Today, after a good breakfast -Italians like a lot of sweeties for breakfast- I decided in a jiffy to visit the island of Stromboli, one of the most active volcanoes in Europe.
12:00 at the port I left, Gina stayed ashore in Lipari, the harbour on the top deck in the wind on a kind of little ferry which sailed at an approx. speed of 20Kts to the first island Panarea, famous for it's famous people, who look for tranquility after being famous for a year or so in Hollywood, Europe or somewhere else.
After dropping the anchor in a bay under the island for swimming, I wasn't told that this was an option which I wouldn't honor, because of too many jellyfish, we continued to the port of Panarea for a 1 Hour stopover. No cars on gasoline, only elektrik trolleys like on a golf course, even the taxi's were electric cars!!
I had a sandwich with local cheese spread and capers and stuff, all locally harvested or produced, delicious!!! Got an address of a good hotel (for my next visit....)
And at 14:30 sharp we left the island.
A short detour along some offshore little island rocks to get an idea of the volcanic activity of the region, where sulfuric gases expelled from fissures in the seabed, turning the area into a rotten egg plant!!! Interesting thing to see the gases bubbling up in crystal clear water from only a few meters deep.
A boat ride of 35" brought us to the Island of Stromboli, with its impressive steep shore ercting out of nothing to a staggering 980m above sea-level.
At the port on the east coast, we disembarked and headed to the mountain guide's office to change gear. A helmet (too small for my head) and mountain shoes. After waiting until everyone was furnished, we started to climb between the bamboo grass by a not too steep path.
Interesting detail; That morning I took my last tablet to cure from an Achilles' heel inflammation. And as I consider myself cured once I administered the last tablet, I considered myself fit to climb, or so I thought.......
After some 200m altitude 1/4 of the expedition, I was reminded that my port-side heel wasn't as cured as I hoped, therefore I had to step with my left foot under a 90° angle pointing to the port, to relief the tension on my heel.
Not worth mentioning that I couldn't keep up no more with the pace and after some 10 minutes, or 40 to 50 meters climbing, I had to surrender, to spare my heel. The pain came back and I knew, that after the refuge at 240m altitude, the path would become far steeper and heavier as we were told at departure.
Not worth the effort to even think about trying to go to the limit!!! The consequence could have been to return with a chopper or with a rescue team, ending up in a hospital for surgery. Anyway, I was inconsolable for at least 20 seconds!! Took nice video of the expelling smoke once the sun had disappeared behind the mountain ridge and decided to start the descend back to town. I met a German couple on the boat and he, who also surrendered somewhat earlier, I met at the mountain guide office and decided to have a drink and something to eat. At 20:45, after sunset, we embarked our boat and sailed to the north rim to admire the eruption from offshore.
I considered the force of the eruptions not worth the effort to climb, knowing that the stay on the summit was limited to 30" only!!!!!!!
after some 45" adrift we went back to pick up those brave men and women who challenged the mountain and returned to Lipari to arrive at 23:30.
The hotel shuttle bus picked me up and some 5" later, back at the hotel, I considered myself getting older. This time Stromboli won, next time I will.