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The circumnavigation of Sicily by kayak, mission accomplished for giancarlo gusmaroli!

The kayak trip was completed on 4 September 2021 exactly where it started. The arrival was in Acitrezza, Capo Mulini, welcomed by the Marine Protected Area of ​​the Cyclops Islands. Giancarlo Gusmaroli, the environmental engineer, aquatic ecosystems expert and kayak master, circumnavigated the coasts of Sicily with his kayak as MEDSEA ambassador to tell the Mediterranean from the perspective of the largest island, in a collection of sounds and voices in the initiative #cantodelmediterraneo. 

The trip to Sicily began on Friday 30 July from Acireale. 900 kilometers in total covered in 36 days counterclockwise, with few stops by the marine protected areas (Egadi Islands, Capo Milazzo, Capogallo-Isola delle Femmine, Ciclopi Islands, Plemmirio ...). He also met the Superintendence of the sea of ​​Palermo and some educational and environmental centers and associations helping migrants integrate in society. The contents produced along the way, video, photo and interviews were shared on Facebook by the sportsman, relaunched and disseminated on social media by the MEDSEA foundation and by the organizations Svi.Med OnlusMarevivo Onlus and Marevivo Sicilia, partners of the project. Together with the sounds of the sea, the seabed, the wind, nature and urban centers, the collection of #cantodelmediterraneo has brought together brief testimonies of the people who live at the sea, encountered during the navigation. From the story of "Ciccio Kayak" from Terrasini that combines kayaking lessons with the collection of waste at sea, to that of the longline fisherman Sebastiano of Catania or the artist Franco Baglieri who makes trash art with waste at sea. There were also adventures, as on day 29 when, due to the strong wind, the kayak risked crashing into a rock. As well as 10m nylon fishing net abandoned was recovered off Capo d'Orlando, a very dangerous marine trash for sea ​​creatures. 

"I met a fertile and fragrant island, but also an island attacked and mortified - Gusmaroli tells his journey – from one hand I experienced the generosity and hospitality of the locals, appreciated the magic colors of the sea and the coastal geologies, from another hand there is too much cement all along the coasts, waste, pollution and predatory tourism”.  

The sea kayaker on a mission for the environment has often reported in his journey the constant contrast between cliffs, dunes and beaches, enchanted and spectacular seascapes, often "devoured by disordered and suffocating constructions, which require an immediate call for a courageous programming capable of demolishing improper buildings, before the sea does it itself in a dramatic way, due to the climate change”. And again, the problem of plastic in the sea and pollution, "plastics in water and on land, coming from our homes, from our boats, from our free time suffocate the breath of the sea and our health together with it," he says. The engineer also admits that he felt "anger and desolation" for some situations, but that he nevertheless experienced firsthand a Sicily committed to the environment, especially "in those wonderful sustainability laboratories called marine protected areas and natural reserves. ". Hence the awareness of a committed people, strong because of its past and proud of its present. 

“I found a Sicily exuding culture, - Gusmaroli continues - in the vestiges of ancient peoples and in the places of contemporary knowledge. The Island and its people are aware of being a crossroads of social routes, like those of the new migrations of recent decades, they are capable of being a home for those who no longer have one. My route has embraced this island without leaving a trace, but with decisive steps. I wish the same decisive steps will be taken by the people living here and committed to the sea and the environment. And we will be here to support ". 

The voices of the Mediterranean recorded and disseminated on the social channels of the MEDSEA foundation, can be found on Instagram from the profile of @medsea_foundation and on Giancarlo Gusmaroli's personal Facebook channel. 

Giancarlo Gusmaroli is an environmental engineer and international consultant in the field of integrated water management, of which he takes care of the governance, planning and monitoring. Born in Venice, 45 years old, he has been sailing in canoes and kayaks for 30 years. He was a river canoe athlete, then a canoe and kayak instructor and since 2007 a sea kayak master. The curriculum includes various expeditions in the Mediterranean: Sardinia, Greece, Cyprus, Corsica, Croatia and various stretches of the Italian coasts. 

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