of course ;-)  

So visitors sit and wait…they chat, they drink, they dine or just cuddle – and they take looooots of photos. That’s because there is a lot to take photos of and the scene changes as the night progresses.

s3

 

The sunset viewing side of Oia gets filled with visitors during peak season. They sit on roof tops, steps, hotel balconies and of course the old Kastro (fort). They sit and wait for the show to start… anticipation growing.

 

ships1

Other than the position of the sun the first sign that the show is about to start is the sailing ships below. Full of people…they cruise out for a closer glimpse then double back (depending on the weather) to allow their passengers to watch the sunset from inside the caldera.

 

ships2 
Watching these old ships down below in the small bay of Ammoudi gives you a feeling you’re watching a live pirate movie. It just adds to the sense of magic of the place and makes the whole experience almost surreal.

But of course… its not just the old sailing ships that come out at sunset. Almost any captain of a ship/yacht/cruise liner tries to time arrival into Santorini at sunset. They all want to give their passengers a look at one of most spectacular sights in the world…. a Santorini sunset.

s7

Obviously the timing of this particular captain of a privately owned (large, old-style yacht) was impeccable.  Just imagine the thrill of the guests on-board…. arriving in Santorini just as the sun was hugging the horizon. Probably not even aware that they themselves were adding to the magic of the show for all those high on the cliff.

 

s14

The haze didn’t allow one of the great sunsets for all those viewing on the night… but the atmosphere of the village never fails to capture the imagination of the visitors. They will talk about for years, show their photos and talk of watching the sunset at Oia. They will applaud and they will talk to the people around them. Some will kiss, cuddle or hold hands as they watch. Some will make plans to come back, others will not want to leave.

But there are also some that didn’t want to be with the crowd. They wanted to be alone….wanted to share only with each other.

s9

High romance…high on the cliffs of Oia.

Now THAT my friends, in my humble opinion, is the way to watch and remember an Oia sunset !

 

Oia Santorini… some enchanted evening

This week is all about Oia.

I will show you views, architecture, restaurants, shops, alleys & steps, doors, colour and people…. lots of people. Oia is alive once again and I think it’s time we had a closer look at her and her enchanting magic.

First up I wanted to show you what happened below the house as I sat out the front last night. It was an unusual night… the weather playing games with us and the rolling clouds creating some fantastic images. It was June 21st … the longest day of the year. The light was changing every ten minutes and down below me…well, all kinds of things were happening. Let’s take a look together:

 

let it be

First…”Let it be” arrived. It’s a private yacht that visits often and docks at Armeni…a tiny port below us.

 

clouds1

Then the clouds started to roll in… but the caldera below was already a hive of activity.

 

imerovigli2

I looked to my left and saw Imerovigli almost covered in rolling cloud…
 

sail2

the first of the sail boats had picked up it’s load of sunsetters and was heading out to the middle…
all on board with cameras in hand.

 

sail5

Soon there were all kinds of boats trying to get the best position for sunset watching…

 

imerovigliglow

and as the sun was setting Imerovigli was glowing under the cloud.

 

alisson

I went in to get my small tripod for night shots and when I came back out I found Allison like this…
I think she was enjoying the view!

 

sail6

After the sun sank gently into the Aegean, the sunset boats started heading back to port…

 

shipsleaving

and the larger ships paraded in front of us… heading towards other Greek island magic.

 

All this happened within an hour and a half. The clouds added a special touch to the whole experience… and the sun-setters were happy. They were sailing off and their cameras were blinking like Christmas lights from the boats below. Another enchanting evening in Oia…. another set of experiences for hundreds of people that will be talking about this sunset for years to come. Santorini weaving it’s magic yet again…