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Stromboli

Stromboli is Europe's most active volcano. It is one of the
Seven Sisters of the Eolie Island chain (The Daughters of Fire)
33 miles WNW of Tropea, Italy, in the Western Mediterranean.

We took a boat from Lipari, through the Eolies, and around the
north side of Stromboli, past the lighthouse on the 'Horsehead Island',
and docked at Ficogrande. The cone tops out at 3,038 feet above
sea level. But the depth of the sea there averages around 3,770 feet
so we were only seeing about half of the entire mountain.

I was left with some amazing impressions. The geology of the volcano
is stunning. The Mediterranean around the Eolies is the bluest water I
have ever seen in my life. And the people who live on Stromboli are as
unique and rugged as the volcano. They know they are living on a
timebomb and that doesn't bother them. They live how they like, free
from the hassles of modern society. That is a bit more of a trade-off
than I think I would be willing to make. You want total freedom where
nobody will bother you? Live on an active volcano.

There is an everpresent air of fatalism hanging over Stromboli like
the everpresent smoke and ash that the island is constantly producing.
Everybody knows the risks but nobody seems to mind. I found that a bit
strange.

I wanted to capture both the beauty and the mood of the island,
which seem to me to often be in stark contrast. The people have a hard
life, but live there by choice. It's as if they are all living in a
self-imposed exile on a little slice of paradise, but one that could
violently cease to exist any minute.

If there is beauty in danger, Stromboli is its epitomy.

Jim Girard, November 25th, 2003 jagirard@ish.de

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