Photographer's Note

In 2002 we were in Sicile, Italy. One of our goal was to visit the famous "Stromboli", one of the very rare volcano that is in activity.

It is located in a group of islands called Eolienne Islands or Lipari Islands, north of Sicile. San Bartolo is a very small village at the base of the Stromboli.

We made the ascension (924 meters) in roughly 4 hours. At the beginning we met a guide that told us it was forbidden to sleep at the top.

Fool we were!

At the top, we had a tree quarter crater that opens to the sea. You can walk on it and go on the other side.
It's what we did, as we had the wind coming right over the crater to us.

After a little walk of 30 minutes we were at the other end of the crater. The sky was very clear.

At night, it was really spectacular! I have no word to describe it, only some pictures. Approximately each 4 minutes we had an eruption.
Then we begun to sleep. It was 23h00.

At 24h00, we woke up. It was raining. Great! But the worse was what awakened us. Thunder!

We decided to stay where we were, as it was far too dangerous to be walking on the top of the crater with flashes of lightning around, as there is absolutely nothing other than you that can attract it.

At approximately 0h45, we were hit by lightning! In a fraction of a second we were standing, wondering if we were still alive. And the fraction of second after, we hit the ground as fast as we could. We crouched to be together and asked each other if everything was all right.

Hopefully it was!

I could tell now that when I was shocked, I had my eyes closed but it was as if I was seeing things in plain light with eyes opened. And I also felt the electrical current flowing through my toes to my upper body.
Has the lightning fall closer, probably wouldn't you see this picture...

We waited until the storm passed and begun our return trip. It was 1h30.
There was mist to help us find our way ;-) It was not difficult, just following the top of the crater so we could find the little path to go down.

After 30 minutes of walk we checked where we were and if the crater was still on our left. It was. So we continue. After 30 minutes of rough walk we stopped. We checked the left, the border of the crater was still there, but no path. We should have found it by then.

So we decided to make a stop. We arranged our self to be comfortable, what was absolutely impossible as the slope was big, with stones.
We waited 2 hours for the rain to stop and the mist to disappear. We looked down what we thought was the crater. It was not!

Apparently we took too much to the right and what we were following was a little cliff. So we ascended a little and then found the correct way.

And then after some more walk we arrived at the village, completely wet, completely tired but also completely alive!

My last words: "If a guide tells you not to go there or do not sleep here, listen to him, he surely knows far better than you!"

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Additional Photos by Sebastien Monachon (hamster00) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Silver Note Writer [C: 24 W: 15 N: 25] (60)
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