#23 Favignana – Departure

As it already happened with the islands that frightened me the most by size or tourist influx (Capri, Lipari, Elba), even Favignana had great surprises in store.

The Gulliver sailing school, to start with, is a sailing school which, throughout the year, receives more than half of the children of the island, teaching them not only to sail (up to a national competion level), but also the rules of management and cohabitation within a structure that needs everyone’s help to exist. The legendary Peppone has been superbly directing it for over 20 years now. There are only a very few tourists’ children, those who spend all summer here; apart from them, Gulliver lives oblivious to the summer mass invasion.

This invasion, on an island close to the mainland and all in all quite cheap, attracts a lot of money. And the money attracts many interests. So it happens that the authentic heart of Favignana, the Borgo Marinaro of Punta Lunga, a true Mediterranean jewel, has for some years been in danger for the concessions requested by various foreign speculators who would throw away the fishermen from the village to fill it with yet other rubber dinghies meant to be rented to tourists during a couple of months a year. But Favignana resists, forming an association led by the smiling Norman Giuseppe Campo.

So it happens that the presence of Mafia here is strong and established. But Favignana resists. The association Casa Macondo has been entrusted with a house confiscated from Mafia, for example, where children, throughout the winter, have a safe and cultural meeting place that takes them off the road. Thank you so much to Barbara and Michele for having patiently explained all this to us, and above all for, without earning a penny, keeping this reality alive.

Then the wisdom of Maria Guccione, from the height of her 80 years but much younger than many, who told us about her fights in the past and, with eyes still almost injected with the blood of passion, explained how them fights should still be carried out: with passion, of course, but also with technical knowledge and actions from the base, politically. Writing a post on Facebook, the modern version of the concept of “fight”, serves almost only to unload personal anger. Fighting is another story …

And finally, the sympathy and obstinacy, also very Mediterranean, of Paolo Balistreri, a marine biologist who tries and tries to work on his island, where with one of the largest Marine Protected Areas of the Mediterranean it would be natural to find a job. Especially when you’re really good at what you do. I wish you with all my heart to make it, Paolo.

And finally finally, in Favignana there is the most beautiful “arena”, the outdoor summer cinema, ever in a fantastic former tuff quarry / hypogeum garden!

I forgot the fantastic hospitality of an atypical, fun, professional, absolutely authentic diving center, the one owned by Vincenzo and Ciccio, Egadi Scuba Diving. A big thank you too.

But now, after too much waiting, the new tracker has arrived and it will send my position in real time again. I can safely sail again! To us two, Sicily Channel: Pantelleria, I’m coming!


Posted on: 9.Jul.2018   Leave a comment

Migrant thoughts

Visualizzi in:
Inglese ▾
A few days ago, a few miles off Marettimo, when the long crossing had almost been accomplished, a tiny voice from Trapani was issuing a navigational warning: a dead body had been spptted drifting at the sueface between Levanzo and the islet Formica.

I heard today that in the end the body had been fished out and it belonged to a professional sailor who had been declared missing for weeks.

Useless, though, to say that my mind thought of other bodies that fill the Sicily Channel. Especially now that I find myself here too. Today they’re African, Middle Eastern. Seventy years ago they were Europeans when during World War II the channel was a strategic place for the fate of the world. Two thousand years ago they were Carthaginians, Romans.

From my humble point of view of seafarer and Mediterranean man used to sleep in camping tents or on the ground in boats of newly known people, at the mercy of weather and wind, what happens in this country seems to me more and more absurd: t-shirts, watches, Transatlantic metropolises.

What are you talking about, and what are you debating about, people?

And in the meantime, miniskirts and perfumes for men parade along the “corso” of the minor islands, arrogant, careless, impersonal, like every year, all the same…


Posted on: 8.Jul.2018   Leave a comment

#22 Levanzo – Departure

After 24 very intense hours I leave Levanzo towards the near and hype Favignana.

At a first glance, Levanzo looked to me as a place where time stopped. Time got stuck in the beauty and the rawness of this tiny white village with such a welcoming yet hardly existing harbor. It got stuck in the mystery of the Grotta del Genovese – Levanzo (Genovese Cave), an incredibile prehistoric place where Natale Castiglione, a special guy, took me.

And then, old people’s memories about the time when here more than 100 thousand liters of wine were produced, and there was cattle, and there was fishing, often all simultaneously.

And finally, memories of a guy such as Peppe, who decides to come back to his island as a chef for the season and remembers, despite being only 21 years old, those summer days as a child, here, spent in the sea all day or playing hide and seek with the tourists’ children, while today kids spend their time on the cellphone or gaming with the playstation.

Maybe, after all, time hasn’t stopped. Now spiderwebs hide a tremendous beauty…


Posted on: 3.Jul.2018   Leave a comment