Okay, I am going to tell you right off the bat, I lived in Italy for 12 years so I am totally prejudiced. I LOVE ITALY! I love the food, the people, the scenery and yet, this past July was my very first time sailing there!
On this Sailing Adventure we charted a Jeanneau 519, brand new, with 5 cabins and 2 heads. (Yes, there were a few of us aboard!) We were part of a flotilla with NauticEd that was well organized by Grant and Lauren! We had a fun dinner together and the next morning all 60 sailors (not all on our boat obviously) departed Salerno, free to follow their own itinerary or the flotilla’s suggested stops.
Around lunch time we anchored for a bit at the green grotto, jumped in for a dip and a swim into the cave! Rolly, rolly, rolly! My best friend who had come from Bari, Italy to cook for us succumbed immediately to nausea and dripping sweat. How my heart broke for her.
So, we sailed on to Positano. Lovely Positano! And it is! From the land! We’d reserved a mooring ball and you won’t believe it! Rolly, rolly, rolly!!! In addition, you’ve probably heard of the Italians’ reputation for driving! Well, they drive their boats the same! What? A 5 mph no wake zone? NO WAY! Doesn’t exist! So, between the ferries coming in from the islands of Capri, Procida and Ischia and the skiffs zooming along…. Did I mention that it was rolly? I think it was the most miserable time I’ve ever spent at anchor but this is the life of the sailor. Some good nights at anchor and some rough nights. Ahhh, but then the sun set, the temperature cooled off and the lights of Positano began to glow and wow, what a sight!
Of course, we were none too soon to get underway the next morning along with the rest of the flotilla.
We ventured on to Ischia, a beautiful, beautiful island, lovely marina. After spending the night in Ischia (at Marina Aragonese in Casamicciola) we sailed on to nearby Procida (Marina Procida) checking out some of the fabulous picturesque towns and medieval castles from the water. From there, on to Capri. Sailing was lovely. Good breezes and good company!
If you plan to sail the Phlegraean Islands of Italy there are a couple of things to be aware of. The marina prices are high. Reservations for slips or moorings are very important and to be made well in advance! On average, we paid $130 USD per night for a slip and should one decide to go Marina Grande on the north side of Capri to hang out with the rich and famous, get ready to knock out up to $2,700 per NIGHT! (Okay, monohulls are only charged about $300 USD) So, not wanting to take up any slip space from Beyonce and Jay Z, we decided to sacrifice and anchor at Marina Piccola on the south side of Capri. And you’ll never guess! Rolly!
Another concern when anchoring out is that you may not be able to take your own dinghy to shore! There often are no dinghy docks, nor permission to leave your dinghy. If you are moored, there are shore rides available but we had trouble discerning what we were able to do at Capri. So, our crew pretty much decided to hit the road (hit the sea?) and head back to Amalfi where we got a slip in the marina. It was a good choice as it gave us extra time to explore the historic town of Amalfi, eat lots of gelato, drink Rucolino and Limoncello, and of course, eat PIZZA!!!! Lots of pizza!
I think cruising this area of Italy is much more about getting to your destination, shorter sailing from place to place, exploring on land and eating wonderful dinners ashore! You can expect rolly anchorages as much of them are very open and offer little protection. Once the skiffs and ferries stop, things do tend to calm down quite a bit. Sailing the Amalfi Coast is a COMPLETELY different experience than spending a week on the Sea of Cortez where you are surrounded by nature, no restaurants, very few people, cooking aboard, swimming and snorkeling!
Exploring the Amalfi Coast is a great way to see many towns, gorgeous and dramatic cliffs and mountains and yet, at the end of the evening, be able to retreat from the tourists and constant thumping from the local discotheques (Yes, they still believe in disco in Italy!)
On my wish list is to visit the islands around Sicily! Perhaps in 2019. Would you like to hone your sailing skills, see the fantastic Aeolian islands, and eat wonderful Italian food? Get in touch with Captain Marc and let him know you’re interested. And finally, do you need to speak Italian? No… most folks speak enough English in the tourist areas, but it always helps to speak a little, and especially to joke. Italians have a great sense of humor and if you’re willing to go with the flow and understand that things don’t always function the way we are used to here in the USA, you’ll have a blast!!!
Chrissie – First Mate
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