Like any party, the fun starts after dark.
Three-thirty am. My alarm clock goes off. Sliding from bed I pulled on shorts and a T-shirt. I didn’t sleep much. Every twenty minutes or so a jet took off, roaring overhead. A few seconds later it’s gone. Then a sound like popcorn popping or like Rice-Crispies snap-crackle-pop when you pour milk over it. Then silence. Until twenty minutes later.
The deck covered in fine ash and sand. Gritty footprints follow me. Anchor chain rattle onboard. Ink black sea against indigo sky. A shimmering path leads us towards the oldest lighthouse on earth. The same lighthouse that guided Odysseus towards the Straits of Messina on a gale-swept winter’s night. Not a man-made structure. But an active volcano on Isola Stromboli. One of seven Aeolian Islands, north of Sicily. Aeolus was the god of the winds. He is still responsible for swift and terrible gales in these seemingly calm waters.
The mountain sigh, steams, huff and puff twenty-four hours a day, every day. Working up to a full eruption every ten years. Unlike Mount Edna or Vesuvius who builds up rage until one day they blow there tops.
As we round the headland the raging mountain spits fire. Red hot stars shoot into the black sky. Falling in sprays of oranges, yellows and reds. Fire balls cart-wheel three thousand feet down a black slope. Splashing into tho ocean and sinks with a sizzling pop.
Yesterday we sailed ten hours from mainland Italy to Stromboli. The sea like glass, blue as I’ve never seen it before. Ten hours where the horizon and the ocean blended into nothingness. Making landfall, I can’t help but feel a sense of, not relief, but awe. First a faint shimmer on the horizon, then clouds and the outline of a conical mountain rising more than three thousand feet into the air. An active volcano. We sail closer. Drift in warm indigo water. Less than a hundred yards from shore. In daylight you hear the roar and see white or sometimes black smoke drift into the air. Dust trails of rocks as they skip towards the ocean.
But the party starts after dark.
#SundayTraveller linking up with fellow vagabond Frank who knows everything about Croatia, and Adelina takes you with on her travels by packing you in her suitcase. Jess who loves ice-cream just as much as I do. Ashley a southern gypsy and SJ who chases donkeys in Croatia