(Thane here) When we last left you, we were in Nettuno about to voyage to the islands to the south and to Amalfi coast. Our first stop was Ponza, a crowded island that was obviously a vacation stop for half of Italy. Tons of ferries coming and going right by our anchored boat. Argh. Pretty town, though.
Then we ventured on to Venotene, a cool little island that the Romans used for boat maintenance. They actually CARVED a marina out of the rock.. and two thousand years later, it is still being used… and costs $100 a night to stay in. We anchored out for free. Interestingly, there is a penal island (Stefano) about a mile away. Naturally, we ignored the no trespassing signs (couldn’t decipher them anyway) and checked it out.
Then it was on to Procida, a lovely town but not very friendly.
We left early the following morning.. no wind.. and motored about 8 hours all the way to Positano.. a town on a steep hillside that Jimmie Rysdon said we shouldn’t miss. We were glad we didn’t.
We stayed in Positano two nights.. when we arrived there was a chance of thunderstorms so we took a mooring ball.. at 60 euros it was the most expensive mooring ball in our lives, but in an hour the wind had piped up to 35 gusting to 40. We saw lightning in the south, but it barely rained on us. The next morning we moved closer to shore and dropped our anchor in 20 feet of sand. Safe and secure. And free. We found a good eating spot right on the beach.. Chez Black.. where we ended up eating dinner both nights we were there.
The following morning we motored to Capri, and checked out the arches in the rock formations prior to heading to the marina. A fun island, but again, packed with tourists and ferry boats which tried to slam our sailboat into the dock in front if it.
We left the marina early the next morning and circled to the south side of the island to an anchorage. Beautiful.
There we met the one celebrity we saw on the trip.. our American flag on the transom our boat attracted the attention of Shawn Marion, an NBA forward with the Dallas Mavs, who came by to say hi..! We we happy just to speak English! He had chartered a sailboat with a captain, a cook, (and of course his girlfriend) and he was impressed with our story of coming from America to sail. We encouraged him to learn to sail to discover the freedom that comes from Bareboating. I hope he does it.
(Brenda here) We had bypassed the island of Ischia on our way to Positano, and we were glad to have made the effort to stop on our way back to Rome.
It was Sant Anna day–the day honoring the patron saint of the island. The major event is the retelling of the time the island was ruled by the French and the English attacked the castle with bombs destroying the church among other things. Prior to the fireworks beginning that night, the castle was “afire” from the “bombs” (aka fireworks) to this effect.
One unusual thing we learned about was the Nun’s Cemetery (spoiler alert–this may be gross) which did not look like a cemetery at all. At first we thought these were unusual latrine chairs with crosses above them. A blessed bathroom with bowls in the seats of the chairs. Actually, when the nuns died, they were seated on the chairs and the fluids from their bodies seeped into the bowls in the the seats. They remained there until they were bones. The gross part is that the living nuns were brought here to pray in order to be mindful of their own mortality. Some died from exposure to the process. Strange practice.[caption id="attachment_722" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="The causeway approach to the castle at Ischia"][/caption]
Time to head back to Anzio and begin the process of getting the boat ready for storage.
Our final marina was Porto di Roma, close to the mouth of the Tiber river. I’ll let the pictures tell the details.
Patrizka has an office at the boat yard and is a boat broker. The two brothers who own the yard and work the crane are Simone and Frederico. Great people. We feel really good about where the boat is staying for the winter.
After the exhausting days of getting everything buttoned up for the winter, it was nice to have a few days to relax–or at least try to relax. Touring in Rome in 90 degree weather is not very relaxing, but it is worth it. We made it to the Coliseum this time and toured a few of the Vatican museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica where the picture of Michaelangelo’s Pieta was taken. I was also able to take in the Keats/Shelley House Museum next to the Spanish Steps. We finished our shopping in Rome including two roller cases for the airplane!
Every corner of our bags was filled, and we were, too, with wonderful new memories. But new adventures await us at home as we anticipate the arrival of our first grandson! As Ellie from UP says: “Adventure is out there!” Yes, it is. And as the movie reminds us, adventure happens wherever you are–if you look for it.
Thanks for following us on this journey. We’ll be back in the Mediterranean next summer making our way to Gibraltar.
Thane and Brenda