Thursday, April 1, 2010

Island of Lampedusa - day one

South, 110 nautical miles off-shore, there is the 9 km long island of Lampedusa, a layered limestone fragment of the African plate, emerging from the Sicily Channel sea floor.

At the end of March we land in the island after a night spent into the ferry from Porto Empedocle. The weather forecast was advising prevailing winds from SSW in the morning, rotating at NE in the afternoon, so we choose to go straight to paddle along the northern cliffs of the island. The layered limestone and sandstone succession is full of caves at different levels and in some points it is over 100 meters high. Sea gulls seem the only animals able to live here.

Exploring all the caves we encounter, after hours of paddling and before the end of the cliffs, we found a deep sea cave at the end of which is possible to land and have a restoring lunch and some stretching. Than we go on, with only three hours of daylight remaining.

We spot the first dolphins at the western point of the island: two fins sliding into the waters. Than the coast is less high, with dry river V-valleys cutting the coast. The wind turn to NE early and we fight a bit when crossing little bays. The absolutely beautiful color of the water, the view of gorgeous beaches and the approaching of the end of the day don't slow down our peace and soon we land on the small beach of the campsite.
Guys can't believe the beauty and the serenity of the place. Hot showers, a cooking pasta competition between sicilian and american cookers and an red wine coming from the black grounds of Mount Etna give a perfect end to a beautiful paddling day.