Stromboli around 1970

Stromboli around 1970: Travelling and climbing the volcano the old-fashioned way

Many volcanophiles, particularly in Europe, had their first encounter with an active volcano at Stromboli. Some remember well, how life was on the island, before the introduction of electricity and before the arrival of thousands of tourists. Recently John O`Meara (JOM), who now lives in New Zealand but once worked as a guide on Stromboli, sent us a set of slides taken in 1969 and 1970. We combined them with a few more of our own (JA), and taken not much later, to portrait the volcano as it was just before tourism became the dominant factor of the island's economy.

Although not taken in one single year, the pictures are arranged to suggest a virtual trip from Naples to Stromboli and its summit. Changes in the morphology of the craters seem minor, considering the volcano's permanent activity (in the order of several million eruptions occurred between 1972 and 2006). Even the village does not look that much different compared to 2006 thanks to strict building regulations on the island. Nevertheless Stromboli, like any other place, has evolved. We invite you to find the subtle but important changes.

Stromboli around 1970: Travelling and climbing the volcano the old-fashioned way
Leaving Naples: The famous Eolo is the smaller, nearer ship! (1970, JOM).
Stromboli around 1970: Travelling and climbing the volcano the old-fashioned way
Waiting for the evening departure (1972, JA).
Stromboli around 1970: Travelling and climbing the volcano the old-fashioned way
Unexpected eruption of Eolo's vent prior to departure (1974, JA).
Stromboli around 1970: Travelling and climbing the volcano the old-fashioned way
Approaching Stromboli from the North (1974, JA).
Stromboli around 1970: Travelling and climbing the volcano the old-fashioned way
Waiting for disembarkment off the beach of Ficogrande (JOM 1970).
Stromboli around 1970: Travelling and climbing the volcano the old-fashioned way
People and goods are ferried ashore (1970, JOM).
Stromboli around 1970: Travelling and climbing the volcano the old-fashioned way
Two story house in San Vincenzo (1969, JOM).
Stromboli around 1970: Travelling and climbing the volcano the old-fashioned way
Hardly any scooter traffic in those days! (1970, JOM).
Stromboli around 1970: Travelling and climbing the volcano the old-fashioned way
The church of San Vincenzo from the NW (1970, JOM).
Stromboli around 1970: Travelling and climbing the volcano the old-fashioned way
Houses near the church of San Vincenzo (1970, JOM).
Stromboli around 1970: Travelling and climbing the volcano the old-fashioned way
Piscità. Camping was, in those days, still permitted (1970, JOM).
Stromboli around 1970: Travelling and climbing the volcano the old-fashioned way
Lava flow entering the sea at the bottom of Sciara del Fuoco (1970, JOM).
Stromboli around 1970: Travelling and climbing the volcano the old-fashioned way
Hiking from San Bartolo towards Labronzo: The start of the climb! (1970, JOM).
Stromboli around 1970: Travelling and climbing the volcano the old-fashioned way
Arrival on Pizzo! Northeast crater is emitting a lot of steam (1970, JOM).
Stromboli around 1970: Travelling and climbing the volcano the old-fashioned way
Ash eruption from SW crater, photo taken in the morning (1970, JOM).
Stromboli around 1970: Travelling and climbing the volcano the old-fashioned way
Central crater and hornito as seen after descending to SW crater (1970, JOM).
Stromboli around 1970: Travelling and climbing the volcano the old-fashioned way
Standing dangerously close: On the limb of SW crater (1970, JOM).
Stromboli around 1970: Travelling and climbing the volcano the old-fashioned way
After an eruption of SW crater, photo taken from Pizzo (1970, JOM).
Stromboli around 1970: Travelling and climbing the volcano the old-fashioned way
Eruption of central crater, behind, and glowing SW crater, foreground (1972, JA).
Stromboli around 1970: Travelling and climbing the volcano the old-fashioned way
Classical, "strombolian" eruption of SW crater (1970, JOM).
Stromboli around 1970: Travelling and climbing the volcano the old-fashioned way
Nighttime eruption of NE crater and its small lateral vent (1972, JA).
Stromboli around 1970: Travelling and climbing the volcano the old-fashioned way
Dawn eruption of NE crater, "good" wind blows the smoke away from us (1972, JA).
Stromboli around 1970: Travelling and climbing the volcano the old-fashioned way
Much too close to be safe! On the limb of SW crater (1972, JA).
Stromboli around 1970: Travelling and climbing the volcano the old-fashioned way
Remarkable sulphur deposits on the inner walls of SW crater (1972, JA).
Stromboli around 1970: Travelling and climbing the volcano the old-fashioned way
«Valley of the Moon», between Pizzo and Vancori (1970, JOM).
Stromboli around 1970: Travelling and climbing the volcano the old-fashioned way
Descending after a night on Pizzo (1970, JOM).
Stromboli around 1970: Travelling and climbing the volcano the old-fashioned way
Through the reed vegetation, towards Scari (1970, JOM).
Stromboli around 1970: Travelling and climbing the volcano the old-fashioned way
Departure scenes: Eolo is approaching (1974, JA).
Stromboli around 1970: Travelling and climbing the volcano the old-fashioned way
Looking back towards Stromboli from the SW (1970, JOM).
Stromboli around 1970: Travelling and climbing the volcano the old-fashioned way
Time takes its toll: fungus growth on old slide (1970, JOM).
Some final remarks: Descending from Pizzo to the crater terrace, and even walking between the craters, is extremely dangerous and clearly not advisable. Both John and Jürg would not do it any more these days. It appears that growing older does make you, at least a little bit, wiser.

The slides taken around 1970 had considerably deteriorated in colour and were affected by dust, scratches and fungus (see last photo). Modern image processing software made correction of these defects relatively easy. We did not, however, remove houses, people or craters... Special thanks to John O`Meara for providing the imagery and to Tony Compton for his help in data transfer from Wellington, NZ to Eglisau, CH.