We motored from Naxos/Taormina through the Messina straits to Vulcan, Neal’s home planet, in the Aeolian Islands on Sept 7.
We anchored off the island in a beautiful and empty lava encrusted cove. We all jumped in the water but retreated when we saw the jellyfish. Water was delightful and warm. We desalinated (just short of proper showers) and took the dinghy to a cave for sunset happy hour- French rosé and appetizers.
We were back on board for a pasta dinner with mushrooms. yum!
Sept 7 we toured another cave in the dinghy on Vulcan, then went to Lipari for the day. Lipari is about 500 yards from Vulcan at it closest pass, but has its own pace and rhythm, narrow streets, lots of churches. It feels a bit more like Sicily than Taormina does: hot, sultry. People slept in their open-doored apartments as we walked the narrow streets during siesta, and there were cats, lots of cats. The town is more rugged and worn than Taormina, which is more like Italian mainland cities, beautiful, maintained, and crowded with tourists. Lipari is the most crowded of the Aeolians, but it still felt dead at siesta time, old, lethargic and very, very hot. Its worn out look comes from heat-baked age, rather than black acid rain or reminders of wars past. The smell of sulfur is always present. I didn’t finish my gelato, it was just too hot to eat.
We anchored next to three lava spires and sweated most of the night. These are the spires, famous photography subjects, and an excellent sunset companion.
I woke up about 2:30 to cool off in the cockpit, and the large catamaran, Black Swan, that we anchored next to in Naxos, was up all night partying. The were playing “Bobby Brown” by Frank Zappa very loudly. I am ashamed that I remember all the words, so I sang along. Neal woke me up the next morning with a birthday plan, which made me very happy, since I am usually stuck with the planning. I wanted fireworks for my birthday, so the plan was to sail to Panarea, visit there, have lunch, then sail to Stromboli, so that nature could show me fireworks!! We would visit Panarea and Stromboli on one day, then we would sail overnight to Capri. No rest for the merely 50.
Panarea was so achingly cute we all wanted to buy a place and stop there, especially if the place had air conditioning. The town is mostly white stucco, almost Greek in its appearance with fuchsia bougainvillea flowing off walls and flowers out of pots. The shops there were surprisingly nice for so tiny a place. There are no cars, just golf carts driven by mad Italian islanders. We clung to the whitewashed walls every time we heard a puttering engine. It was also hot.
So hot that we dinghied in, tied up, and walked to the end of the pier. I went up to a clothing stand, ripped my silk top off (I had on swimsuit top) and bought the thinnest white cotton shirt he had.
I’m wearing it in our lunch photo, here with Amante in the background. What a delightful place!