Stromboli and Carabinieri in Golfcarts

Due to bad weather yesterday we spent the entire day docked at Santa Marina di Salina but we had nevertheless a great experience during our driving tour of the island, with expert guidance provided by two locals. Our first Italian lesson had also progressed smoothly and a quiet dinner capped off an occasionally drizzly and grey day.

A gorgeous day in Santa Marina di Salina

Well, today was another day, and when I peeked out of the sailboat bright and early I saw right away that we had clear skies today. This meant that we would be leaving Salina and sailing on to the next island in our linguistic sailing trip experience: Stromboli!

View of Santa Marina from the harbour

When I saw Franco, one of our Italian language teachers from Laboratorio Linguistico, come out of the on-board shower room wrapped in a towel, it crossed my mind that an Italian language learning trip aboard a sailboat is definitely a very unique experience. As a matter of fact, boat life really brings you close together, and notions of personal space and barriers of shyness seem to be decreasing the more time you spend on board with your shipmates.

Santa Marina from a different angle

It’s just that kind of environment, and it’s actually very refreshing to move outside one’s comfort zone and allow oneself to experience something completely different. This has been one of the beauties of this unique trip all along – the unique tight environment on the sailboat, six great ship mates (thank God!), and the beautiful experience of gliding through the Mediterranean waters from one beautiful island to another.

The Duomo of Santa Marina di Salina

Our departure was planned for 10 am, so I took a quick walk through Santa Marina, indeed a very picturesque little place, particularly when lit up by the morning sun. I had a quick on-board breakfast before Herbert, one of my shipmates, departed. He had been feeling a bit sick for a while and was going to take one of the fast ferry boats, one of the “aliscafi” or hydrofoils to one of the other islands to visit a doctor and get some medication for his flu-like symptoms.

Looking at Panarea

So the remaining six of us got ready to sail and we were out on the open waters by 11 am. Leaving Salina behind, we sailed past the island of Panarea which features a gently sloping mountain on the eastern side and a steep precipitous cliff on the western side. The weather could not have been any better. The sun was so bright I closed my eyes and started to fall asleep. All of a sudden this intense feeling of tiredness overcame me, it was as if all the accumulated stress from my life in Toronto was trying to unravel itself, so I retreated and lay down in my cabin.

Moi with our skipper/teacher Francesco and our teacher Franco

When I woke up again we had actually reached our destination: Stromboli, another Eolian island, this one distinguished by an active volcano. We anchored our sailboat off shore since the island has no harbour, and Francesco, our skipper, got a little dingy ready that would carry us from the sailboat on shore. The dingy was barely big enough to hold three, definitely no more than four people, so in the first trip Francesco scooped up Claudia, Lorenzo and me while he steered the vessel.

Lorenzo and Francesco are steering the vessel

I was of course planning to do lots of photography on the island, and I thought I just hope to God that we won’t tip over in this tiny inflatable vessel, since my camera and my memory cards would certainly be gone. But I should not have mistrusted the expertise and prudence of our captain: Francesco transported all six passengers safely to land without incident.

Stromboli awaits

In my quest for photos I embarked on a solo discovery of Stromboli on foot, while Claudia and Lorenzo headed off into town as well. I walked by the waterfront, past a variety of shrubs, some industrial buildings and the lone electricity generating plant on the island to a promontory that looks out on a rock just off the coastline: Stromboliccio (little “Stromboli”), of course also of volcanic origin, is uninhabited but features a lighthouse.

Strombolicchio – complete with a light house

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