Residents and visitors to the Cycladic Islands in Greece woke up to a dramatic sight on Friday morning, as dense fog, called “sea smoke,” blanketed the islands.
The phenomenon occurs when very cold air moves over very warm water. Often, the sea smoke forms when very cold air mixes with a small amount of warm air above even warmer water.
The warm air then cools until it can no longer hold water vapor, which causes condensation and the formation of the fog. It is very similar to when steam rises over a hot drink or bathtub.
Sea smoke rare in Greece, commonly found at higher latitudes
Sea smoke is quite a dramatic sight, as it can often form columns that spiral in the air. Despite this, most ships can actually see over the fog, as it usually does not reach too high in the air.
Sea smoke columns measuring 100 feet (30m) have been recorded, however, and such heights can cause reduced visibility for sailors and airplane pilots.
While not a rare phenomenon, sea smoke is often not found in temperate climates, as it requires very cold air. It is most commonly observed in the Arctic, Antarctic and along the shores of the Northern Atlantic.
The Cycladic Islands
The iconic beauty of the Cycladic islands is well known: Stone-paved alleys, whitewashed churches with cobalt blue domes, picturesque white houses and gorgeous sandy beaches where the blue of the sky reflects majestically in the clear waters.
The view of the sunset from Oia in Santorini, a dive in the deep waters of Amorgos, where the movie “The Big Blue” was shot, the Red Sand Beach in Santorini that looks like a landscape on Mars, a wild party at Cavo Paradiso Club with a famous DJ on Mykonos, the ancient Temple of Apollo on Delos… these are some of the experiences that one person must have at least once in their lives.
The Cyclades are not only Mykonos and Santorini. There’s also Amorgos, Naxos, Syros and the picturesque “little ones” like Koufonissia, Irakleia, or Donousa, with quiet, beautiful beaches for truly romantic settings.
The food in the Cyclades is also delicious, of course. The San Mihali cheese of Syros or the Naxos version of gruyere are world famous. The fava in Santorini is a unique local delicacy and so are the mouthwatering fried tomato balls. Mykonos has great sausages, while the xynotyri (sour cheese) of Ios is not to be missed.
Also, the great thing about the Cyclades group of islands is that there are 33 of them, all worth exploring. There is Paros, Milos, Sifnos, Serifos, Antiparos, Sikinos, Andros, Kythnos, Kea and the list goes up to double figures.