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.
Leaving Naples: The famous Eolo is the smaller, nearer ship! (1970, JOM).
Waiting for the evening departure (1972, JA).
Unexpected eruption of Eolo's vent prior to departure (1974, JA).
Approaching Stromboli from the North (1974, JA).
Waiting for disembarkment off the beach of Ficogrande (JOM 1970).
People and goods are ferried ashore (1970, JOM).
Two story house in San Vincenzo (1969, JOM).
Hardly any scooter traffic in those days! (1970, JOM).
The church of San Vincenzo from the NW (1970, JOM).
Houses near the church of San Vincenzo (1970, JOM).
Piscità. Camping was, in those days, still permitted (1970, JOM).
Lava flow entering the sea at the bottom of Sciara del Fuoco (1970, JOM).
Hiking from San Bartolo towards Labronzo: The start of the climb! (1970, JOM).
Arrival on Pizzo! Northeast crater is emitting a lot of steam (1970, JOM).
Ash eruption from SW crater, photo taken in the morning (1970, JOM).
Central crater and hornito as seen after descending to SW crater (1970, JOM).
Standing dangerously close: On the limb of SW crater (1970, JOM).
After an eruption of SW crater, photo taken from Pizzo (1970, JOM).
Eruption of central crater, behind, and glowing SW crater, foreground (1972, JA).
Classical, "strombolian" eruption of SW crater (1970, JOM).
Nighttime eruption of NE crater and its small lateral vent (1972, JA).
Dawn eruption of NE crater, "good" wind blows the smoke away from us (1972, JA).
Much too close to be safe! On the limb of SW crater (1972, JA).
Remarkable sulphur deposits on the inner walls of SW crater (1972, JA).
«Valley of the Moon», between Pizzo and Vancori (1970, JOM).
Descending after a night on Pizzo (1970, JOM).
Through the reed vegetation, towards Scari (1970, JOM).
Departure scenes: Eolo is approaching (1974, JA).
Looking back towards Stromboli from the SW (1970, JOM).
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.