The reason Cruise Operators do not offer shore excursions for the Messina Strait is because they often sail through without stopping. The Strait of Messina (Stretto di Messina) is the narrow passage between the eastern tip of Sicily the land of The Godfather, and the western tip of Calabria southern Italy. Our film is of such a sail thought between the Game of Thrones like name Tyrrhenian Sea to the north having come from Dubrovnik, into the Ionian Sea to the south on our way to Cagliari in Sardinia. We are on board the P&O ship Aurora, seen in our New England film when we did a full tour of all passenger areas. These seas are within the central Mediterranean and fall between our Med-Croatia destination menus and Med-Italy destination menu of guides and films for cruisers. The Messina Straits at it narrowest point, between Torre Faro and Villa San Giovanni, is just 3.1 km (1.9 mi) wide. That is not like sailing up the Hudson into New York, and certainly not like near touching the mountains sailing in the Fjords, but it is picturesque. As we pass by Messina on this 20-mile-long passage you will see close-up views of coastlines on either side.
On the Sicilian coast, Mount Etna can be seen in the distance, and if you’re lucky, you might even see some volcanic smoke rising. On the Calabrian side, you’ll see swaying pine trees and be greeted by all manner of fishing vessels. It is also an important migratory route for birdlife, so much so it can be an over populated bottleneck! More than 300 species are recorded in the area including several species of birds of prey, like the Honey Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Bonelli’s Eagle and Egyptian Vulture. In the northern part of the strait, there’s a naturally occurring whirlpool, linked to the Greek legend of Scylla and Charybdis – two immortal female monsters who occupied the strait during the journeys of Odysseus, as chronicled in Homer’s Odyssey. These intense and alternate sea currents and whirlpools, low sea temperature and an abundance of nitrogen and phosphorus transported to the surface from deep waters are of fundamental importance for biodiversity. The ecological rearrangement of this area simulates Atlantic conditions for species with a prevailing western distribution as well as many other marine creatures.
For many years there has been talk of a road bridge, but in 1957, a power-line was built across the Straits. Those cables have since been sunk under the sea, but the pylons, amongst the highest in the world remain and are protected as historical monuments. Arcadia‘s Western Navigation goes through the Messina Straights.
Currently there filming, on Aurora R717, the film will follow late October early November when we will repost with a picture.
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