A Journey to the Centre of the Earth
An odyssey to Stromboli

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This page is part 1 of a report in 2 parts, covering the year of 1998.

When I was a teenager I read Jules Verne's novel A Journey to the Centre of the Earth. His heroes surfaced through the volcano named Stromboli, in the Lipari Island a few miles north of Sicily. Ever since I have dreamed of anchoring my own yacht on the shores of that volacano. The dream came true in 1998.

Porto Cristo postcard
Alcudiamar postcard
Bahia de Pollensa postcard

Scorpio spent the winter of 1997-98 in the Puerto Portals Marina, in one of Palma de Mallorca's western suburbs. This is probably the most expensive place where we have ever stayed for a longer period, next to yachts owned by Saudi Sheiks! During the winter we made a few trips to neighboring ports, such as Andraitx, but for most of the time we stayed in port. The weather was usually sunny and dry and we took advantage of the opportunity to go jogging every morning.

On April's Fools' Day we finally set sail and officially opened the 1998 season. Our first day's destination was at the Culebra Islands, which we had visited the previous autumn with Nina and Bengt. From there we sailed up along the east coast of Mallorca, stopping at Porto Petro (where we anchored the first time, in an other boat, already in 1989), Porto Cristo, Puerto Alcudia and Bahia de Pollensa. The Bays of Alcudia and Pollensa are both open to the east and the locals are hiding behind man-made break-waters (see photos above).

of the ports we visited in the Balearic islands 1997-99.

The anchor chain on the bottom
An octopus in Bahia de Pollensa
Navy seaplane practicing
Bahia de Pollensa became a sort of home port for us during two months, when we went back and forth between Mallorca and it's smaller Balearic sister Menorca to the east. The water was crystal clear and the depths only around three metres (you can clearly see the anchor chain resting under Scorpio's bow and the octopus exploring the bottom - even the shadows of them). The navy kept us alert by practising with amphibious planes all over the place. Later at the Costa del Sol we also saw similar planes in action, dropping tons of water on forrest fires.
Ciudadela, Menorca
Ciudadela at sundown
At the fishermens' dock

In June we started on our main voyage of the season, now with our younger son Tomas aboard. Our first stop after Menorca was on the north coast of Sardinia. One of the more fascinating places we have ever visited is Isla Lavezzi, which actually belongs to Corsica and therefore is in France. The island is uninhabited save for the lighthouse keeper's family. There is a touching monument and a couple of grave yards among the strangely shaped rocks, in honour of the ship La Semillante, which sank on these shores during a storm in the 1855. It was carrying soldiers to the Crimean war in the Black Sea. All 773 persons aboard died and the corpses were so mutilated that identification was impossible. Therefore there are no names on the gravestones!

from the Balearics to Sardinia.

Isla Lavezzi lighthouse
Monument for victims of ..
.. buried at Isla Lavazzi
The anchorage at Isla Lavazzi
Postcard view of Porto Cervo
Dramatic north east coast of Sardinia

After several days in the Maddalena archipelago, where Horatio Nelson once was stationed, we moved on to Porto Cervo of Aga Kahn fame and then further south along the coast to the vicinity of Olbia before crossing over to the Italian mainland. We then left Scorpio in the marina of Riva de Traiano and took the train to Rome for some serious touristing.

of our track on Sardinias north coast.

Yes, ALL roads lead to Rome
Fontana di Trevi
Fishing nuns
Pontine Islands - This is what Mediterranean islands and harbours are supposed to look like!
Video of young nuns (?) inspecting the catch of the day on the breakwater at La Marinella.

Tomas flew home to Finland from Rome and we continued our sailing south along the Appeninian coast to the Pontine islands. where we enjoyed the anchorages at Ponza and Ventotene. These islands, off the beaten international track, were well known resorts already in ancient Rome.

of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Ischia's castle
Capri harbour
Among the faragliones on the ..
.. south coast of Capri

From the Pontine islands we sailed to the bay of Napoli and visited the crown jewels of the Italian islands: Ischia and Capri. During day time these places are completely crammed with tourists, but in the evenings, when the ferries have transported the last day tourists back to the main land they are very enjoyable. If you haven't experienced Capri in the evening you really have missed something!

Then it was time for the highlight of this journey: Stromboli!

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