Aeolian Islands, Italy

August 1-3

    Hiked to an active volcano on Vulcano Island, Aeolian Island, Italy


Passage from Cefalu to Aeolian Islands, Italy - Deb and I woke up of our own accord at about 4:00AM and sensed a calm sea with forecasts of a 10 knot breeze for the day. We ended up, as promised with a less than a leisurely wind, and proceeded to pay out the fishing lines instead of the sails.  About two hours later with backgammon tournaments in full swing or otherwise engrossed in our books  we hooked a big one! Initially we/I thought it must be a fishing net or other underwater obstruction.  The rod holder actually twisted around (it was a bit loose?!) and the rod hung from the stanchion by only a safety line. The fishing line was screaming out.  I pushed the drag down hard and urged Deb to slow the boat.  Still the reel spun - too rapidly.  I was getting a bit nervous. At this rate we were going to loose the entire reel.  I yelled to Deb to slow the boat down even you know what an oil pressure gauge does when you take a 38 ton vessel and go from neutral, in a declining speed, at approximately 4 knots to about 1500 rpm in reverse?   The little needle goes up...rapidly...then the oil pressure gauge alarm is tripped, automatically, and almost instantaneously the engine is triggered with an emergency shut down.  The alarm buzzer clearly and incessantly sounds.. and doesn't stop until the key is switched to the off position.  But, that just kills the alarm.  The engine doesn't have a prayer of starting again until SOME  type of repair is completed....hummmm...we're halfway between Sicily and the Aeolian Islands, we don't have an's Sunday so the likelihood of contacting a technician is slim to none, there's no wind, ..and there is something BIG on the line...first things first. There is something on the line. Deb brought Delphinus around to slow her speed and we went into action.  It turns out that Kelsey and Hayden were in fact rudely awakened from their morning slumber, and were frantically opening the Laz to grab rod harness, gaff, and hose so we could wash the blood off the boat should we actually land this creature and it was actually only about 8:00AM. The thought that we were in day-mode slipped my mind...(an initial draft had Deb shifting the throttle from 2000 rpm in forward to 1500 rpm in reverse...proofreaders are important, but do take a bit of the flair from the prose).  Deb was now close to tears thinking that she'd just blown our engine and a bit laconic, but Meghan had the vodka bottle at the ready (not for Deb, but instead to pour it into the gills of the beast that was on the line (we like sushi but we're civilized and refrain from using the 2 ft bat at all cost). So we began to make progress with the fish. The line was coming in, but we weren't able to see anything in the deep purple/blue waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea.  And then we saw ....them.  A big silver sparkle with two more in close proximity.  At first we thought there was a shark or barracuda in chase - were we going to lose the big tuna we had on the line?!  Then we remembered that one of the things one wants to do when one hooks a tuna is leave it on the line and throw our more lines. Apparently, tuna are very curious creatures and will follow the one you've hooked.  This tuna is putting up a big fight and the thought of having another line on is not what we needed now!.  This guy was huge.  We finally gaffed him through the gills and he was thrashing like mad off the side of the boat spraying blood everywhere.  He was so crazed that the top to the vodka bottle was broken off in pieces into his gills as we doused his gills thus ending his ability to breath and his fight.  For the next 45 minutes we filleted the monster and washed off the blood from the deck. So the good news... we have a great big fish filleted and bagged (4 huge bags!) in the freezer and the fridge.  Yumm...but, we're still not moving, and there is a question as to whether the engine start anytime soon.  Palermo is the closest big harbor, but it's also the home of the Sicilian Mafia. The south coast of Italy is hundreds of mile away ..and a prime recruiting ground for the Costa Nostra...hummm.  Go mechanic Dad.  After much research and consternation I proceeded to empty the oil from the engine, changed the oil filter, refilled the oil and, Saints preserve us, she turned right over (though the alarm did sound for a brief interval which left us all a bit pale).  We had an engine!  Tears of joy leapt from Deb's eyes. We weren't going to be marooned in some yacht yard for weeks on end in fear of our lives.... And I...I was such a hero!!! (a feeling one can't get enough of!).  Sushi for hors d'oeuvres after a bath in pickled ginger juice, and accompanied by wassabi and soy....oh yummm.  And then! Fresh Tuna, sprinkled with extra virgin olive oil and peppered in Greek Seasoning from the Ipswich Fish Market, brazed on the grill and accompanied by a salad of fresh greens.  Heaven!  We continued on our way to Volcano!

Just some notes so we'll remember- Volcano and anchoring with a Frenchman; A great hike; poor anchorages; Ice cream feast; Stromboli inactive; Mud Baths; effervescent ocean hot tub; pretty towns and pebble beaches without dingy docks - they look like they get hammered; Lipari - dinner at the Pirate after a 65 foot free dive to set the hook; Smaller than, but a pretty little town much like Cefalu.


The cooler is 36" so we figure this tuna was at least 4+ feet





    Active volcano    
    Baby stay which needed to be repaired in Levkas