The overnight anchorage at Vulcano was solid although ferries and tankers were coming and going for most of the evening and starting up again at 7am so not the most peaceful. We decided to give the next island in the chain, Lipari, a miss and head for Panarea – the Capri of the Aeolian Isles. However, as we drew near, we were disappointed in the anchorages as they were either small, dull or both. Instead, we went to an island nearby called Liscia Bianca where there were more hot, geothermal springs. As we approached, Liz noticed that she had finally caught a fish! We weren’t sure what it was but erred on the side of caution and used it later as further bait – to no avail. We anchored between two small islets for lunch and a swim. Sadly, there were jellyfish about so none of us stayed in the water for long although Liz found a new use for the lilo.
We left there around 4.30pm to make our way up to Stromboli. We had been en route to there last September when we had to divert to Tropea to get the hull cleaned.
We had planned to anchor near San Vincenzo on the NE corner of Stromboli so that we would be close by but not actually under any eruptions. The anchorage was crowded as there were day tripper boats as well as yachts so finding a spot where there was black sand rather than rocks and space proved elusive for a while. We noticed that a few boats were actually attached to submerged mooring buoys and not anchored so their turning circle would be very different. Eventually, we found a spot we were happy with and settled down for the evening. There was something quite magical about sitting in the lee of the volcano, catching a whisper of red flames lighting up the sky – or were we just imagining it? We decided that we would make our way back to Taormina on the Saturday so that we had a day to spare before Loui and Katie flew back to London. They had changed their flights to go from Catania rather than Valletta so could spend another day with us. The sail back to the top of the Messina Straits was more of a motor as again very little wind but we got up early to try and catch some of the eruptions before dawn. Sadly, the top half of the volcano was covered in cloud so Katie never did see any smouldering boulders crashing down the mountain. Of course, the cloud dispersed as the sun broke through.
Once we reached Messina, the wind got up and we had an amazing sail, surfing 2m waves all the way down to Taormina. With the wind gusting over 25 knots and the current giving us an extra knot or two, we hit 8.6 knots over the ground – and this with just the Genoa up.
Dinner on board was an episode of ready steady cook as we needed to use stuff up as the fridge has well and truly packed up. Beers were put in a fishing net off the back for later.