In order to enter Sicily we all had to have our 3rd COVID test since the two days prior to leaving the U.S. and we all tested negative. Yay!

Since we were at anchor, we had to tender into the island of Lipari. After a coffee and short bathroom break, we boarded our own small boat headed for the island of Salina. We were in the Aeolian Sea and passed some volcanic islands. After arriving at Salina we enjoyed a bus ride through the mountainous countryside to a caper farm and winery owned by Rito Caravaglio. He first showed us through his winery.  We then saw large racks with capers drying on the family’s large inviting patio.

Since a windstorm seemed to be coming up, the OAT members helped the family stack the racks of capers. That included the women. We then chatted with his daughter, who has her own restaurant on the island and also teaches school. We helped her prepare a luncheon feast for us. We were supposed to help with some aspect of the wine production after lunch but there was a slight mix-up and we just enjoyed each other’s company instead.

After the boat ride back to Lipari, where some of us had a nice nap, we had time to wander around. Italians in this area take siesta time seriously and practically all the stores were closed. We did find a very nice glass and ceramic gift shop. It had whole shelf of large ceramic human heads with overly-exaggerated features. Of course there is a tale: A Moorish merchant was passing through town and saw a beautiful maiden. They immediately fell in love. However, when the maiden found out that her lover had a wife and family in his homeland, she became distraught and cut off his head. The maiden knew that she could now keep him with her forever by planting the head with basil in a pot and then placing that pot on her balcony. The basil and the story thrived.

Back on the boat, we set sail for Sicily. As night fell, we went by the island of Stromboli.  Its active volcano put on a fireworks show about every 15 minutes or so.   Pretty impressive! Afterwards Lou Torres entertained us by singing and playing Bolivian songs and dancing. That night we went through the Straits of Messina. It was the only roly-poly parts of the voyage and most of us slept like babies.