What it feels like being isolated?
Finding true wild islands in the 21st century seems like an impossible task. But actually, it is not if you keep being curious about unexplored places. That’s how we found Scanno Boa, a little tongue of sand in the Unesco Heritage zone of Delta del Po, in the Veneto region.
Delta del Po is a very big portion of land, full of agriculture fields, at the end of the biggest river in Italy. When Po finishes it’s way and it arrives at the Adriatic sea it creates an incredible and prolific area, where birds and plants find their heaven. It’s common, in this zone, to see rare species of birds and also Pink Flamingos decided some years ago to choose this place and to give birth to their chicks. Houses are old and the landscape seems empty.
This must be a hard place to live in during winter. The rains are strong and the fog is thick. People live their days with hard work and patience. Talking to the old guy from that place, we realized that floods are always a risk that people must keep in consideration. A big scar of Delta del Po and of the entire Italian country is, in fact, the big flood of 1951, where thousands of people died, lost their job and houses, destroyed by the big River coming out from his embankments.
Our destination, anyway, is a specific place of Delta: the island of Scanno Boa.
We start our journey from Pila, a little village on the extreme east-side devoted to fishing activities. There we found Natale, an old and expert fisher of the place. He welcomes us to his house directly facing the last part of Po. He is a smiley guy, with eyes full of experiences and a wise voice; he talked to us about his days in the open sea, with a hard sun during summer and with a freezing air during winter: fish (especially Sardine) and Vongole (typical shells of this zone) are part of his everyday life; we keep smiling to his strange accent and to his jokes.
He takes us to our destination with his old boat. We are shocked by his experience in driving through those little natural canals that divide the last part of Po from the open sea, we immediately realize that this zone is a maze and you must know precisely where to go in order to avoid getting stuck in the sand. We arrive at the little quay of the island.
This place is so long and thin. It looks like a shield naturally created to protect the earth from the open sea. We landed on the west side, as calm as a mirror. We immediately walked for 300 meters till the east side, weavy and agitated. The two sides are incredibly different and we like the view of the open sea now in front of us. The sun is shining as hell, and we need to shield our skin. Sun cream won’t be enough for all day, and we decide to build a hut. Pieces of woods of every dimension are really in every part of the beach, and it’s not difficult to find raw material for our architecture! We also find some ropes, kindly given to us by open sea, and in a little while our masterpiece is ready.
Under the shadow of a little handmade cover, we really feel like Robinson Crusoe while we eat our meal. We watch the horizon, we listen to waves, we smell the air, we are lost in a paradise!
After a deserved swim into the sea and some frisbee throws, we decide to explore the shape of the island. Everything is actually flat, and hills are really not very high. Plants seem accustomed to hard weather, speaking through their leaves an ancient language made of sacrifices and struggles for conservation. We are stunned by the emptiness and the savageness of this area, everything is so amazingly pure and clean.
After a forty minute walk, we arrive at the extreme part of the island where a very big portion of sand gives home too many seagulls. Devin dreams to fly with them while he runs on the seashore. On our way back we find the house of the only citizen of this island: the guardian. He is an old man, living alone from a lifetime in an old house made of canes. A lot of items necessary for the everyday life are made out of materials taken by the sea, the bed is made of wood, the walls are full of little oracles (actually, little items found on the seashore). A mystic? A lonely man? A peaceful guy? A non-believer in society’s rules? Or simply a faithful guy observing the flowing of nature?
We decide to come back, the sun is setting down, so we move to the west part of the island again. The light is amazing! Orange, blue, yellow and white are hitting our eyes as a kaleidoscope in front of us. Our hearts melt as we whistle in the air some light-hearted melodies. The day ends and we decide to spend the night there, we start a little fire in the sand and we sing some songs with our guitar. We dance around the bonfire as two true savages. We watch the billions of stars in the sky and we make a wish watching a falling one!
We sleep in our tent, the air is quite fresh tonight and we need our sleeping bags. The sunrise wakes us up, it’s pink is like a soft caress on our faces. We take two or three photos realizing how is not possible to immortalize these kinds of a moment. The water is fresh, and we decide to play a little bit in it before the breakfast.
But the time runs fast, and Natale is almost waiting for us on the same quay. We pack everything, we hug with our eyes that heaven and we leave. This is not goodbye.