The Aeolian Islands - Volcano

The Aeolian Islands - Volcano

The Aeolian Islands are a volcanic archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea and the inhabitants are known as Aeolians. The seven islands include Lipari, Vulcano, Salina, Stromboli. Filicudi, Alicudi and Panarea.

We closed Volcano as the sun was beginning to rise. Before it became too light we saw Stromboli 20 miles away and could see fire and smoke coming from its cone.

The shape of the Aeolian Islands is the result of the movement of the Earth’s crust causing volcanic activity over a period of 260,000 years leaving the islands with very fertile soil. The Aeolian Arc extends for more than 140 km but the area of geological instability caused by the collision of Africa and Europe is much larger. It includes Sicily, Calabria, Campania, Greece and the Aegean Islands. Volcano is one of the two islands with active volcanoes and was named after Vulcan, the Roman god of fire. The last major eruption on Volcano happened in 1888 which deposited about 5m of pyroclastic material on the summit.

In the morning we climbed the zig-zag path upwards to be rewarded with panoramic views and Chance Discovery bobbing at anchor far below. The crater was an incredible sight and we wound our way around and up the crater rim taking care not to burn our legs as we passed through the area of hissing fumaroles emitting various sulphur laden gases. Bright yellow sulphur crystals were growing in abundance. After a hike to remember we descended to the steaming mud pools with sulphur gases bubbling around us. After painting our bodies to resemble a tribe of war-like aborigines we washed off and took a dip in the sea at Fumarole beach. It is bathed by waters warmed by the sulphuric vapours and the water boils at some points because of the presence of these submarine gasses. This makes swimming a very pleasant, beneficial experience and one can choose the temperature of the eater in which you wish to swim. However, care is needed so as not to become a boiled lobster!

After a long, tiring but extremely enjoyable day we return to the boat and started our trip to Stromboli to watch its eruptions at night time. But more of that later!