Posted by Johnny
After four nights hiding from the weather in Marina Nettuno in Milazzo, we decided it was time to brave the elements. We were followed by dark storm clouds as we set off back to the Aeolian Islands with our new crew; Julia’s Mum and her friend Ewa.
By the time we reached Vulcano four hours later, the skies were clear and sunny. We anchored by Porto Levante and went ashore for a dip in the pungent sulphurous mud baths. With a gentle breeze the smells wafted away and the experience was strangely pleasurable.
After a quick beer in our favourite bar we picked up some supplies and headed back to Bumblebee. With three in the gallery cooking up a storm I kept my head down and looked busy.
The next day we set off for Panarea, three hours to the East of Vulcano. Julia’s Mum took the helm for part of the journey, steering us close reached in 20kts. There was reported to be a shallow water spring just off the island of Lisca Bianca so we made that our destination for lunch. The spring was a bit of a disappointment with just a few bubbles here and there and a faint whiff of sulphur. Later we headed on to Panarea, just 30 minutes away and dropped the anchor at Baia Milazzese. By now the islands were starting to get busy and we had a glimpse of what August might be like as we negotiated a patch to drop the hook amongst a sea of boats.
The Island of Panarea feels much like Salina with a higher standard of restaurants and shops. Super yachts were scattered around and fast ribs zipped back and forth. We booked a rooftop Sushi restaurant with a great view of Stromboli but soon cancelled when we saw the prices. Instead we had pizza in a charming restaurant with the same stunning view. Despite encouragement from our side, Stromboli failed to produce any fireworks.
On the 19th we woke up and set sail for Lipari where we would have lunch and break up the long journey back to Milazzo. Maria and Ewa needed to fly back early the next day. On setting out we could see white caps on the waves and knew we were in for a brisk sail. The wind speeds reached 35 knots as we careered towards Lipari at a pace of 7.2 knots. Lipari has a very sheltered beach and as soon as we arrived the wind had all but disappeared. Lunch and a swim then we were off again.
For three and a half hours we had lively following winds and huge waves as we made good time towards Milazzo. The GPS hit 8.6kts at one point. We arrived in darkness and anchored in front of the town, then rose early to drop M & E off at the marina pontoon. They caught their bus to the airport while we filled the water tanks and shopped for a few provisions. At 9am we set off back to the Islands just the two of us.
The wind was quite strong as we left. Rounding the end of the mainland the waves picked up and we found ourselves in quite tricky conditions. There was some confidence given by a large Turkish Gulet bashing into the waves in front of us but they soon turned tail and headed for shelter. I decided to carry on despite making only 4kts straight into 2.5 metre waves. It was the roughest we’d seen but appeared to be manageable. 4 hours later we reached Liapri and the wind became diffused by the Islands. Arriving at the anchorage in Lipari you’d never know there was any wind and our fully reefed sails must have looked a bit melodramatic.
After a nap and a chilled afternoon on anchor we made the short trip to Salina where we are once again at anchor. We tidied and organised the boat, Julia instigated our own individual drawers, see if you can guess who’s is who's:
Today I speared some supper then we went ashore. Julia took her computer and I took my paints.