SUP Adventures in the Mediterranean: SICILY


Sicily is another paradise of our Mediterranean. I think we do not value enough the beauty of our own sea and the great heritage of our culture. Our old continent Europe.

The arrival in Sicily was somewhat tumultuous, the island was on fire, the Catania airport was on fire, several parts of the island were transformed into ashes and others were still bright red with some very bright fires still devastating the land. It hurt me a lot to see those fires devastating those beautiful pine forests and old towns. The first two days I couldn’t paddle due to the delays caused at the airport, but I took the opportunity to drink one of my favorite coffees: the Italian ristretto and visit the beach of the town where I stayed the first night.

My first sunrise paddling was Scopello, the sea was calm even gently waking up and the crystal clear water had not yet arrived to disturb my moment with My Mediterranean that I love so much and the sun had just emerged from the horizon. What else to ask for was pure peace! An immense tranquility that morning without negativity that I needed more than ever that day. Traveling and adventuring without exact direction or pressure is part of the traveler’s ritual. The now, the adaptation, the accommodation to situations and that no nonsense spoils a trip that has to be joy, peace, love for the sea, for sport, for getting lost on the horizon. The silence, the solitude that only a natural environment without people, without cars, without city noises can offer you, a meeting place with yourself and the four aimless elements.

In Scopello I was so amazed that I barely rowed about 15km that sunrise had given me so much peace that I didn’t want to row anymore but rather pause. Later when the daze passed (it was still very early and Sicily was still sleeping) I went to Cornino. What aquatic beauty, crystal clear waters with no impurities, you could perfectly see the bottom up to about 6 or 7 meters, very transparent from my board and not at all contaminated. I spent about 5 hours paddling around the Monte Cofano nature reserve, paddling first through the eastern part of Cornino Bay to reach the Sarceno point and the Cofano Tower. That area is also spectacular.

I adore the heritage that our ancestors have left us in the Mediterranean, whether Romans, Moors, Sicilians, Greeks, any ethnic group, any monument, any corner seemed incredibly beautiful to me. Despite having traveled the world, everything always brings me back to my Andalusia and the Mediterranean. Obviously, Sicily is very similar to some areas of Andalusia with its olive trees, lemon trees and ceramics, that magical smell of summer and that heavy but addictive heat if you are at the sea.

My next destination was Maddalusa where I stayed three nights and made the most of it to row, eat, sleep and repeat. I was very lucky to meet Massimo, Corleone and other mythical characters from the island. They had something between mafia and charm that made me fall in love with Sicily even more. They told me stories so fascinating that it seemed like I was in the Godfather movie. For those who know me, I am not looking for tourism or popular places but rather as remote as possible and away from the cities. I love fishing villages, nature reserves and cliff areas, I look for the authenticity of each country. It is true that I saw magical places, but sometimes what makes a place magical is not only its landscape but also its people (the locals) and here, in the interior and in the south I could feel that authentic Sicilian feeling.

The Punta Bianca nature reserve was impressive and at the same time very physical since I was paddling for almost 8 hours because the wind turned and blew strong enough to slow me down. When you have a day that you think everything is going to turn out great and that you looked at the wind before leaving but suddenly the Mediterranean with its peculiar character decided to make your routine a little more turbulent, but that made that day even more special: battling the Sicilian waters.

That night when I returned I was very tired and dehydrated, but I met a mother and her daughter who were traveling and who had Lupus like me and I don’t know how we ended up renting a boat to have a calmer day and be together talking about our medical miseries. We went north, I became great friends with the captain, so much so that he let me take the boat, it was so much fun. I speak broken Italian, he spoke close Sicilian and these two girls from Latin America were linguistically hilarious. We went to Punta Piccola and the famous scala dei Turchi to Capo Rossello. The scala dei Turqui is a very special place and changes a lot from the Mediterranean style since it is a very white rock formation that contrasts greatly with the rest of the island. In the evening, Massimo invited us to a piece of typical dinner from the area and it was “deliciozo, che spectacolo, maraviglia, mamaaa mia!

But Sicily was still on fire and the wind was not helping to calm that problem and when I thought I would no longer be able to row I suddenly saw from my balcony some super glassy waves so I did not hesitate for a second to go down to the beach and spend two hours pure enjoyment and enjoying that place with views of the Valle dei Templi until it became very bad and itchy. So I have a good breakfast with Mrs. Suzi and “farniente” the rest of the day. I was getting a kick out of the “farniente” thing, especially after having surfed perfect waves for two hours as if I had earned it and the wind made being in the pool super light in that summer heat.

My route had to continue, the fire and the wind also continued unfortunately but I was able to reach the Syracuse area and paddle very early in the morning until at 11 a.m. the wind arrived and the sea became unbearable and dangerous but still Starting at 5 o’clock in the morning, I had time to row for about 6 hours and see a lot: I loved the Castello Maniace, it was protected by a kind of underwater wall and later on in the Di Priolo area I enjoyed it a lot, not because it was very beautiful but because I found myself with a group of people who came to meet me and were waiting for me on the beach because they were following my adventures. It’s super nice when someone comes up to you and says: Sei la Coco! With that little Sicilian accent “I came with noi, we abbiamo qualcosa di pronto per te” and you leave the things and there you end up in a beach bar at a table with all the best food in Sicily and a family that knows you from your last adventure in the 600km of Sardinia and that Corleone had mentioned my name to that family. A whole food festival and non-stop laughter until the night. We got fine!

The lady Antonella with whom she lived told me that she should go to a country house that her parents have to go see Etna and since the wind was very strong it was a luxury for me to go there. Spectacular! Etna in front of me under the porch of a traditional Sicilian house, an artisanal limoncello made by them and the leaves of the vineyard acted as a frame as if what I saw was a painted picture. It smelled like summer, the birds were singing, the chicharros in the afternoon announcing another heat wave, in the distance the flames and hoping that they would not reach us and half-Andalusian and Italian conversations, we understood each other with words or gestures, the children playing with slingshot hitting empty canned goods. I felt so welcomed that I was one of the Sicilian family.

But it was time to say goodbye and go to my next destination: Malta!

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