September 3rd, 2012

Kayak

First day of kayaking

Today was the first kayaking day of the trip. Yesterday was a bit of a nightmare, as Sicilian transport conspired to make it take as long as possible to get from Catania to Vulcano. Highlight: ten minutes in a completely unlit carriage going through a tunnel out of Messina (I want to film it , it was so trippy). Lowlight: the guy taking tickets at the ferry telling me no, Ustica lines are *guestures vaguely behind ferry*, causing me to panic as I attempt to run all the way to the other dock in 15 minutes. Bonus: the skies fucking open up. I am soaked to the skin. Humiliation win: the boat I wanted as a 2 minute walk from where I started, it just hadn't arrived yet. So I had to run back.

 

Today we were picked up at 9ish at the Eden Resort Camp on Vulcano, and by "we" I mean me and the only other person who is doing the trip. It then seemed to take at least 90 minutes to get the kayaks pack, the gear loaded, and etc etc, so we got a much later start than I expected. Still, the sea is lovely, and my companion (sharing my boat) speaks English pretty well, and he said things like "The rocks look cool here" so we're on the same wavelength. We went through two sea caves and under an arch, saw an in-water fumarole and generally had a good time. We arrived at our campsite around 1:30 or so, and had a cold lunch (prepared by the people who run the snack hut on Cannitello beach. I then went up the hill to my room - I'm staying in places with showers the whole trip - while Stefano aimed to catch a bus for Vulcano so he could climb it. he failed (and would have been struck by lightning if the bus had showed): I,however, napped for 2 hours straight.

 

When I got up, he & I visited, then walked down the beach to a barbeque Eugenio was preparing. The rain came again & nearly washed us away; but Eugenio won over the wood and finally we had our barbeque and salad. Net: small sunburn (arms), blister from surf shoes & one from walking in wet shoes yesterday, plus nap and not burnt out from 3 1/2 hours kayaking. New nickname: nostro regina (the title comes with cookies brought in a special container to keep them dry). That's a win, I think.

Holo Holo Girl

Surprise kayaking surprise

Today we were at the beach at 8 for our kayaking. Breakfast was inadequate, bread and jam and coffee, nothing with protein. It's supposed to be the long day today, but bad as overcast, some rain and wind in the forecast.

 

Surprisingly it wasn't me but the guy in the back of the boat who gave out. First he said he was cold then he said he was just beat ("stinko" or something like that). We had nearly 2-2 1/2 hours left and it was just more than he could manage. Luckily there was a boat in the next bay (still almost an hour away); he hitched a ride with them, then Eugenio (the guide) got in my double, tied his boat to mine, and off we went for an hour's hard paddling back in. It was cliff faces, current/waves, and general Effort. I didn't know how to handle the tow (worries about getting smashed into the rocks) but I knew E knew what he was doing so I just kept a steady pace. Just after we crossed into the bay, we saw one of the women (Sylvana) who'd had dinner with us the other night sunning herself on the dock. I got a big "brava" from her for sticking it out when Stefano bailed. She's planning on going next week: I expect she feels confident now that she can do it!

 

Now I'm sat at the restaurant attached to the hotel R and I stayed at 2 Easters back, eating some verdure grigliate and wondering 1) will Stefano finish the tour of the island and 2) will he bail on the rest of the trip?

 

Bonus: we kayaked through a long volcanic cave that was like the MOTHERFUCKING PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN.

Reading

Day 2 kayaking: circumnavigation Vulcano complete

Well, Stefano returned around the same time we did, then said he'd help me get the double around the tip of Vulcano (where the 2000 year old, short volcano is) but that he was done for the trip. We switched so he was in the front, and the next thing you know he wanted to do the whole trip again. I told him that if we didn't have fun in Stromboli, we'd call it quits and head back to Vulcano for more lazing on the beach. This seemed to please him, but I think it pissed of Eugenio, who'd convinced himself all the problems were due to Stefano not eating enough at breakfast. I was not convinced: his fingers were shaking when he closed the hatch of the kayak and I think he had just worn himself out & was having temperature regulation issues.

 

We cancelled the group barbeque in favor of everyone doing their own thing. I would have enjoyed cards & wine with Stefano but had to catch a nap before dinner and then couldn't find him. But then Eugenio saw me and popped in the restaurant to say high just before a torrential rain started. 3 months of nothing and they are making up for it in high style.

 

Afterwards I walked back on dark streets, unable to see the puddles, so I came back with my shoes very wet. But in the break in the clouds I sure could see the stars. No idea what constellations but a lovely night.