For information on all the Aeolian islands read here: http://www.eolnet.it/eng/IsoleEolie.asp or use that handy tool, Google!
We enjoyed a perfectly awful start to Stromboli from Ponza in 4-6 foot seas, 20 knots gusting to 35, and raining straight down (hard). We have been out of the shipyard and sailing exactly 19 days, though it seems like 40. We have put on some miles, and had some brief but fantastic visits to incredible places. None of those days produced more than a sputtering of rain, but now that we a a million miles away from the lady that took lots of money to refurbish our canvas bimini, it rains hard and we make a new discovery. She restitched the seams but did not seal them with something like everyone’s favorite 3M product, Scotch Guard. So, off we went, raining in the cockpit, wet, cold and utterly miserable. I took a Bonine and went to sleep. My watch started at 9 pm and lasted to midnight. The wind had dropped to 15-18, so we were running under a full genoa and a bit of engine. This had our speed fluctuating between 6.5 and 8 knots. A cargo ship coming right at us, showed a radar CPA (closest point of approach) of 0 to 1.5 miles depending on my speed in 20 minutes. Now for everyone who has never even been on a boat- What do you do- try to outrun a cargo ship at night under the fluctuating speed of sail, or stop the engine and reef the sail and let her pass in front of you. I chose B. I cut the engine. the speed stayed the same, varying by the wind not the engine, so I tried to reef the genoa at night in the rain without leaving the cockpit, which is a sub prime geometry for good ergonomics, and managed to form an elaborate override. This means I wenched (hydraulically) the sheet onto itself firmly securing the sail in that position. I tugged and whined. Stuck.
Now the radar showed the same CPA in 15 minutes. So I had to wake up Neal. Big strong he-man fixed the override and went back to sleep, the cargo ship passed safely behind. I imagined the captain looking through his night binoculars and seeing a frantic woman at the helm, just decided to go around us.
By about 3 am the seas calmed down and by morning the wind was gone as well. We actually recovered a bit underway, and when we arrived at Stromboli in the evening, we worked a bit and grilled steaks, had a nice wine we bought in Bandol and slept well. We woke up to a black boat as the volcano spewed its volcanic ash at us.
The main attraction is the hike up the volcano in the evening to arrive and see the fireworks at night. The hike leaves at about 5 p.m. and returns at about 11:00 p.m. We wanted to try it, because we love to hike and the volcano is active currently, but the winds and the guests’ ferry schedule contrived poor conditions and bad timing to do so. But we talked to some hikers, who came to hike once and stayed a week. I think I could spend a week or a month writing and hiking and meeting hikers from the world who have vulcan fettishes. Neat place. A place where you can potentially see a sign: Tsunami Escape Route –> atop a sign that reads: <— Volcano Escape Route.
I saw such, just not positioned so. Darn. What a perfect snapshot that would make!
After lunch, we headed to Lipari to retrieve our next guests.