Sailing Vacation in Sicily
This is the last 3 days of our sailing trip to the Aeolian Island in Sicily with Spartivento Yacht Charter on two Jeanneau 51.9s.
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Day 5: Salina to Filicudi to Lipari
With the plan to leave Salina by 11:30 (impossible but a good goal at least) we set off into the town of Santa Marina to do some quick exploring. We sped the process up a little by renting some crazy 3 wheel contraption hybrid of mini bike/golf cart/scooter/lawn mower thingy powered by a slightly muffled chainsaw engine. Two training wheels sat of on the side of the third wheel; crazy! E15 for a couple of hours exploring fun was really worth it. Had we more time we would have taken it a lot further.
Salina is known for quite a few things. Capers and Italian Dishes. Some of the crew bought some really nice dishes here and had them shipped back. Which circles back to my impossible to leave by 11:30 comment above.
Anyway, by 12:30 we dropped the Corpo Morto and headed off to the west to visit Filicudi Island.
Here is our track using the NauticEd Tracklink App (beta version that we were testing while in the Aeolians). Wind, 10 knots yay – direction = head on boo. No worries its only 15 nm and 7.5 knots that’s only 2 hours. Time enough to ensure the Prosecco resupply by the assigned crew was quality.
Filicudi is known for the Grotto del Bue Marino (a cave) on the west side and a 2001 space odyssey type monolith. The grotto is pretty cool you take the dinghy inside where it is totally dark and there on the wall is Poseidon’s face staring out to sea. Freaky!
It took us a while to find it so in case you’re ever there, the entrance to the grotto cave looks like this:
Here is a shot from inside:
And here is the crazy looking monolith looking north from the entrance to the grotto:
Was it worth the 2-hour sail over and 2-hour back? Well, what else do you have to do on a sailing vacation other than sail and chat with your best friends? So yes. But the problem was that there is a lot of other things to do on Filicudi but at this point we were starting to run out of vacation time. Note to self – spend 2 weeks here next time silly.
On the way back to Lipari we were able to pop the kite, switch off engines and really enjoy a fast tranquil sail with a spectacular view of the area volcanos. Left to right is Salina (with two volcanic peaks), Lipari, and Vulcano in the distance.
So on long sails, it is the responsibility of the skipper to keep the crew entertained.
Here is a 360 video we shot of sailing between Filicudi and Lipari. The island ahead to Port with the twin peak Volcanos is Salina.
We docked up at the same port in Lipari at Marina Lunga as we did on day 1. The guys running the show there are nice and eager to help dock up and give good information about things not to miss in the islands. They warned us not to get the sulfur mud in our eyes on our next stop at the island of Vulcano. The reason became obvious on day 6.
Along the waterfront in Lipari is a very nice fresh fish shop where we loaded a chunk of swordfish sashimi (for a few Euros). Which made very nice appetizer before we headed into the town where there are dozens of restaurants and bars for lots of fun.
The island of Vulcano is the southern most island of the Aeolian group and only 12 miles from the base in Portorosa. So this is the last stopping point for the last night. Boo hoo.
But you always save best for last right? Vulcano island is pretty cool. There are a couple of major attractions that we did; the Mudbaths and the trek to the volcano crater.
Here is our track from using the NauticEd TrackLink App over to Vulcano Porto. First we stopped on the West side to check it out then went back over to the East side. The distance between the bays is about 400 yards by land so you can stop at either. The beach on the west side is gorgeous and you will see a very nice sunset from there BUT… be aware that the mosquito’s are vicious at dusk. If you don’t have on bug spray don’t even bother.
Here is a sat pic of Vulcano Porto. The Mud baths and the very nice restaurant we ate at that evening are circled. One thing to note about the town is that it stinks – whew – from the sulfur gas (H2S) spewing out of fumaroles in the beach!! Once you get over that it is nice. We ate at Restaurant Vincenzino which is away from the stench. Food at atmosphere was great.
We chose to dock the boat on a finger pier so that the crew could come and go with out the dinghy. Albeit it is a bit of a walk into town. Another yacht from Spartivento joined us. In the background is the Volcano of Vulcano Island.
First stop: the mudbaths. Whew, they stink also – obviously because it is volcanic mud supposedly with religious proportions of healing power.
Some of the crew went a bit overboard.
Remember the guys on day 5 said don’t get any near your eyes. They were right. Bugger. Something from the mud be it H2S gas or what ever is pretty painful on the eyes. Never fear, however, there is an instant cure. To squirt Lemon juice in your eye – yes really – lemon juice. But you have to be brave enough and suffer the 30 seconds of infinite pain of the lemon juice. After that, you have the most blissful feeling in your eyes. Best you just don’t get the stuff near your eyes at all.
After the mud baths, we rallied a few of the crew who were keen for another Volcano hike. Most, however, were broken from the Stromboli trauma.
The Volcano on Vulcano is not to be missed however. The view is absolutely spectacular of all the islands in the chain but also the crater is really amazing as is the steaming yellow sulfur spewing out of the ground. The trek up takes about 1.5 hours from downtown and it is not at all strenuous.
Tap the image to view a slide show.
The walk down was fun and we decided to walk like an Egyptian.
Last day. Boo Hoo. This is when you regret making the booking for 1 week. It just is not possible to do these islands justice in one week. But we have sailing courses to write, software to launch and Apps to create. So land here we come.
In the morning we sailed to Gelso Bay and beach at the bottom of Vulcano Island rafted up, swam, went ashore to the bar there, hung and finished off the supplies.
Then we just generally proceeded to have a blast.
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