Location: Aeolian Islands ( Isole Eolie), Tyrrhenian sea ( Italy)
The Crew: Fabio, Fede, Giulia, Pol, Balmo, Rom
The trip: Capo d’Orlando, Panarea, Stromboli, Filicudi, Salina, Vulcano
Boat: Bali 4.1
Total distance: 140 nm
After a supper crazy and long drive from Switzerland to Sicily I finally get to the harbor around 5 p.m. My friends have been waiting since the morning. They have filled the galley with all sorts of amazing food and beverages, I think we could survive for more than two weeks easily. The boat is huge, a catamaran of 41 ft., there is enough space to set up a party for 20!!! 4 master bedrooms with 4 bathrooms, a gigantic living room and an awesome table on the foredeck for happy hour at 0600 pm.
It is too late, we decided to postpone departure until morning. Vulcano island is too far away. I do not want to drop anchor at night on my first day out….We had an incredible dinner dreaming about the trip.
0600 a.m. it is time to leave the harbor, we don’t want to miss the sunrise. Evreybody is excited, the boat is really easy to control we two engines. We set up the sails, and sail towards Vulcano Island. It is a never boring feeling..
We cruised by Vulcano, you can clearly see the smoke coming from small areas near the mouth of the volcano and smell the sulfur. That’s just crazy, the volcano is active but has not erupted for a long time.
The first stop is in Porticello a couple miles north of Lipari. It’s seem to be in the Caribbean, the water is shallow and dreamy turquoise. This amazing color is the result of pumice rock spread out on the bottom of the sea. In fact, there used to be a mining site next to the beach…We can’t resist and go for a dive, have lunch and a quick nap..
Anchor up and Panarea is our next stop. It is one of the smallest Island of the archipelago. We find a perfect and quiet spot in the bay of Cala di Drautto just a few yards away from the prehistorical village. We will spend the night here.
The bay it is even nicer in the morning with the colors getting saturated by the sun light. A SUP session and a morning dive to wake us all up. Breakfast is already on the table. What a way to start the day. We sail to the harbor of Panarea for a city tour and a hike to the summit. The island is well known for the night life and glamour. Dang!! 50 euros to dock for a couple of hours.
At the end is just me going for the hike. The SW trail is well marked from the city down town. It starts of quiet steep, not leaving you much oxygen to appreciate the surrounding. It is really hot and I am sweating like crazy. After 35 min I reach the summit, Punta del Corvo, at 421 m msl. There is a breath taking view of the whole Archipelago. I take some time to look around and let my thoughts fly away. I hit the N trail. The route takes you down along the cliffs of the island and ends up in the northern part of the city. I am a little late on the schedule, but my friends are really cool and do not get too mad.
We jump on the tender and prepare for the transfer to Stromboli. It is a 15 nm sail to the northern part of the island, where the biggest city is located: San Vincenzo. Finally there is enough wind to set sails. Speed is not impressive but we average 4kn. We sail by Basiluzzo and some other small islands, they are all remaining’s of old volcanos eruptive vents.
The Stromboli volcano becomes bigger and bigger, and the sound of the eruption louder. Yes eruptions!! Every 10-15 minutes the volcano erupts, at day light is not so clear what is going on. You just hear the explosion and see some smoke. With a binocular you can spot the magma flying in the air. It is incredible and almost hard to believe. We round the island from the North, this way we are also able to admire the Sciara del Fuoco. It is the route of the falling magma rocks.
After 3.5 hrs we reach our destination. It is time to drop the anchor and prepare for dinner. Some how, along the trip, the crew managed to reserve a table in a fancy restaurant called Osservatorio.
As the darkness comes in the eruptions becomes a spectacular light show, it is just unreal. After dinner we hike to the highest allowed point and admire the force and beauty of nature.
Synchronization and coordination of the crew is just perfect, we are ready to sail in no time and now ready to head to our next destination. It is going to be long day, about 30nm ahead of us and 0 wind. We are forced to use the motors for the entire trip. At first we round Strombolicchio, an old Vulcano of 200.000 years old that has a light house on the top, than we cruise along the south coast of Stromboli and than point at Filicudi.
The sun is shining strong on us, Fabio is on the watch and the rest of the crew resting. Suddenly he call us…a family of three whales is swimming across our path!!! We slow down and start to follow them, keeping at distance… again I am crazy excited and astonished by the elegance and gentleness of those creature. The energy that such an encounter gives you is just indescribable.
Soon after we reach Filicudi…