Monday, September 26, 2011

Vulcanoa Tour - Plans are changed!

The very bad weather forecast discouraged many participants to engage themselves on the tour around western Aeolian Islands and on monday 19th only seventeen paddlers are present in Vulcano. The Coast Guard call to say that they didn't give the permission for the crossings to Filicudi and Alicudi islands, so the plans need some changes.

 Winds blow from WNW up to 20-25 knots. Offshore waves are 3 meters high and hit the west coast of Vulcano island, coming from the far distance of Sardinian sea, where the gale has Force 9. The only safe possibility is to paddle on the lee of the island, maintaing the group very close to the coast, and it is what we decide to do on the first day of the gathering. The reinforcing of the wind in the afternoon adds some adrenaline both to participants and guides when, on the way back to the Porto di Levante cove, the group struggle against a strong current and gusts of wind at Punta L├╣ccia: all the guides and helpers are involved in towing, rescuing of capsized paddlers and kayakers unable to keep the bow into the wind. Fortunately we don't had to call for a rescue to the Coast Guard, but we were pretty close to this evenience and the group was back on land, just in time to avoid a tunderstorm with lightening and even stronger gusts of wind.

 The weather deteriorated, ferries failed to connect the islands to the mainland, except one that was navigating in the lee sides of Salina, Lipari and Vulcano to maintain a minimum of the service. We loaded kayaks and gear on this one and reached Salina, to find one of the best accomodation of theese islands, in a family residence in which we were able to prepare our food all togheter and have beautiful dinners.
The following day the wind slowed down to 10 knots and, despite the sea state was still rough, we launched for the circumnavigation of the island. An "early" start, at 9 'o clock, give us the possibility to paddle all the way around in the day, with the last stop in Lingua for the usual refreshing granita of the Alfredo bar. At the end of the day, we have a super-dinner under the direction of Dario.


The weather now is again the very sicilian summer. We make the 4 km crossing to the west coast of Lipari, with its rock cliffs, caves, stacks, blue cristalline waters and small pebbles beaches. We spent a lot of time exploring and rock gardening along the coast. After we cross to Vulcano and the group split in two parts, one of which go to visit the Cavallo cave on the west coast of the island. The end of the gathering is celebrated in the Stevenson pub and we let run te hours and the pints.
Even this time, the changed plans turned to be a good option.

Many thanks to all the instructors and guides that make this event possible!