For those of you who know Nimrod and her owners, you will be familiar with their hosting excellence. And this trip is no different – even extending to writing this guest blog.
We’ve had an amazing trip so far and today is no exception – apart from the lack of wind. For some reason our hosts couldn’t muster that one! We were heading for the Aeolian Islands today: 30-something miles from Scilla, depending on which one we chose.
The day started with Katie and I being treated to lie-in, waking to the sound of Nimmie’s engine. Sad to say goodbye to the charming fishing village of Scilla (aka Swordfish Bay), we were excited to finally reach the aim of Liz & Jo’s holiday.
Across the top of the Messina straits and into the Tyrrhenian Sea, Westward to the Southern Aeolians. We decided Stromboli was too far so we’d check out the pilot book (and other books and pamphlets to hand) to choose our destination du jour.
Liz fancied the geothermal mud baths of Vulcano: almost definitely spurred on by the Arabesque mud bath trip on Formentera! So, the autopilot was set and we enjoyed the millpond experience across the North Sicilian coast. Did we mention that Liz hasn’t caught us any swordfish yet?
As we were relaxing in the cockpit, Katie was spotting flying fish in shoals, either side of us, making for some excitement on an otherwise calm day. All of a sudden, Katie piped up that she could see a pod of Dolphins in the distance. Now that’s exciting indeed! Moments later we were joined by one of them playing in the bow wave… awesome to see them so close in their natural habitat. That was about 11miles from our destination so we were amused for a while longer trying to spot more.
Lunch on the move was “not too shabby”, as usual, and all was pleasant. You certainly know when you’re approaching Vulcano because you can smell it. Yes, the geothermal attraction is sugar coating the fact that mud baths smell (nay, stink!) of sulphur dioxide. We anchored (twice Mr. Bray, yes, twice!) a few metres from the black pumiced beach of Vulcanello. [Editor’s note: first anchoring too close as Liz wanted to be close to the beach]. Sea Kayak was deployed for Liz and Jo while Katie and I had a swim. And then, another one of Nimmie’s friends decided to join us. Except, it was a foe. In a moment, our reward for a long sail (!) was disrupted by my scream [sorry about that]. A little jellyfish crept up and slapped me around the hand. But it was my first and I had no idea what had happened. Mild chaos before a vinegar soaked tissue was wrapped on the really-really-stingy-nasty-really-hurty hand. Thanks Liz. Obviously, Katie-the-Brave retreated from the water while Liz rejoined Jo in the kayak… for a hunt. Oh yes! The hosting excellence even stretches to revenge over the stingy thing. That was it! Armed with paddles, kayak and bucket; Liz and Jo made it their mission to find the jellyfish and render it ‘finito’. Aim achieved.
But, in all this excitement, we still hadn’t ventured into the mud baths. TT Nimrod was deployed because, funnily enough, none of us fancied swimming to shore.
After a local beer – fit for hunters and brave crew (Messina – not recommended), we reluctantly walked closer to the stench. I mean, it stinks. Call this a holiday destination? The bubbling, steaming mud and muddy water was a pleasant phenomenon providing you avoid getting burned by the steam shooting out of the mud. None of us succeeded. Mud was applied. Mud was washed off. There’s yer €2 attraction! Although, what is fascinating is how the temperature of the sea varies so much, in a small area, relative to the thermal springs: choose your own bathing temperature – because we’re worth it!
We topped up with supplies from the supermarket and headed back to Nimmie for a barbecue on board, accompanied by some lovely wine and a change in wind direction. Another perfect day in paradise. [My hand is a lot better, thanks for asking!].