A Luxury Yacht Cruise through Italy’s Mediterranean Islands

Sankofa Group Photo

By Robert Jordan

(Photo above, “The Odysseyers,” courtesy of Sankofa Odyssey)

It was the fifth day of our Italian cruise adventure, and our first night anchored off the exclusive island of Panarea in the Aeolian Island chain. I could hear music from a night club in the distance. The heavy beats of drum and bass mixed with laughter erupted in a flare of excitement and joy. In a few minutes I would join the fiesta. I waited on the top deck of our Bahia 46 sailing yacht, staring at the multicolored lava firing up into the starlit sky from the volcano on the neighboring island of Stromboli. Our dutiful first mate was on his way back to ferry the remaining passengers to land. But I had a few minutes to chill. This was my 14th Sankofa Odyssey voyage and I was truly inspired by what I was seeing, feeling, and dreaming.

“Wow – a live volcano! How ancient this sight must be,” I thought. Hundreds of thousands of mariners passed through here, gasping at this same sight of the primordial earth spraying into the sky, falling to the surface, and then flowing into the sea. I felt a proud connection with them, one that would last even after I was gone from this earth.

 A Luxury Yacht Cruise through Italy’s Mediterranean Islands

A sailboat travels in pristine Mediterranean waters.

The Aeolians are nestled between the Mediterranean and Tyrrhenian Seas. The chain of eight islands is Lipari, Vulcano, Salina, Stromboli, Filicudi, Alicudi, Panarea and Basiluzzo. Signs of human cultivation date back to 4000 BC. The Moors, Ausonians, Visigoths and Romans, among others, all occupied these islands during their respective eras of “world domination.” Now, Sankofa Odyssey was here too. And although our dominion would only last a week, it was sure to be one that would leave a legacy. The inhabitants would speak for years about “the Moorish-looking American travelers that came from the sea.” I chuckled out loud. “Don’t worry; we’re not here to conquer – unless you want us to!”

Our adventure began in the Mediterranean in Palermo, Sicily, a bustling metropolis of shopping, bars and restaurants. From there we traveled by bus to the town of Saint Agatha where we boarded two luxury air conditioned sailing yachts. We set sail for our first destination, Lipari, to attend the festival of Saint Bartolommeo. We enjoyed delicious seafood, live music, all night fireworks and laughter. The brick-paved streets were lined with so many cafes, museums and galleries that we decided to spend two nights there. From Lipari we sailed to Salina, an island covered with lush vegetation among the hills and posh cafes along the beach. The food on Salina was spectacular, with seafood so fresh we swore it was caught to order. Later we found out that it had been pulled from the sea shortly before landing on our plates. The two nights we spent on this cultural enclave were simply not enough.

We sailed to Panarea and later made a visit to the medicinal sulfur baths on Vulcano Island. Throughout our journey we stopped often to snorkel with the sea life, drink wine from local vineyards, dine on fresh fish, and explore the many hiking trails at our disposal. Sailing the Aeolian Islands was magnificent, and each island was special and memorable.

But it was Panarea that captured my psyche. Cherished by the rich and famous, Panarea is an island with no towns and no cars. Most of the island is uninhabited and can only be explored on foot, leaving the island’s natural beauty undisturbed. Much of this beauty can only be seen from the Aeolian sea.

The sound of my name pulled me from my thoughts to the present. “Robert! We’re ready to go!” Our first mate arrived and one by one we climbed into the dinghy for the short ride to shore. From there we climbed the slate steps to Raya, the exclusive cliffside open air night club. We were welcomed as VIPs to dance and mingle under the stars with island inhabitants and other internationals from around the world. Odysseyers, as we are sometimes called, spread throughout the club. In the convivial atmosphere we bonded under the stars to a feeling of freedom and bliss, to the rhythm of life and the earth beneath our feet.

The sight of the night time sea was breathtaking. I wanted to gaze upon her beauty, so I walked to the edge of the cliff and sat down among friends, old and new, to absorb it all. And then, as if in the encompassing grasp of a beautiful sunset, we all stopped and gasped as the volcano fired the earth’s energy into the sky once again. In that moment we realized that each of us had more in common than we had apart. And we were sharing something that connected our souls for now, in the past and the millennia to come.

About Sankofa Odyssey: As global citizens, Sankofa Odyssey sails and travels the world, not as tourists but travelers who connect, interact and break bread with their country hosts. In 2011 Sankofa will travel to the British Virgin Islands, Bora Bora, the French Polynesian Islands and to Tahiti. Click on the link below to learn more about Sankofa and their trips and treks.


Visit them on FB at http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/sankofaodyssey

rjordan A Luxury Yacht Cruise through Italy’s Mediterranean IslandsAbout Robert Jordan: Robert has captained, sailed and explored in many different places, including, Greece, Turkey, Morocco, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Belize, St Marten, St Lucia, Jamaica, The US and British Virgin Islands, and along both coasts of the US.

Presently, he has a boat slipped in Annapolis Maryland where he teaches introductory sailing and basic navigational skills. In 2005 he started “Horizons Sail Camp for kids, a program designed to use the art and science of sailing to teach young adults about leadership, teamwork, and the environment.

2 Responses to A Luxury Yacht Cruise through Italy’s Mediterranean Islands

  1. Severine says:

    Makes me want to make this trip!

  2. I have clients who are interested in a yacht charter in Italy. I am looking to plan such an event in 2-4 years. My 2013 trip is a week sailing charter in Croatia.

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