Aeolian Islands

May 25, 2019 - Sea Cloud


Aeolus was the god of the winds, and he challenged us today with headwinds on our visit to the Aeolian Islands. It’s very difficult to sail into headwinds on a square-rigger, so today we opted for motor power to weave through the seven spectacular volcanic Aeolian Islands, getting close looks at the dramatic and differing characteristics of each one. Remote Alicudi and Filicudi to the west, caper covered Salina where the academy award-winning movie Il Postino was filmed, Vulcano which gives its name to the geologic feature we know today, and our afternoon landing site of Lipari, which was one of the most important prehistoric sources of the volcanic glass obsidian, the sharpest natural edge known to man before the development of bronze. After Lipari we cruised past the posh resort island of Panarea, whose partially submerged collapsed crater makes it the only island suitable for private yacht anchorage, and finally the active perfect cone of Stromboli, puffing with small eruptions every 20 minutes or so.

Most of us didn’t really have much knowledge or expectation for this day, other than the hope of seeing a little activity from Stromboli, so we were all “blown away” by the beauty and remoteness of the islands, as well as the richness of the archaeological collection at the Lipari Museum. A cold wind made it hard for many of us to have the patience to stay on deck after dark at Stromboli, but those who did were duly rewarded with a few eruptions that even included a bit of flowing lava at the top of the rim.

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About the Author

Tom O'Brien

Expedition Leader

Tom O’Brien has been leading and designing expeditions for Lindblad Expeditions since 1985. With a background in physical geography and conservation, a Bavarian heart and a Celtic soul, Tom has been one of the most passionate advocates of the expedition experience around the world for the last twenty years. Many of the local people and communities that we work with today are the result of friendships that Tom and his expedition mates developed many years ago.

About the Photographer

Massimo Bassano

National Geographic Photographer

Massimo Bassano has worked as a freelance photojournalist since 1990. His work appears in National Geographic Traveler and National Geographic online edition, as well as many publications throughout Europe. Massimo's photographic subjects know no bounds—his recent assignments have covered social issues, international travel, fitness and health, fashion, and portraiture. In 2004, he was awarded a Ph.D. in journalism from the Italian Association of Journalism.

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