WHO WANTS TO STINK? When motoring the three miles from Lipari to the Island of Volcano we had a radio call inviting us, on our arrival, to join the other cruisers in a mud bath. Andrew was up for it but I said "No way, it stinks" the mud smell of rotten egg gas. I remember the last time I was at Volcano I gagged every time we walked past the mud pool and I certainly couldn't imagine floating in it. Some hours later the mud bath participants agreed that no amount of scrubbing and body shampoo could remove the stink from their skin.
WHAT MORE COULD YOU WANT The cruisers had drinks on the beach that night and Colin provided two lovely bottles of champagne to have with the remainder of the much talked about "Strawberries". This was a real treat, as expensive champagne is not factored into the average cruiser's budget. I can just hear them weighing up between "expensive champagne" or "boat repairs" "expensive champagne" "boat repairs" and I've been around long enough to know that "boat repairs" will win hands down - no contest! It was a beautiful warm night and a local woman came along offering massages for 5 Euros. We had our tarpaulin laid out on the sand which proved to be a perfect place for massage mania. The masseuse did quite well for herself; the cruisers were dropping like flies onto the tarp. Of course the cameras were clicking to capture the looks of ecstasy, along with one guy's moan "Oh no, this is bound to end up on a Blog Site" - I was tempted. THE VOLCANO AT VOLCANO The following morning Andrew did the ninety minute walk to the top of the volcano. It looked like a fairly difficult climb and Andrew lost the sole of one sneaker on the way up the mountain and the sole of the other sneaker on the way down. Colin and I opted to go shopping for supplies. I think we got the better end of the deal, shopping in air conditioned comfort and an ice cream by the beach, with shoes in tact.
We moved around to the other side of the island to get away from the smell of the mud bath and also to get into cleaner water. I had my first swim for the season in 24 degree water, it was wonderful. All of a sudden it is summer; the days and nights are much warmer. It's like someone up there has flicked a switch. We are all enjoying the sun, water and relaxing around the boat. ON THE MOVE On Tuesday 8th we moved across to the south end of Lipari Island next to Volcano just for a change of scenery. We had a perfectly still day in flat sea so I did some washing and cooking. The guys mucked around on the computers trying to get our newly purchased dongle to work. The dongle is supposed to supply internet access on the boat, but I have only ever head cruisers complaining about their dongles. So now we have entered the frustrating dongle world and we are not having any better luck than anyone else. That night Mark and Amanda from Balvenie and Peter and Bridget from White Rose joined us for drinks at sundown. We planned to do an overnight crossing to mainland Italy the following night. THE PLAN, AND THEN THE PLAN We planned to cruise pass the volcano Stromboli around 10pm at night and see the lava flow. If it was spectacular, we could even anchor nearby and enjoy the show. What a fizzer, we saw a puff of smoke like a mushroom cloud and that was all. However, it worked out well. You can probably guess what happens when three yachts leave at the same time for a 95 mile overnight passage. Yep! An unofficial race occurs. As soon as we left the anchorage, Andrew and Colin were planning tactics like which side of the island to take and where the lift will come from and should we sail high or low of the course. The plan was now to win the unofficial race at all cost. I don't know what was happening on the other yachts, but our sails were being trimmed to take full advantage of the 15 knot wind across the deck. We got out in front early and stayed there. By morning we were a good twelve miles ahead of the others. Nothing was said but both Andrew and Colin had smiles from ear to ear. So that's cruising! PALINURO, MAINLAND ITALY We have been anchored in a lovely quiet bay at Palinuro 50 miles south of Naples for two days with "Balvenie" and "White Rose". The town is a quiet tourist destination with sandy beaches, and tasteful accommodation. We have been into town a few times for shopping, cake and coffee and trips to the Vodafone shop to get the dongle to work. It seems the answer is - throw more money at it!
The weather is a sunny 30 degrees and the water is warm and clear. We are having a wonderful time and it wouldn't be hard to stay here for another week. However, tomorrow we will continue our adventure and sail 30 miles north to the busy town of Agropoli.
Love Candy ---------- radio email processed by SailMail for information see: http://www.sailmail.com/