After doing a lot of touristy stuff, the Burnetts are resting in the Aeolian Islands at the moment. We started our journey at the island of Stromboli, which is essentially just one big active volcano. We timed our arrival perfectly at sunset and cruised around to the northwest side, which offers the best views of the regular volcanic eruption. We had to avoid a lot of fishing buoys on the way there. Drifting quietly in the harbor with us were about twenty boats, engines off, no anchor out (as it was already more than 300 feet deep just 100 meters from shore — you know, volcanoes.) As soon as the sun set, we saw three two-second bursts of glowing eruption accompanied by audible gasps from the packed tourist boats before the bright moon rose over the mountain, obscuring our view. Nevertheless, it was cool. After the moon rose, most of the other boats cleared out, braving the fish pot minefield to go back to anchor in Stromboli’s crowded harbor.
But we were a bit puzzled as to what to do. Anchoring in a crowded harbor at night with a bunch of charterers about was not appealing to us. After all, we know how charterers anchor by now. It’s very…casual. The next island, Panarea, was only 12 nm away, and that distance would not justify an overnight offshore.
So we decided to just go adrift for the night.
We have never done THAT before. But the winds were only 3 kts and predicted to stay that way for the next three days. Seas were flat. We monitored the weak current off Stromboli and motored out three nm west of it so that any change in the current would not send us hurtling toward the island. We turned off our engines, set our nav lights on “sailing,” set our radar alert to go off if anything came within 1.5 nm of us, and then we went to bed.
Well, Greg did anyway. Mel slept lightly, like she does when she is on call.
The next morning, we awoke and noted that the seas were still calm, the radar alert never went off, and we were three nautical miles closer to Panarea. So that was cool.
We had some water days in Panarea and found some free Wi-Fi. Mel looked for movie stars but didn’t find any she recognized. Of course, after a year without any new media, that doesn’t mean there weren’t any there. There were certainly a lot of over-tanned people in shiny sunglasses and silky swim cover-ups! The last day, we snorkeled an area where hydrogen sulfide gas bubbled up through the sea floor. It was just like being in a big hot tub. A stinky one.
After three days of no wind in Panarea, where we could anchor wherever, we had to prepare for a blow from the north. So now we sit in the most expensive mooring field so far in Lipari after having been secured down by two very jovial Italians who spoke no English but communicated well with their hands and their smiles. Reminder: Mel must look up the Italian words for “bow,” “stern,” “line,” and, “Could you re-do that hitch please? Not good.” We are reassured by our company here that we made a good decision. We are surrounded by French, German, and Dutch liveaboards. Oh, poor summer charterers. They won’t know what hit ‘em!
BTW, since we have long ago abandoned any pretense of political correctness, we prudish Americans would like to ask the following questions: 1. Why does EVERY French person chain smoke? 2. What does Italy have against toilet seats? and, 3. Why must Italian grandmas wear bikinis? Why?