Vulcano Island

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Vulcano Island is part of the Aeolian Island chain, near Sicily.  The Aeolian Islands are where Odysseus, on his quest to return home, met the God of Wind – Aeolus – who promised to help him return home to Ithaca.  He took all of the contrary winds and put them in a bag, which Odysseus hid in the hold of his ship.  He used the remaining beneficial winds to make it almost all the way home.  They got so close to Ithaca that they could even see the dinner fires smoking on shore.  However, that is when his crew opened the bag because they thought that Odysseus was hiding treasure from them. As a result, they were blown all the way back to the Aeolian Islands.  Homer wrote the Odyssey almost 3,000 years ago and interestingly, the island of Vulcano wasn’t even formed then.  It was formed about 1,000 year ago.

The anchorage at Vulcano sits in the shadow of the volcano’s crater, which is still active.  You can see a small stream of sulfur smoke emitting from the top; there are spots of yellow sulfur near the cone.  Off the beach the sea water bubbles up with sulfur and if you dig your toes into the sand below the water, they will get burned just a centimeter or two below the sand.  There is a faint scent of sulfur at all times in the anchorage, but when the wind blows offshore it was fairly strong. The island itself is beautiful and verdant.  There are also mud baths that you can pay to go in, and get immersed in the sulfuric gooeyness.  I totally wanted to take a dip, but after taking a sniff when passing by, we decided that any healing benefits would be counteracted by the putrid smell.  It’s one thing to have a whiff of sulfur aboard Benevento, it’s another thing to dip your whole body into a steaming, goopy vat of it.

By this time in our trip, Dante is desperate for a play date.  The last time he has played with another kid his own age was in Puerto Roses, Spain.  To help him burn off some steam, we often let him row around in the anchorage area.  On this particular day in Vulcano, he went up to a Swiss catamaran and said hello and introduced himself.  About 20 minutes later he came back to Benevento and announced that he’d set up a playdate for *us*.  He’s so tired of us, he just wants to interact with new people no matter whether they’re his age or not!  It’s a good thing he did introduce himself, as we were invited over to Vairea and made friends with Martina and Daniel, a lovely Swiss couple.  (And Dante was gifted a bar of Toblerone.)

We continued to hang out on Vulcano getting to know our new pals on Bagheera (see the post about running aground), and waiting for our old friends to show up on Three Sheets.  Two things we have discovered about cruising are that 1) it’s more fun when the weather is warm and 2) it’s even better when you can cruise with friends.

So we were super excited to see Reg and Phoebe from Three Sheets sail into the anchorage.  We met Reg and Phoebe in January of 2014 in the San Blas Islands.  Together with the crew from Safari, we spent a couple of epic San Blas nights together – nights which we would still count as highlights to our trip overall. One night in particular involved dinner on a private island, a full moon, a bonfire and Cuban cigars followed by a dance party on Safari.  We had kept in touch with Three Sheets, knowing that they were also headed to the Mediterranean.  However, actually meeting up with another boat is not as easy as you might think. We were delighted to see them again and excited at the prospect of cruising together for a little while – something we’d not yet done with another boat.

We spent a couple of days in Vulcano with Three Sheets.  Dante went up to the top of the volcano again with them, and we all got together with the crew of Bagheera to have an amazing evening on Benevento.  Phil taught us all how to play Mexican Train dominoes and showed us the proper way to drink ouzo (training for our upcoming trip to Greece.)

With the weather warming up, hanging out with friends and meeting new cruising boats (as opposed to being the only boat in the anchorage, like much of our cruising in Spain, France and Northern Italy during the winter), it was starting to feel like real cruising again.

For more pictures of Vulcano go to our Flickr 


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