As I’ve travelled through the Aeolian Islands, I’ve had a feeling that I’m running before a tempest of tourism that crashes over each island as I leave it. The further west I get the strength of the tempest gets weaker and weaker and I wonder if it will ever reach Filicudi. There’s something tranquillising about Filicudi, or there is about Pecorini Mare, where I’ve rented a flat for a few days, with a terrace that looks out onto the sea on either side of the back of a low building fronting the harbour jetty.
The day doesn’t start early here. There’s not a lot of point. It progresses in easy stages through the hours. Eat, sleep, swim, read, watch the comings and goings around the tiny port. Each evening, cruise yachts congregate in the shallow bay, like gulls coming in to roost, drawn by the excellence of the one restaurant, La Sirena. and a pop-up bar which has the explicit name, Saloon.
It may give you some idea of the tranquillity of the place when I say that the most exciting this that’s happened so far is that I spotted an octopus resting on a rock on one of my daily snorkel patrols in the amethyst waters around here. It was unusual because octopi are shy creatures, and aren’t often spotted out in the open like that. I looked at it. It looked at me. It flexed its tentacles. They extended and curled over the surface of the rock, twitchily fluid. It was weird and beautiful and sinister. It suddenly resolved into a compact whole, and jetted off a few feet to another rock. I followed quietly, playing grandmother’s footsteps. We eyed each other again. Suddenly my octopus became fed up with the game, and, collecting itself once more, shot off into the blue yonder. I felt absurdly pleased by the encounter. Sadly, I didn’t have a waterproof camera to record this historic meeting. For once I thought I would’ve liked to have had one of those underwater Go-Pro devices, but there’s always one more bit of bloody electronic equipment I don’t have.