Well I’m trying for a catchy headline! Gill and Brian joined us in Catania 2 days after our previous visitors left. The intervening time was an orgy of washing ( by hand), cleaning and shopping. Lest you start to feel sorry for us, I should add that we had an afternoon on the beach.
The Coulshed’s ( the name means dwellers on a cold ridge) love the sun!! Wonder why?! They joined us last year and have come back for more! As they arrived in Catania, so did a ship carrying refugees- which parked next to our Marina. Police everywhere, containing the situation, very well. So well they tried to stop us returning to Sea Dew. Lots of gesticulations and the word ‘marinero’s’ later, they let us pass. Could’ve been tricky with us expecting visitors!!
As we left our mooring, we could see the poor people both on the ship and on the dock and in the Red Cross tent, loads of them. I think Italy was taking these ones as there were lots of coaches waiting. The lucky ones. Our guests relaxing.
We planned to get to the Aolian Islands via the Messina Straits. Which we did, after quite a long 2nd day. The Straits were interesting, with opposing currents making the water swirl with whirlpools (Charybdis according to Homer in Odysseus, a giant whirlpool which swallowed ships or a ‘sucker downer’!) and bubbling with breaking waves in all directions.
wierd sea state
( there was also ‘Scilla’ – said to dwell in a cave atop of a sheer cliff with 12 feet and 6 horrible heads which plucked sailors from passing ships)
Well thank god we got through there!!!
Brian did a grand job of helming in a slow sea for hours and got us to port.
We stopped at a place called Milazzo, overnight. It has a castle and a ‘Venus pool’ a natural swimming pool at the end of a very long arm like promontory which gave the marina protection from the sea. It’s worth exploring. We didn’t. Our eyes were firmly set on the Aolians!
We reached Vulcano- the nearest.
According to ancient mythology, the fabulous island of Vulcano was the workplace of the god of fire and blacksmiths, Hephaestus. You knew you were there by the smell! Sulpher- not too strong thankfully. We anchored and then had a lovely few hours just chilling and sunbathing.
Eventually we went in on the brand new dinghy with a shiny brand new outboard. We now have to find a safe place to chain it up ( unlike in Greece). We wandered, planning the next day over a beer and I succumbed to a street seller and bought a ‘cover up’ – desigual style shirt for 9.50euros. Can’t argue with that! In Desigual it’d be over 80.
The next day we walked up the Volcano which has a visible smoking crater. Quite a climb but worth it.
dunked ourselves in the therapeutic mud / a panacea for everything and jumped in the nearby sea with hot volcanic springs around the stack.
Our boat anchored in the background and here at anchor enjoying a sundowner!
anchored again. Beautiful place. The smallest Aolian island surrounded by cliffs and stacks. We walked into town in the evening for a meal and to watch the ‘fireworks ‘ from Stromboli. But it had a thick cloud and we saw nothing. Damn! Dashed, we walked ‘home’ .
the main Aolian island and the largest – we were on on a jetty. Simon had to do some remedial work on the boat – the instruments all failed. It’s not fun when you come into anchor or moor without a depth meter. But he fixed it! Well done Simon. You should’ve seen the boat as he had to trace the wiring – cupboards open, beds dismantled etc good job we went out to explore Lipari.
It is a charming town with a laid back island vibe which although it’s the main town hasn’t sold its soul to the tourist trade.
There are quaint streets in the old town
A cathedral and a castle within walls
Old huts 17th C BC!! Get your head around THAT!!
A lovely port where we had beer and a triumphant Simon joined us.
Then, after a barbecue on board, the next day, we had to return to Sicily as the cold ridge dwellers had to go home. They still craved more sun!
We landed at Sant Agata, the staff there helpfully arranged our car hire ( in Italy we’ve found that very few people speak English even the ones who are tourist facing, – you should hear our Italian!)
Leaving Sea Dew
We drove our guests back to Catania and were sad to see them go. They were great guests and we so enjoyed their company.
Our consolation was the drive back , through the mountains, which was very picturesque and beautiful and green.
We visited a few villages around the western base of Etna( which had its hat on!) , the most interesting of which was Randazzo.