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Trip round the Island of Elba in Sea Kayak Print E-mail

Trip round the Island of Elba in Sea Kayak

 Giro Elba in Kayak

Trip round the Island of Elba in sea Kayak in 7 stages.

Our guide, apart from guaranteeing your safety, will show you the marvels of the Island coast.

 
 Elba Elba with its 147 km of exceptionally varied coast, rich in grottos and stupendous coves, is an ideal place for sea Kayaks.  As we paddle round Elba, because sea kayaks are easily manageable and can go in low water, we will enter secluded bays The sea kayak is a type of closed canoe, which is fast and stable, it was developed for long trips in the sea.  During our silent navigation, we’ll get near to seagulls, cormorants and “marangoni” (a local variety of cormorant)  and more rarely we’ll observe shoals of tuna and whales.  It isn’t necessary to be an athlete to take part in the trip, it is however fundamental to have group spirit and the ability to adapt, respect nature and have a love of the sea.
 2016 dates 11/19 June
02/10 July
16/24 July
30 July/7 August
13/21 August
03/11 September
01/09 October
other dates on request
(min. 4 pax)
 
 Price: € 550 per person (€ 650 15th August )

The package includes: 7 days of guided excursion in the sea, 2 overnight stays in a camp site + bivouacs, Kayak and equipment, return passenger ferry ticket, all transfers on Elba (until 8 persons), insurance, technical assistance during the excursion.
The package does not include: the return trip from place of departure to Piombino, any return ferry passage for cars, all meals, extras and anything not specified in the entry “The package includes”.  There are a maximum of 8 people per group.

Programme:

Saturday

Arrival, transfer and overnight stay in a camp site at Marina di Campo.
Sunday 1st leg – overnight stay in bivouac.
Route: Marina di Campo – Acquarilli. Kilometres of 1st Leg 20.  Total km 20.
Monday 2nd leg – overnight stay in bivouac.
Route: Acquarilli – Laghetto Terranera. Kilometres of 2nd Leg 25 – Total km 45
Tuesday 3rd leg - overnight stay in bivouac.
Route: Laghetto Terranera – Mangani. Kilometres of 3rd Leg 25 – Total km 70.
Wednesday 4th leg - overnight stay in bivouac.
Route: Mangani – Lamaia. Kilometres of 4th  Leg 25. Total km 95
Thursday 5th leg - overnight stay in bivouac.
Route: Lamaia – S. Andrea. Kilometres of 5th Leg 20.  Total km 115.
Friday 6th leg - overnight stay in bivouac.
Route: Sant’Andrea – Le Tombe.  Kilometres of 6th  Leg 15. Total km 130.
Saturday 7th leg – overnight stay in camp site at Marina di Campo.
Route: Kilometres of 7th Leg 16.  Total km 146.
Sunday Departure.
   
 
Description of trip: this is the “ship’s log” of one of the seven stage trips last year, hopefully it will give you a realistic idea of what is possible during a week round Elba in Kayak.
Naturally, every trip has its own story, route and direction; the length of the legs varies, depending on the weather conditions and the temperaments and needs of each group.
 Giro isola d'Elba in kayak Saturday afternoon the minibus with “IL VIOTTOLO” on the bonnet comes to get us as soon as we have disembarked at Portoferraio harbour, there are three of us on the minibus, the other five participants have already arrived on the Island and are waiting for us at the camp site, after a twenty minute drive we get to the camp site, we are accompanied to our camping place, where we find the tent already pitched by our fellow companions in this adventure, who are probably already enjoying the Elban sea.  Ruggero gives us the water-tight bags for our luggage and tents and we arrange to meet at nine the next day at the reception with our tents already packed away in the appropriate holders, the luggage in the water-proof bags, four bottles of water a head and food for lunch.
 
 Giro isola d'Elba in kayak - 2

Sunday morning: the appointment is fixed for nine o’clock at the Ville degli Ulivi camp site at Marina di Campo (La Foce).  Ruggero arrives with the minibus where we load the luggage that we are not taking on the Kayak.  After putting the tents and water-tight bags on the minibus we go on foot to the leaving point on Marina di Campo beach, about 150 metres from the camp site. The Kayaks are waiting for us on the beach, there are 5 singles and 2 doubles.  Ruggero explains where to put the luggage, the heavier luggage in the posterior holds, drinking water in the cockpit of the Kayak and he advices us to paddle with our body erect, our back at 90 degrees, holding the paddle slightly wider than our shoulders and to paddle with a long slow movement.  Alessandra gets into the double with the guide who loads onto his double all the tents, the Negri cousins take the other double.  After chatting with bathers and, of course, photos of our departure, we set out to sea in the direction of Punta alle Mete,  we are going in an anticlockwise direction because the weather conditions (North-west wind) makes this advisable.  We coast the eastern edge of Marina di Campo gulf observing the second world war bunkers, as we go ahead we pass inland of the small granite island of Portocaccamo (km 1) and after coasting the small cove of Ischia we get to Fonza beach (km 2.4), with its sandy sea bed, we pass the granite pinnacles of Punta le Mete (km 3.6) and after coasting past Cala al Fico we get to Buca dell’Acqua (4.250 km) a small grotto with a fresh water spring inside, then we go round Capo Fonza and begin to enter Lacona gulf at “Lisce di Penco” (a small natural pool between the rocks).  We get out of the Kayaks to have a swim and eat something.  After about an hour we set off again coasting the Diavolo cove and the sandy Laconella beach (km 8.250) and after passing the narrow passage at the foot of Punta Contessa we arrive in front of Lacona beach (km 9.00), the second biggest in Elba, at its eastern end we stop to go shopping.  An hour stop in “civilisation” then we take to our Kayaks to head out along Capo Stella, Sergio, the alpine guide is fed up arguing with his wife and takes Fabio’s single, who in his turn goes in the double.  It is very hot and after paddling for twenty minutes past a very beautiful coast, with the vegetation of the Mediterranean maquis lightly touching the sea, we stop on Bianca beach (km 11.600) for a couple of hours.  Nello, Patrizia and Gianluca go snorkelling, while the others doze in the shade of a small grotto which is a metre above sea level.  When the temperature begins to diminish we start out again and soon we are admiring the strange formed but striking rounded volcanic rocks of Capo Stella they are various shades of brown, purple and green and extend for a couple of kilometres and are among the most spectacular of the Elban coast, and here we find the Island’s second biggest colony of herring gulls.  We go round the Cape and after passing picturesque tuff rocks we enter Stella Gulf, the biggest on Elba and we stop in a small but profound sheltered beach to bivouac after our first leg, km 14.950.

 
 Giro isola d'Elba in kayak

Monday: at seven in the morning Sergio, Bianca and Fabio are already in the water, everyone in his own way enjoys the quiet of the morning and towards 9.20 we set out to sea in our Kayaks with the same crews as the evening before. Small dark beaches alternate with rocks moulded by the sea until the Margidore beach (km 17.750), here we stop for breakfast.  At 11 o’clock we are in the sea again, it is a very beautiful day, the light north-west wind makes the sea specially clear and in front of Acquarilli beach we dive from our Kayaks, and we all realise that diving from and getting back into a sea Kayak is very easy, after this type of diving initiation, our stops to dive/swim will be more frequent.  We paddle with a lee side wind to Lido di Capoliveri (km 22), then thanks to having the wind behind us, we head quickly South in Punta Calamita direction.  We coast past Zuccale, Barabarca, Madonna delle Grazie beaches, past the white and crumbly rocks of Peducelli and after leaving behind us Morcone and Pareti beaches we go ashore on Innamorata beach (km 28) where we unanimously decide to go and eat a plate of pasta.  The plate of pasta, in the meantime, has been transformed into an abundant lunch and pleasantly chatting, al fresco, time flies…and when we put our Kayaks in the sea it is already five o’clock in the afternoon.  After going round the Gemini Islands, we stop in front of “Grotta della Spiaggia”, (a small grotto with a narrow beach inside that can hold 8 people and their Kayaks) we continue along the coast until we get to Punta Calamita (km 30.6), with the last mines closed at the beginning of the eighties this place has a post war image.  After going round Punta Calamita we get to Bianco beach near the mines and then beach at Sassi Turchini, where among the limestone pebbles one can find fragments of Malachite and Azurite.  Leaving the rock of Remaiolo on our right, we go round Punta di Ripalti (km 33.8), here there is the biggest colony in the Mediterranean of herring gulls, it is difficult to guess how many, but during the late spring it is estimated that there are more than 250,000 of these birds.  We are coasting the Ripalti cliff, the highest on Elba, the dark rocks, that go vertically up for 100 metres, evoke a picture of a primordial world and the wild goats that live in this area make the environment even more evocative.  Now we are on the East side of the Island and out to the East is the mainland of Italy.  We get to Capo delle Brache, with Ginepro mine behind, this was the last mine to close in Elba’s thousands of years of mining history.  After leaving behind us the mine and loading pier that is sticking out from the coast, we arrive at Ginepro beach (km 36.25) where we stop for the night.

 
 Giro isola d'Elba in kayak

Tuesday: we wake up very early, by 7.30 we are all in the sea with our masks, Ruggero wants to let us see a thick shoal of Barracuda and to the surprise of the sceptics, it materializes a few minutes later.  There a hundred or so of them each about 50 cm long. Returning to the “base camp” we get the kayaks ready and leave, to head up the East side of the Island.  Today Bianca is paddling on the double “flag ship” together with the “boss” , the other double has Silvano and Alessandra. Just after leaving we pass in front of the beautiful small Stagnone beach and after going round Capo Caldo we visit a small grotto and then we stop on the small Sassi Neri beach (km38.750), to go and visit the lake of the same name.  This is a fresh water slightly sulphurous lake, surrounded by thick canes, we all dive in to have a swim and clean off the salt.  We leave and start to coast past a series of small wild coves until we arrive, after rounding Liscoli Island, at Calanova bay, another short stretch of shallow water and of stratified rocks and we set ashore on Cala Grande beach (km 42.700) where we have breakfast.  Refuelled we retake to the water and, after passing the imposing Forte Focardo (a 17th century Spanish fortress) and on reaching Capo della Tavola, we cross the Porto Azzurro gulf, and go below the ramparts of the Spanish San Giacomo fortress, now the seat of Porto Azzurro prison.  We head along the coast past the Barbarossa and Reale gulfs and stop on Terranera beach (km 54) and visit the lake of the same name, just a few metres from the beach.  The lake is in the basin of an abandoned open air mine where hematite was mined and it has the colour and smell of sulphur mixed in the water.  We retake to the sea and following the coast to the Isolotto di Ortano (small island) (km 57.250) where our low kayaks pass over a shallow area of beautiful colours.  After visiting a small grotto with its walls decorated with infinite tones of red iron oxide, we continue up the eastern coast until landing our Kayaks on Rio Marina’s little beach (km 61.250), overshadowed by the majestic Appiani Tower.  In this town of iron, even though the mines have been closed for more than twenty years, everything is still impregnated with the mining activity of past days. We stop to do some shopping  and then set out passing under the disused loading pier just outside the town.  We coast along this evocative, violently coloured stretch of coast until we stop on Fiammingo beach (km 65.800) where we roll on the sand formed of millions of small bright blades of hematite and are thus transform into “iron men”.  We continue our paddling trip, and after passing the village of Cavo and circumnavigating the small Topi island, and Capo Vita (km 71.55) we begin to follow the North side of Elba; here the coast is very beautiful and wild and the sea bottom of Cala Mendolina (km 74.3) is are an irresistible call to dive in.  Continuing we find the fantastic red diaspora rocks of Punta Rossa, one of the most beautiful points of our trip, we round the Island, another short stretch and we stop for our third bivouac at Cala dei Mangani (km 76.5).

 
 Giro isola d'Elba in kayak - 5

Wednesday: departure, after the usual morning swim, at about 11.00, today everyone has slept more than usual, a bit for the long stretch the day before and a bit because everyone has got used to this wandering life. After twenty minutes we are at Nisportino (km 78.300) and desiring a plate of pasta we stop at the typical Elban restaurant the “Battigia” the only restaurant on this beach.  On leaving we put to test our kayaking ability in a series of spectacular passages through narrow bottlenecks, shallows and arches of multicoloured rocks, only interrupted by the beach of Nisporto; now the Kayak has become a faithful companion for all the group.  Once we get to Punta della Falconaia (km 82.200) we point directly to Forte Stella lighthouse at Portoferraio (km 84.300), the ferry nightmare proves unfounded and half an hour later we are already coasting Portoferraio’s majestic Medici Walls.  The following stretch of coast is very beautiful, with a long series of white pebble beaches and excellent weather conditions mean that between swims and dives we get to Sansone beach almost at dark.  After a relaxing swim, we take a path from the beach to get to a restaurant for a well appreciated dinner.

 
 

Thursday.  The quiet of the morning is heightened by a completely flat and transparent sea, like a sheet of glass, showing the stupendous sea bed which of course invites a dip, swimming above the white rocks and thick fields of Posidonia oceanica (a type of sea grass) it is easy to see salema, , saddle bream, white bream and for the more attentive the odd octopus. Leaving the beautiful beach to the morning tourists we begin our fifth day of navigation with a spectacular passage through Faraglione degli Argonauti (called after the Argonauts, the intrepid hunters of the Golden Fleece, which the legend says were the founders of the mythical Port Argo), Gianluca, struck by Faraglione, leaves his Kayak on the beach and climbs up the natural overhung dolmen and begins to take photos.  Continuing, we begin to circumnavigate the Enfola peninsular, here the rocks become compact and rounded, nice to climb.  On rounding the Capo Enfola Point (km 92), passing the “Nave” (boat), a majestic view of the granite Monte Capanne massive with Corsica in the background, opens up in front of our eyes.  As we are coasting along suddenly, in the granite rock in front of us, there is an enormous sharks mouth, we follow Ruggero while he cuts in between the teeth of the “stone monster”,  once inside the show is fantastic, the light filters through the “mouth” and roof, where there is a wide crater. When the sea is very rough howling and spectacular geysers spurt out of the hole of the whale, thus the grotto’s name: Sbruffo (Spray).  Leaving the grotto we stop, to have breakfast, at Enfola’s small beach (km 93.5).  We set out, leaving behind us the old tuna factory building and paddle along the coast of Viticcio Gulf.  On rounding Punta Penisola, (km 96.2), we get to the small village of Forno, on a small beach of golden sand.  After passing Scaglieri beach we get to Biodola beach, one of the biggest on Elba stretching 750 metres.  Continuing we paddle below the coast, observing second world war bunkers and military walkways dug into the cliff.  Next we get to Porticciolo, (km 99.5), a small shady cove, sheltered from all winds, and because of this it was exploited as a port two thousand years ago by the Etruscans.  The northern side of the Island has thick lush vegetation even in summer, with many holm oaks touching the water.  Going round the Guardiola Point we get to Procchio beach, famous for the wrecks of Etruscan and Roman ships which sit under the sand only a few metres from the seaside.  Passing the beautiful Spartaia bay, we reach Paolina Rock (km 103.5), its name derives from Napoleon’s sister.  The intense vegetation, of mainly holm oaks, is mirrored in the sea rich in posidonia (a type of sea grass).  After Crocetta point, (km 107) we pass in front of Marciana Marina and in front of our eyes a superb view of all of the northern slopes of Monte Capanne opens up, it is green with chestnut trees, and there are the boroughs of Poggio (339 m asl) and Marciana (350 m asl).  Rounding the 17th century lookout tower, built on the rocks, to avert the population in case of attack from the sea, the coast now becomes more broken and granite rocks accompany us to the overpowering Punta del Nasuto, (km 109.25).  The island of Capraia to the north and the northern part of Corsica to the west fill the horizon while the transparent water below Ripa Barata (cliff) invites a swim.  We take off again and after a few minutes the sea below our Kayaks is brought to life by a big shoal of sardines, whose long bodies, intermittently reflect the sun.  Rounding Punta della Gioma, (km 112), we paddle through an area where it is easy to sight whales: they often come alongside and it is really emotional to admire these marvellous Cetaceans who swim silently and elegantly only a few hundred metres from the coast, signalling their presence with spectacular sprays.  After a few challenging parts between splendid forms of granite rocks we get to Cotoncello, the sea is crystal clear exalting the large round pebbles on the sea floor, and then under the eye of the seemingly distracted Corsican Gull, a rare species, we circumnavigate a small white granite peninsular and enter into Sant’Andrea bay, (km 116), where the sand alternates with spectacular eroded granite rocks elevated above the sea.  All this, together with the transparency of the water, makes this village one of the Island’s most famous.  We stop here for the night.

 
 

Friday – Sant’Andrea. The sleepiness and silence of Sant’Andrea is broken by kids cleaning the rocks and beach, a little later the people who run the beach bars arrive.  We wait for fresh buns to arrive and after a classic and abundant Italian breakfast we begin our second last leg with curious early bathers watching us.  Rounding Sant’Andrea point, we paddle round the “granite whale”, and are blinded by the brilliant granite walls of indefinable forms above us, we get to “Grotta del Papa” (Pope’s grotto).  There is a very narrow entrance only a little wider than a kayak making it difficult to enter, but once inside the space is surprisingly vast, all our kayaks fit.  The half darkness, the multi-coloured incrustations on the rocks, along with the water infiltration make this grotto particularly striking.  Ruggero suggests going snorkelling with the underwater torches, starting in the grotto’s principle room.  We “park” the kayaks and four at a time we go underwater winding our way through a labyrinth of more or less dark channels, with light filtering in from strange corners causing designs to appear on the water and on the granite walls, there are figures of sometimes blinding light.  After this unscheduled psychedelic stop, which is only possible with calm sea, we set out again on our paddle trip and arrive at Cala della Cotaccia, (km 119), one of the most beautiful bays on the Island,  the crystal clear sea is lit by the imposing white granite that encompasses the bay both above and below the water surface.  The majestic granite cliffs decorated with orthoclase crystals and inlaid with salt accompany us to Punta Polveraia beach (km 12.5), where the granite is interrupted by dark thermo-metamorphic rocks, telling us about another important chapter in the complex geologic birth of Elba.  As we are rounding the dark Punta Polveraia, we admire the white lighthouse above us, an elegant building with a lantern on top, which every night intermittently lights the salty marine gloom, and acts as a precious reference point for navigators in the Corsican channel.  Passing in front of Patresi beach we attract the attention of some bathers, who on mattresses or in rubber boats are keen to ask us questions.  Proud to be of such interest, we leave and round the Fornace point, paddling only a few metres from the long dark beaches at Campolofeno, behind we can see a small colony of Corsican sea gulls.  We are at the extreme west of Elba and this is the most exposed point of the whole trip, impassable with ponente (west) wind.  After rounding Punta Nera, ( km 123.75), we land on Felci beach, have a break, which we all use for snorkelling.  After a short siesta we start out again and round Punta Limonaia, (km 124.5), and admire the village of Chiessi, with its small white houses, stretched out on smooth granite rocks which dive into the sea like a disenchanted tourist of old.  With the bow of our kayaks pointed south we get to Pomonte, a small village where there was once a Roman port, behind the village we see Pomonte valley, the largest on Elba, with its green vineyards contrasting with the surrounding rocks and Monte Capanne, the highest summit on Elba (1019 m.).  On Pomonte beach (km 127.5) we again park our kayaks and go to visit this village, taking advantage of the possibility of doing the shopping for dinner.  On returning to the beach we get ready for a dive to the wreck near the Ogliera rock.  We leave, with on our left, Pomonte’s only fishing boat lying on the eastern border of the beach, every night it leaves here for a few hours.  We round the Argentera Point (once silver was mined here) and in the quiet of twilight we near the black Tombe beach.  The warm sunset fires the chalcopyrite cliff walls that descend disconnectedly to the dark line of the beach and as the sun goes down behind the silhouette of Corsica, we land at Cala dell’Alga (km 130.3), a protected cove to bivouac for the night; we have returned to the southern side of Elba, on the horizon are the outlines of the Islands of Pianosa and Montecristo and, while the first stars light up, we get ready to sleep.

 

Saturday. The slow awakening after a night passed telling stories around the fire is sharpened by the classic swim before departing.  After putting the kayaks into the sea we leave, accompanied by the reflections on the dark rocks, which mixes with the cobalt blue of the deep sea. Rounding the green Punta di Fetovaia, (km 132.5) we follow the gorge like coast to the beautiful white beach, one of the most tourist haunted beaches on the island.  We don’t stop but allow ourselves a dip in the emerald sea.  We leave Fetovaia bay, having impressed on our memory the paradisiacal but “virtual” image of the beach without sunshades, we continue towards the East, coasting the white smooth granite rocks till we get to the Piscine: beds of ancient granite quarries only a few metres from the water’s edge now filled with sea water.  Passing Ghiaieto we get to the small beach at Seccheto, (km 135.8), where we land for a lunch break.  Seccheto is different from Fetovaia and Cavoli, where the houses are recent and are in fact tourist accommodation, Seccheto is a real town, whose origins are lost in the nights of time, up to 30 years ago it was inhabited by farmers and stone masons, who with the development of tourism have moved into that business.  Overshadowed by the dryness of the southern slopes of Monte Capanne, we leave the bay of Seccheto and coast among sinuous rocks and enter Cavoli gulf.  Despite a big crowd of people, the bay remains charming, above all the transparency of the sea make our kayaks seem suspended.  We paddle with the outlines of the Islands of Montecristo and Giglio on our right and get to Grotta Azzurra, (km 137.8).  The entrance is wide, so we take the opportunity of enjoying the pleasant freshness of the grotto and have a look at the bases of big stalactites and stalagmites, unfortunately destroyed by man’s stupidity, we circumnavigate the small internal island and as we head out our attention is drawn to the light filtering inside, designing on the white rocks the everlasting movement of the sea.  Playing among the rocks we get to Colle Palombaia beach, the only beach on the island that is growing.  Further on we discover why: in this stretch the coast is very crumbly and the rubble landing in the sea is transported, by the current, onto the beach.  On getting to Libreria we stop on Monte Turato beach, surrounded by rocks that are perfect for diving.  The heat, the beautiful sea and the lack of desire to re-enter “civilisation” dilates time and when lazily we revive the sun is already disappearing from the bay.  Granite rocks return as we round Capo Poro (km 142.4), above us dominating the yellow cliffs is the lighthouse which forecasts our imminent entry into Marina di Campo gulf.  Among the granite, which has become even more striking in the twilight, Ruggero shows us the Grotta del Vescovo, which is even more interesting because it has a double entrance, of course this means we have another trip round it.  The last grotto we see is Bue Marino, the islanders’ name for the now disappeared monk seal.  We round Punta Bardella, (km 143.4) and enter the Galenzana gulf – a natural bay exposed to the East within the Marina di Campo gulf, the latter is exposed to the South-East – and so Galenzana is sheltered from all wind conditions.  Its waters are calm and shallow so very warm, it is a very important environment for marine reproduction, further “bagnolo”, a large rock which appears at low tide, makes it particularly striking.  Paddling on the shallow waters of Galenzana we get to the two Salandri beaches, then we navigate below the fascinating  walls of Marina di Campo’s lookout tower.  It is evening when we land on Campo beach (km 146.2).  After seven intense days of kayaking, we have the great satisfaction of having brought to completion our “task”, and we feel a little envious of the of the next trip’s participants.

 
 

Sunday is the day of departure, towards 11 o’clock the minibus comes to the camp site and takes us to Portoferraio port: we embark for Piombino and thus even this holiday is finished.

Organisation: What we provide: the sea kayak and the necessary equipment (splash covers, life jackets, paddle), 2 waterproof bags, the tent, a first aid kit.
What to bring: the minimum that is necessary: every participant will be given two 18 litre waterproof bags for their luggage (which fit in the kayak’s holds).  A torch (a head torch is fine), a pair of sandals or trainers, high protection sun cream, hat or headscarf, sunglasses, swimwear, a couple of t-shirts, a sweatshirt for the evening, the minimum necessities for personal hygiene.  If you bring your own sleeping bag, it mustn’t be bulky, a lightweight summer sleeping bag is more than sufficient.
Cycling gloves are a good idea to avoid problems of blisters on hands.  Goggles and flippers stay outside the watertight bags, as does the bottles of water.  We supply special watertight containers for cameras and video equipment but there is a risk when opening them up to use the equipment.  However, if you don’t want to risk using this equipment from the kayak you can take beautiful photos during the stops. For practical and conservation reasons food will be bought on a day to day basis during the stops in tourist spots.
   Info: +39 0565 978005 -  info@ilviottolo.com
 
Il Viottolo S.r.l. Escursioni Elba - P.Iva 01588800498 - Mob. +39.329.7367100
I pacchetti che comprendono servizi guide ambientali Elba, soggiorni alberghieri e trasferimenti secondo quanto previsto dalle normative vigenti,
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