We awoke to a beautiful sunrise as our ship, the Artemis, approached the harbor in Sicily right along side a beautiful sailing vessel, the Sea Cloud Spirit. As we left our ship and exited the marina we noticed a covering of black and gray dust over everything. Shop keepers and home owners were busy sweeping away the dust. Our local guide explained that it floated all the way to the harbor from the Mt. Etna Volcano. Today we headed up to Mt. Etna. The higher we got, the more black rocks appeared all around us…also from the volcano. We left the bus and hiked the countryside heading for a lower vent (cone) on the volcano. Jorge, Ellen and Anne decided not to take the steep hike to the rim and waited comfortably on tree stomps and rocks. We eavesdropped on other English-speaking tour guides as they gave information to their tours. Each guide had different things to emphasize.

Mt. Etna has several cones. An eruption from a cone is not comparatively dangerous. The eruptions to look out for came when there is a break-through in the sides of a volcano because these can cause rivers of lava flows. Now bad news!

We had a  pleasant lunch at nearby restaurant and watched farmers picking and loading grapes on a cart and depositing them in a chute for fermentation. A lot of hand labor is involved in farming.

We went back to the ship and later in the afternoon had a local expert on volcanos tell us all we needed to know about them and he related some personal his experiences. He then provided us with a real fireworks show of volcanic eruptions taken from his house!

After dinner that night we played several rounds Bingo using colorful Italian Bingo cards with great pictures on them. Ellen won one game!