The boat rocketed gently. The wind died completely and all our efforts to catch the remains of it into our sails were pointless. We had to turn the engine on in order to make any progress. The sea was flat like a lake but still beautifully coloured. You could almost see the sky and few white clouds reflecting on the surface.
Today we were aiming to arrive at Stromboli and climb the volcano. O well, no biggie. Everyday event while you are sailing the Meds. I have never climbed a volcano so I was looking forward to it. Marcin and I were frantically searching the internet for some advice from other climbers, to make sure we are fit enough to do the climb. At the end, as usual, we went with: who knows when we will be given this opportunity again? – and pack our trekking boots.
The dingy we have on our disposal was the smallest I have ever seen. According to the producer only one adult and a child would fit in it without sinking it. O well, we fitted in 3 adults, as we did not really had a choice. With only slightly wet bottoms the first trip to Stromboli, made by Kasia and Mieciu, was a success! Even though the motor was not behaving and Sledziu needed to paddle all the way back. At least we did anchor a little closer to the shore!
One of our neighbours on a cat helped us out by using his dingy and our small group of 7 was transported to the island quicker and less wet. Grzesiu stayed to keep an anchor watch, as the cost of the mooring was definitely too high – 40 euros! We still had to pay 10 euros for the fact that we have touched it! So be careful! Anyway, Grzesiu was “delighted” to be able to listen to some Russian songs coming out from the cat nearby. Sadly, some sailors are not that sensitive to their neighbours.
The beach was beautifully blackish-grey. The sand was shining in the sun, soft, with pebbles lost between the grains. The volcano, always clouded, towered above, not looking inviting. The afternoon was getting hotter and hotter, we were finally able to feel the summer slowly coming up, stopping being ashamed.
The small town positioned below the volcano was lovely. I have found a church sitting in the middle of the square and few nice restaurants. You can hire trekking shoes, the headlights and the walking sticks, if you wish to! So yes, you can come unprepared and still made a climb.
We were told straight away to take some warm clothes and something for a change at the top, as after climbing for 2.5 hour we all are going to be sweating. This was one of the best advises we were given, as when we finally reached the top getting out of wet cloths and putting on a nice, warm, not wet top worked its magic.
The climb was tough, but still manageable. The guide we were with was more than brilliant, concerned about everyone, checking on us all the time. During the climb we were taking breaks, always informed when the break is going to happen and for how long. At some point, in the middle of the climb, if you do not feel you are able keep going, you have an opportunity to come back down with another guide.
The hill was surrounded by plants and sometimes we felt like going through the maze! But the higher you got the less green it is. At the end we were climbing through the sand and going a spiral route through the rocks! And this bit was the scariest for me! I tried not to look down and a conversation with a two nice French ladies climbing with us helped a lot!
When we reached the top we were both proud and happy! The afternoon walk is better than the morning one, as you are able to see the sunset, covered by the volcanic cloud, but still beautiful. The spectacle itself is absolutely amazing! You are standing at the top and looking down, into the heart of the volcano, observing the flames dancing in the air, and the fire coming up and down, all the time!
We have stayed for about 30 minutes, watching breathlessly. It was getting really cold and dark, so warm clothes and headlights were absolutely essential. I was happy and trilled! We both were!
The way back is through other side of the volcano and you are basically sliding through the sand, like you were skiing! It took us about an hour to get back down, in a pitch dark. So the headlights were very handy.
A word of advice:
– If you want to climb Stromboli, please, do it with the guide, as climbing on its own to the top is not permitted.
– The cost of this will be about 30 euros, but if you have never done it before – absolutely worth it!
– Please, if you can, climb in the afternoon, to give yourself a chance to watch the sunset.
– Pack some warm cloths and something you can change your sweaty shirt at the top. When the sun disappeared the temperature was going down rapidly.
– Trekking boots and headlights are absolutely essential. You will be given a helmet and a face mask, as during the way down the volcanic sand creates a cloud and you might end up inhaling it!
– Marcin and I decided to rent some walking sticks and it was one of the best decisions ever! They were so helpful during the climb and ascending and totally worth 4 euros! Just one is enough to help you enormously!
– Of course – water and some snacks will help as well. After all this is a physical activity and you need to help your body.
We did climb with Magmatrek and we were really happy with our guide, so I would recommend them. The best is to reserve online at least a day before you are planning your excursion.