Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Mythology, Volcanology and Rock Gardening: just a stretch of coast north of Catania.

Very often I'm asked from customers that want to book a sea kayak excursion in Catania a description of a possible itinerary. With this post I would like to give an idea of what kind of excursion is possible to do starting from the small Ognina harbour, just at the north end of the Catania municipality and ending in Santa Maria La Scala, after an easy trip of about 15 km.
I'll put here the pictures of the two last excursion I made in May and June 2013 with two groups of clients which I thanks for giving me authorization to use the pictures with them.

All the itinerary follows a lavic littoral, with cliffs, small islands or big rocks, and very few black sand beaches. On the first part, if you're lucky to found a calm sea (not a rare event) it is possible to visit some marine caves, one of which have two entrances.

The first village you meet along the coast is Acicastello, easy to recognize thanks to the old castle, builded a thousand years ago over an high rock. This rock is very interesting from a volcanological point of view because represent one of the first outcropping products of the Etna volcano activity.

From the castle there is just one km to the next village: Acitrezza, with its Isola Lachea and the rocks called "i Faraglioni". The nice thing for paddlers is that here there is an area, including the island and rocks, in which no motor boats can transit. The landing into the harbour of Acitrezza is quite easy and a stop for a "granita" (a local kind of icecream made without milk or cream) must be done.

Continuing north the village of Capo Mulini, where is the lighthouse, there is another easy landing place, with a couple of small beaches. After this point there is a 4 km long unhabited coastline called "La Timpa di Acireale". The sea is deep and blue and the rocky shore is rich of sweet water springs. The last village is Santa Maria La Scala - once a natural harbour - with a spectacular batch of columnar basalts.

Maybe you noticed that in the names of the villages there are prefixes like "ACI". This comes from a greek mithology about a sad love story between a shepherd called Aci and a nimph called Galatea... 
If you are curious, come to paddle here and I'll be happy to tell you this and many other stories, not without the volcanological facts that you can read directly observing the rocks you'll see along the coast.