Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Rain, another luxury ship and Mt Etna

For the past 24 hours Toarmina and surrounds have felt very tropical - high temperatures,  constant thunder rumbling and non-stop rain. The sea at Giardini Naxos is brown with run off from the mountain sides.

Consequently, it was difficult working out the name of this boat - but I succeeded!  It is Le Ponant, a French luxury yacht which has had serious adventures - in 2008 it was captured by Somali pirates.

This morning's adventure was scaling Mt Etna in a huge 4-wheel drive vehicle with immense tyres.  The last major lava flow was almost 10 years ago, but there are always little eruptions and fumaroles to enliven the day.  Mt Etna is currently 3300m high - we went to 2400m.  Low cloud cover gave way to sunshine when we reached the highest permitted point.  Here we collected lava - in my case, pieces with very high iron content to use (hopefully) for fabric dyeing.
Birch skeletons


It snowed last Tuesday - this is the remnant on the mountain sides

Rocks of Etna - we left the sulphur one behind

Small crater and fumarole

"Cushion" plant growing on the lower slopes

Spiky grasses

Ladybirds at 2400m - why? There's not plant life around.

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