14 – 20 July 2018
Sailing, Swimming and Delicious Seafood
We arrived in the island of Procida after a long train journey from Lucca to Naples, then a short ferry across from Naples. We were not sure what to expect but Procida was a delight. We meandered through the small cobbled steeets, bought a few last minute items for our trip and made our way to the cafe where we were to meet our skipper and rest of our crew for our week of sailing around the Amalfi Coast. There were 7 crew to start with, aside from us we had Josh and John from New York, Anne from Melbourne, Jess and Tom from Adelaide, and of course our trusty skipper Alex (Alessandro).
After a short briefing we headed to the shops to buy our food supplies for our trip. Alex assured us we would not just be sailing but enjoying the gastronomical delights of Italy. I was pleasantly surprised and Alex lead the way with what we may need to enjoy the tastes of Italy.
After getting acquainted with our new abode, we set sail for the island of Ischia where we moored for our first night. We were so excited to set off; enjoy the incredible coastline, our first Amalfi sunset from the boat and the first of many gin and tonics. My expectations were totally surpassed and I knew we would have an amazing week.
A few highlights:
Waking up on our first morning. I climbed onto the cockpit of the boat and was blessed with the most amazing view of Ischia. I had to pinch myself. Gorgeous coloured houses built into the cliff and terraces dotted against the hillside growing vegetables in places you never thought possible. The water was perfectly still and clear and called out to me to jump in. And that I did, as we all did. It was a perfect morning and so serene. I will never forget it.
Taking the zodiac (tender) from our mooring to Ischia for our first seafood dinner. I had salted cod (maybe not the best choice, but I had to try it). The setting was amazing and it was a good way to get to know the crew.
We watched the World Cup final in Sorrento. We found a restaurant showing the game, although unfortunately the vibe was not as expected, but we did enjoy watching France win (our second favourite after Australia).
While in Sorrento we visited Pompei. This was very special. The remains of the city are very much in tact and you can really imagine how the Romans lived here 2000 years ago. Of course it’s very sad how the city was ‘frozen in time’ due to the Mt Vesuvius eruption in 79AD, but also very fascinating to see. I was especially fascinated seeing the remains of original mosaic tiles and could have spent all day walking through the old ruins. I do love old ruins. I can’t believe how ancient it all is but the houses and city in general is not that dissimilar to what we have today. Perhaps we haven’t advanced as much as we think!
Alex lived up to his word of ensuring we enjoyed the gastronomical delights of Italy and he proved himself to not just be a very competent skipper but also a chef. He treated us to (my personal favourite) anchovy, lemon and caper crackers, a tasty tomato and eggplant dish and of course a caprese salad. I will never look at a simple caprese salad the same. He was also fantastic at making sure we ordered local foods and tried local delicacies in the restaurants. How can I forget the lemon cream gelato. Delicious, who would have thought! Jess and Tom, I hope you have the recipe after your gelato making course.
The sea became a bit rougher with larger swells as we approached Amalfi. It was good for us to learn that it’s not all ‘plan sailing’ in the Mediterranean. This lasted a few days which was interesting for a few new crew members who joined us in Amalfi; Victoria and Mike from Canada and Jill from Adelaide. We sadly said goodbye to Jess and Tom but welcomed our new crew members. This took us up to 8 crew.
We had a fantastic day in Capri. I remember arriving into the Marina Piccola passing gorgeous rock formations and taking a plunge off the boat after we moored. We enjoyed a fabulous lunch (grilled swordfish for me) before getting a ride up to AnaCapri. Here we enjoyed sweeping views, meandered the streets and had our obligatory gelato. We then took a scenic walk down to the main area of Capri. It was so busy so we jumped in a taxi back to Marina Piccola for a quick swim and drink before making our way back to our boat. This was a very good day!
I enjoyed being part of the crew and tried to help out with the sailing where I could. This extended only to throwing ropes, raising the sail and steering (which is harder than it looks). Paul was able to be far more helpful due to his previous sailing experience and he loved it. I think he especially enjoyed the bigger swells and wind. I can’t say the same for myself.
Alex treated us one morning by taking the boat across to the bay of the fishing village ‘Corricella’ on Procida so we could have breakfast looking back at the gorgeous coloured houses of the village. We learned that the ‘Talented Mr Ripley’ and the ‘Postman’ were both filmed here. I loved diving into the water off the back of the boat, listening to Alex’s chilled playlist and looking back at the island. Another very special moment and thinking about it reminds me to ask Alex for his playlist!
On our last night as a crew together we went for a seafood diner in Corricella. Walking from the harbour through Procida to the village was stunning. This place is definitely my favourite island off the Amalfi Coast and worth a visit. Our seafood dinner (I had seafood ravioli) was delicious. We even went back for lunch the next day while waiting for our ferry back to Naples so Paul could try it. I can’t omit a mention of the delicious lemon salad; again, who would have thought a salad of lemons could be so tasty!
We were sad to end our sailing trip but it was probably time to get off the boat and get my land legs back. A special thank you to Alex who made our trip that extra bit special with his patience, amazing insights into human behaviour and fabulous cooking skills. Of course he also knew his way around the boat which was kind of handy.
‘I love places that have an incredible history. I love the Italian way of life. I love the food. I love the people. I love the attitudes of Italians.’