Stromboli in the Rising Sun
Today started with weighing anchor at 4.00am. We planned to sail past the active volcano Stromboli just as the sun rose this morning, and we achieved that just as the giant red orb was rising in the east. The light brought gorgeous shading highlighting the stony rivers that run from her top to the sea.
We had been admiring Stromboli’s profile for several days. She stands proud and tall in the ocean, like a model of epic proportions. By her shape you can tell she is obviously volcanic – an iconic sentinel easily visible for 30 nautical miles and she dares you to not pay her attention. This morning there is a constant pinkish tinged cloud over her cone-like crown. Her craggy wrinkled hilly-ness was smoking enough that you could smell her scorched acridity in the air. As so often happens, I wish technology had cracked smell-a-vision so I could share exactly what that was like with you.
Volcanologists and the Aeolian Archipelago
There is something about active volcanoes that instills a “living on the edge” type of excitement tinged with a feeling that there is a constantly lurking danger.
We’ve spent the last few days hanging on the hook on Waiata sailing (at anchor) around the volcanic Aeolian islands. They are an archipelago – a chain of seven islands (in Italian ‘isolas’) that are situated between Mt Vesuvius and Mt Etna, in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Each of our these volcanoes are considered active, with features including steaming fumaroles and hydrothermal activity which are all easy to see.
Stromboli Performing for 2,000 years
Expert volcanologists say Stromboli has been constantly active, performing and erupting for around 2,000 years. Her last major eruption was less than a year ago in October 2021. She stands mighty, worthy of a little fear. Her light show can make your jaw drop in awe and applaud. Some have nicknamed her “The Lighthouse of the Mediterranean” due to her constantly glowing hue. She is perpetually in the spotlight, belching gas and coughing out fiery pebbles with sneezes of ash which shower and rain down sometimes at short notice. People are rescued from her performances. Then she is no laughing matter.
As waved and passed the many boats anchored under the volcano this morning, you can’t help but draw analogies. They are like fans anticipating a Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd or Madonna concert, hoping for a light show featuring natures fireworks that will live in your memory forever. The divine Miss Stromboli – she continues to perform nightly and based on the previous 2,000 years, she’s quite some way from her encore. The main performance continues almost nightly as it has done since time immemorial.
Trying to live a perpetual summer life, it’s true I can’t stand the rain. And with all of the lighting and thunder storms that have been swirling around the Mediterranean, this sentiment toward rain is even more pronounced.
Today’s appropriate sound track is a classic. ‘Eruption’ were a British R&B, Soul and Disco group who really grooved through the 70’s and 80’s. Here’s Eruption with ‘I Can’t Stand The Rain’.