Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Amalfi and Capri

Pioppi might not have had a great appeal as a town, but the anchorage in front of it was well protected and we slept well. In the morning after a short swim we sailed off. Despite the weather forecast we had decent wind and sailing was good, in the afternoon wind got stronger and we even had to reef the sails. 

We arrived in Amalfi at around 5 in the afternoon. It was incredibly crowded with vessels of all sorts and sizes. We tried to figure out where the best place would be to anchor and decided for the W side of marine entrance beneath a steep cliff, where two other sailboats were already anchored. The day was very hot and we decided to eat on the boat and in the evening, whet it gets cooler, go into the town. The two hours on the boat were unbelievably rolly, solely from the hundreds of boats speeding by and the wash they made. We've never experienced anything like it, not the harbour that would be so busy, nor the captains that would hit full throttle 5 meters from the breakwater. We were just hoping that the madness stops at night and that we would get some sleep.

We were lucky that there was a beach in the corner of our anchorage and it wasn't far to row the dinghy. At around 8 in the evening nobody was there, we even found the people who worked there to ask if we can leave the dingy on the beach and they were quite surprised that we asked. And said yes, sure. We walked into town and the light was already fading. This is the Amalfi marina, not very large.
The whole town is built into cliffs and there are many interesting and pretty buildings.
A mural on Grand Caffe, we had pizza and a beer there on our way home, and weren't too impressed. But prices were very reasonable.
Some walls are overgrown with plants.
There is barely a room for a narrow road, and you can see vespa drivers, pedestrians, cars, big tour buses and tourists taking photos, all on it, but seemingly without anybody getting hurt.
We walked around the bend and there was another town, Attrani. To us it was even more pretty than Amalfi.

This looks like a church but actually pavement is running under it. If the space is scarce...
We wandered through the narrow streets...
... where the laundry was drying - as it should in Italy...
... and with every turn you are wandering if you're not at someone's door.
Evening ended with pizza and a beer and afterwards we rowed back to the boat. Night was not too rolly and we slept well until 8 in the morning, when the heavy traffic begun again. So after a coffee we sailed off. We took some more photos of the cliff with hotel Miramalfi under which we anchored...
... the pretty terraces with lemon trees...
... more cliffs surrounding our anchorage...
... and Amalfi itself.
This is the bend...
... behind which Attrani lies.
Then we turned W and sailed along the coats towards island of Capri. The coast is very scenic and wild, with lots of caves.
Many buildings are built into the cliffs and have different ways of getting to the sea.
We made a turn to take a look at Positano.

After short sailing we reached Capri. These are the famous rocks on the South side...
...and this is the view from the West...
... from the bay where we anchored. Under cliffs again and in beautiful turquoise water. And among hundreds of boats and even more were speeding through the anchorage. It was even more crowded than Amalfi. I have never seen so many super yachts in one anchorage. This photo was taken a bit later already in the evening, that's why there are so few anchored boats on it...
... and I had to wait quite a while to get this view almost empty of boats.
A while ago, in Golfo Squillace we fished a bright pink swimming noodle out of the water, captain thought it might come handy and we were getting some plastic out of the sea, so double profit. On this afternoon it somehow got out of the dinghy and nearly escaped, and Captain swam to get it back. So it's not like Captain forgot how to swim.
In the evening a rolly anchorage got quieter. We wanted to go on land, and the village was a bit further away, so Captain put the tubes on the dinghy, inflated them, then put the engine on so we wouldn't have to row. In the evening he went exploring many holes in the surrounding cliffs and he motored away, but returned rowing. Engine died and he was quite upset, engine was checked and serviced before we left, so it should work well. It was getting late and I was not in the mood for a long rowing, so we stayed on Heron.

Next morning though I thought that since we are leaving Capri that day, it is worth to row almost half a mile, who knows when we will come back again. So we rowed into the village, on the way there wind helped, and once there we tried to tie the dinghy to some pier or somewhere. But everything was fenced, we tried in a restaurant that had a pier and they said certainly not, the port is behind that rocks, and when we got there, there was a note that said it was forbidden to leave the dinghy there. We asked anyway, but everyone said try the North coast where the main town is. The rowing back was much harder, with wind and waves agains us and I was getting angry. It seemed to me that everything was tailored for the big yachts with the crew that would dinghy the masters directly to restaurant and then return to the yacht and wait until they were called to picked the masters again. So we had a feeling Capri doesn't want us. And suddenly, I didn't want it either. So we lifted the anchor and sailed around the island and took some photos. This is the village where we couldn't get on land.
There are many cliffs and caves there, in some you can see stalactites.
This was a crowd in front of the Blue Grotto.
And this is the view of the main town on the North coast. Even if we forgot our resentment and would be interested in exploring it, by the time we got there it was blowing so hard from the South we wouldn't have been able to row to the shore.
But, anchorage was very nice and there were many swifts living in the caves in the cliffs around it and they were chirping and singing long into the night, alone for that it was worth coming.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

To Tropea and up North

The passage from Stromboli to Tropea got to be the slowest Heron's passage ever. True, we had plenty of time, and the little wind that we had was from behind, so our speed was between 2 and 3 knots, but at least we didn't have to smell the gasoline fumes from the engine that one gets into the cockpit when the speed of sailing is approximately the same as speed of wind from behind. At such a speed we could easily bathe behind the boat without taking down the sail, one at the time of course. The sea gets this incredible bright deep blue colour when it is really deep, here it was some 1300m.
At the end of the afternoon wind died and we motored the last couple of miles to Tropea. It was already evening when we anchored right in front of the town beach. We did it by the rules, at 200m distance, but all Italian motorboats were carelessly speeding between us and the beach, also making annoying waves.
After dinner we rowed dinghy to the beach and had a walk around the town. From the water it looked nice, but only after we were there we saw how big it was. This is the rock with the church, that from the water looked like the part of the town...
... and behind it there's another cliff on which the town sits, with its old and romantic stone buildings.

The rock with the church and Heron left from it, photographed from the top of 240 stairs leading to town.
Town was full of tourists, but still had some of its old charm. We enjoyed the walk and also buying some food in one of the small local shops, where daughter was helping mom in service and mom smeared nduja thickly onto pieces of bread so we could try it. It was one of the prettiest and most enjoyable towns in Italy.

After a relatively good sleep we had to sail off in the morning, we've planned a long sail that day. One more look at Tropea...

... and we sailed off. There was not much wind, but we managed to sail most of the day. In the late afternoon we had to start the engine and in the evening we reached Cetrara. We anchored to the E of the marina entrance, so we were protected by the breaker. The town was a bit further away, and it was already getting late, so we stayed on the boat. The nigh was calm and we slept great.

In the morning we just took a photo of Cetrara, I'm sure given enough time it would be worth the visit.
We saw many of pretty little towns in the morning, I especially like the ones perched up on the hills.
Captain found a radio station that played mostly Italian songs from sixties and it played many songs I remember from my childhood. Later we sailed further from the coast to cross the bay of St Eufemia. We motored almost all the day and the only excitement was when we saw a turtle. If you use your eyes and imagination, I'm sure you can see it too. It is funny how they keep their heads under water when one is coming close, maybe to listen to the noise of engine, and then when one sails by lift their head and look like: what was that?
In the late afternoon we finally got some wind, we pulled out the genoa, and couple of miles before reaching Scario we were trotting along with 3 knots, giving us the perfect opportunity to listen to the good music without the noise of engine.

We anchored in front of the town...
... and dinghied into the town in the evening. It is quite pretty, we found a well stocked supermarket, a nice shop with local delicacies, and had a very good pizza for dinner.
Around the town there are wild hills and many old buildings.
Next morning we had to sail off. The scenery was quite beautiful, I made a plan to some day return for couple of months and explore South of Italy by car.
We were sailing most of the time, but it was lots of tacking and working the sails. In the afternoon we sailed into the bay on the South side of Capo Palinuro. It was breathtaking. It is a big bay with two beaches on either side, full of colourful umbrellas, and in between this colossal ridge with many caves in it.
In front of it there was a beautiful turquoise water, couple of small sandy beaches and hundreds of swifts were chirping and doing acrobatics in the air.

We anchored in 7m of water and captain took the dinghy and explored the caves. Swifts were very vocal about him intruding, the caves are where they are nesting.
Heron in the middle.
Swifts entertaining the visitors.

Under the N edge of the bay many boats were anchored, although sea was rather calm, I imagine there the protection from wind and waves is the best. I got this idea that we should stay and continue next day, having a little bit of a summer holiday - reading, swimming, having a gin&tonic and then have a swim in the morning before departure. But captain was determined to make a use of the rest of the day and the wind so after an hour and a half we sailed on.
The cape itself is wild and picturesque.
After two hours we came to a small town of Pioppi. Never heard of it? You haven't missed a thing. We figured that bay is protected enough for the night, so we dropped the anchor. But I was sad we didn't stay at cape Palinuro, it was sooooo much prettier.