We enjoy an early morning walk/jog on a track overhung with trees, by a farm with its orchard, vines, corn crops and cows with their bells jingling.
Later we have a surprise visit from a man and his daughter and her friend who swim out to the boat. They come on board for a cup of tea, and are soon joined by his wife. They are yachties themselves who have sailed a lot of the Mediterranean so are very interested in Impulsive and our trip. Their daughter is planning to come to Australia on a university exchange program so we hope we see her there. They invited us to contact them when we arrive in Rome.
The family from Rome swimming back to shore
It is 20n.miles north along the coast to anchor at Oligastro under Punta (Pt.) Licosa. This is another small resort town, and pleasant to walk around and have dinner. The tiny church here has a service at 6.30pm and it is lovely to hear the church bells followed by hearty singing by a very enthusiastic congregation who overflow to the many chairs outside.
SUNDAY, 31 AUGUST 2008
We take advantage of the calm weather forecast and head directly to the Amalfi coast. The marina is usually full at Amalfi, and very expensive so we can anchor outside if necessary. (We had planned to moor at Salerno marina and catch a train to Pompeii, so we will postpone this land trip).
There is just enough wind to motor sail with both sails up for the 30n.miles tracking slightly west of north. This is a lovely passage over the bluest of waters which you can look down into from the bow of the boat and see the light refracting. It is spectacular coming into Amalfi by boat seeing the colourful houses cling to the cliff faces, often looking like a wedding cake, and surrounded by steep, terraced mountains.
Amalfi - wedding cake effect of housesThe Duomo dome is glistening with its green and yellow tiles in the sun. It seems amazing we can anchor just 100m. off-shore from this well known sophisticated resort along the Amalfi coast.
This used to be a strategically important and strong maritime town. It is one of the 4 powerful Maritime Republics which in the Middle Ages (839-1135AD) established productive relationships with other people, and especially with the Orient.
We want to make the most of our time here so go ashore for lunch, sitting looking over the marina.
The Duomo is a most impressive building with its sumptuous baroque interior dating back to C18. St. Andrew, Jesus' first disciple, features here rather than Christ himself. St. Andrew's bones are in the crypt. The Cloisters of Paradise are the ancient cemetery for the noblemen of Amalfi, built between 1266-8.
It is great to have some quiet time on the boat, swimming off her stern, and drawing the marvellous scene ahead of Amalfi.
We venture ashore again for dinner at the family run Trattoria San Guiseppe. It is very difficult to find amongst Amalfi's many narrow alleyways.
MONDAY, 1 SEPTEMBER 2008
An early morning walk starts the day, followed by coffee and lemon custard filled croissants at a waterside cafe while we try our hand at capturing the wedding cake effect of some of the houses.
Views of Amalfi from above
Soon we leave for Positano, another favourite place for tourists on the Amalfi coast we have really been looking forward to seeing. It is wonderful again to approach from the sea with the sun shining over its multi-coloured houses set against the backdrop of high mountains. The tourist season has obviously dropped off in this area. We are able to get a mooring easily and there are not many visiting boats. The man on the neighbouring boat and manager of the moorings are both very welcoming and friendly. There is still a large number of ferries coming and going though, as in Amalfi, which set up constant large swells.
We have never climbed as many steps as we have here. We are trying to find a recommended tratorria, and after climbing up many stairs and lots of walking discover its 10ks away so give up and have a delicious lunch with wonderful views at nearby Cafe Positano.
We travel by dinghy tonight to the recommended trattoria, Il Pirate at Priano. This is quite an adventure to a trattoria set on a narrow rock ledge and only 3m above sea level. It has to be one of the most romantic restaurants we have ever been to, especially as they light the candles and the nearby evening lights come on.
We talk to the proprietor, Rino, who bought this area on the mountain years ago and gradually set it up as it is today. Now there are other family members involved, eg. a cousin runs the hotel they built.
Last year there were huge seas from the south that wiped out much of their trattoria, eg. they had to replace china and wine. He also explains how expensive real estate is now along the Amalfi coast as no new building is permitted - only approved renovations.
The trip back in the dinghy in the open sea is quite something! The sea is calm, though and we appreciate having this stronger dinghy and motor or we could not have contemplated doing this.
Rino tells us his life long dream is to sail around the world, so we invite him to the yacht in the morning. He is very busy tomorrow with a full booking of 100 people (we were lucky to strike a quiet night with only a few people), so we are not too hopeful.
When we get back to Impulsive we have a taste of the locally grown Malvasia wine from Lipari.
TUESDAY, 2 SEPTEMBER 2008
We ring Sam Macaw for his 6th birthday. We are always sorry to miss these occasions.
Then we set off to Nocelli, a small mountain top village. This initially involves a walk along the coast with spectacular views, and then a climb up 1700 steps. This number doesn't look much on paper but it certainly is to do it. We enjoy seeing the attractive houses built into the side of the mountain with their lovely gardens and the occasional swimming pool. They all enjoy these views.
Views from the walk to Nocelli (Positano)Many of them have orchards and vegetable gardens. It is interesting many are starting their pruning.
View of the Duomo from the walk
We came back down to Positano via another route. It is fascinating to see the engineering feats managed here with the road and tunnel constructions high up on the side of the mountains. It all looks impossible.
This exercise takes 3 hours and is so rewarding as it really gives us a better feel for the place.
Early afternoon we track further west along the Amalfi coast to moor in a marine reserve. This is a beautiful little cove but has no moorings and we are not permitted to anchor in this reserve.
We track a short distance west across to anchor off the east coast of Capri in another beautiful and isolated place. The waters are turquoise and sheer rocks rise straight up out of the water. As dusk falls all the other boats leave and we are the only ones left to enjoy this treat of nature.