Idiokthsia – a “proto-island”

After the long day island hopping in the bay of Naoussa, Johannes and I decided to, before we ran out of sunlight, check out one more interesting spot nearby on Paros. Johannes had been to this peninsula about 10 years earlier and it was then, and is still now, only connected to Paros by an ever-shrinking sandbar. It will be the next of Paros’ islands and with sea levels rising the way they are, it’ll almost definitely happen soon.

IMG_1993Here you can see the sand bar already with swails of water half-crossing in places. The maximum elevation of this sandbar is centimeters above sea level. Water had actually formed a bit of a moat in front of the gate onto the island.IMG_1994Luckily we were able to get around the moat, hop under the goat fence, and get onto the island (not a very effective fence).

Our goal for the trip was to quickly survey the island to see what reptiles were living there. We had some guesses, but we needed to actually test them with a survey, so Johannes and I spent the next 3 hours until sundown flipping rocks. All in all, we found 2 species of geckos, signs of a larger lizard in the genus Agama and absolutely no Podarcis (not a surprise as Paros itself is Podarcis-free). I was a little disappointed not to find my friend the sand boa, but perhaps another time. The island was also seemingly terrific viper habitat so each rock flip came with a little flutter of anticipation.

IMG_1999In all the island was beautiful. Good vegetation and lots of rocks. I suspect there are a few more reptile species hanging out there that just need a second good survey to uncover. Johannes was even more enthusiastic about the floral diversity though. I wish I knew more about the plants of Greece but here’s a particularly lovely specimen:

IMG_1997Any guesses on species? Or even family for that matter.

Well, much to our surprise, as we were leaving the island the (pitifully small) tides of the Mediterranean had risen those crucial few centimeters turning the sandbar swails of before into full-blown 3 inch deep streamlets! In that little time of rock flipping, Idiokthsia had turned from proto-island to true island! We took off our boots and splashed across the few fully realized rivulets back to Paros, the mother island still holding on to fledgling Idiokthsia.

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