27 June 2021 | Porticello, Lipari - Aeolian Islands (position: 38 30.636'N 14 57.963'E)
Stromboli is the most northern island of the archipelago, one of the worlds most active volcanoes and the only European volcano that is in a state of permanent eruptive activity (although Mount Etna is certainly looking to be a contender right now) and naturally on our list to see her in action. It's possible to walk up to the top of Stromboli but we were more than content to just see her from the shoreline. Our biggest decision was whether we should get there at dawn or dusk for best viewing. Either way, it would mean an arrival or departure in the dark in an unfamiliar anchorage which we didn't really warm to but sometimes it is necessary to go out of your comfort zone. All things considered, we departed from Panarea just after lunch to make our way up the north eastern side of Stromboli to the tiny village where it's possible to either anchor or take a mooring buoy. The yachts already there didn't look too comfortable being thrown around in the easterly swell but it was certainly an option to consider rather than our current plan to return back to Panarea.
All the action is on the north west side of Stromboli. Yachts aren't allowed to go too close to the shore as there's a 2 mile ordinance in place for safety reasons and we all can imagine what a hot fireball may do should it come towards a yacht! Fines have been issued if this ordinance is ignored. As dusk approached the western shore became a rush hour made up of motor boats, yachts and tripper boats all looking for the best seat in the house whilst waiting in anticipation for the next bit of activity. Stromboli has earnt the reputation and it's nickname 'lighthouse of the Mediterranean' as she has been releasing spurts of lava and/or puffs of smoke every 15-20 minutes for the past 3,000 plus years which can be seen for miles.
She didn't disappoint when suddenly a puff of cloud was released into the air followed by a spurt of glowing lava. We heard hissing and thunderous sounds as it happened. In a blink of an eye it had gone, then another 15-20 minutes we saw more activity varying from puffs of cloud to spurts of lava being thrown up into the night sky. Some small, others quite impressive.
an eruption and it's the best photo taken out of several!
If you want to share our experience take a look at the live webcam - depending on when you tune in you may be lucky or have to wait around 15-20 minutes to see any activity.
Live webcam of Stromboli
By 10pm we'd had our fix of entertainment for one night and decided to return back to Panarea by following our previous track on the chart plotter. Unfortunately upon our arrival the anchorage had far more yachts in than we'd anticipated. We circled around for a while trying desperately to focus the eyes whilst wishing for the moon to show but with no lights ashore and no cabin lights on (everyone was sleeping, it was 1am) we couldn't determine the distance between each yacht to be able to anchor at a safe distance. Our stress free day suddenly became stressful so we concluded it far safer and wiser to motor the extra few hours back to Lipari and anchor at Porticello given that it's a huge, sandy and shallow anchorage.
We finally anchored at 3am. Stromboli is another highlight on our quest of volcanic discovery and certainly worth it.
Total distance from Panarea to Lipari (via an round island tour of Stromboli): 42.81 nautical miles
Total distance this season: 250.42 nautical miles