Lipari East Coast – Italian Sea Kayaking

Our second day on Lipari, started with a paddle north to beach at Porticello.  On the way we passed the significant remnants of the pumice quarrying industry, which must have had a significant impact on the economy of the island when they closed.  Their closure was linked to the Aeolian Islands being granted World Heritage Site status.

Heading north along the east coast of Lipari, with the distinctive cone of Stromboli in the distance.
The old workings, part of the huge pumice quarries, which dominate the north east corner of the island.
Kayaks on the beach at Porticello, close to the abandoned workings of the pumice quarry.

The afternoon was spent climbing to the summit of Monte Pilato, which gave superb views across the other islands of the archipelago.  In addition it gave us our first views of Etna, which had remained shrouded in cloud since we arrived on the islands.

Just below the summit of Monte Pilato. From the top there were exceptional views in all directions.

The following day we headed south in an increasingly strong westerly wind but were able to gain shelter from the high land.  Amazingly just as we were about to cross the harbour at Lipari Town, we were stopped by the Coast Guard and told that we couldn’t cross the harbour.  We would have to go around the west of the Island.  This was a 13 nautical mile detour along the base of high cliffs, most of which would have been exposed to an onshore force 5 wind.  All we wanted to do was paddle 200 metres across the bay.
We explained that going all the way round to the west wasn’t an option but the Coast Guard remained adamant that we couldn’t cross the harbour.  We remained adamant that his detour wasn’t an option.  Eventually he agreed that we could cross the harbour but had to mover further offshore. Bizarrely into stronger winds and with greater exposure to the path of the fast ferries.  We did have to question his judgement as a supposed professional mariner.

Paddling past the citadel of Lipari town, towards the end of our enforced detour.
Evaluating the sea conditions close to Punta del Crapazza prior to crossing into Vulcano.
One of the numerous fast ferries which run between the islands and Sicily.  It is vital to keep an eye open for such craft and to anticipate their potential route.  Kayak defensively.

Our final short crossing to Vulcano proved to be reasonably entertaining.  The westerly wind was pushing a reasonable sea through the gap between the islands.  It provided the opportunity for a bit of surfing as our course turned parallel to the coast.  All that remained was the final short paddle back to Sicily in Kayak to return our kayaks.

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