Down the Amalfi coast and up Pompeii, 19th – 29th June 2015

We left the marina at Ostia on the 19th June and sailed about 30 miles further down the coast to Nettuno. Nettuno is a huge marina with room for 1000 boats! We were put about as far away from the office as you could be (1 km), luckily the showers and toilets were nearer! We stayed 2 nights there to replenish supplies and do washing before heading over to the Pontine islands which are about 30 miles offshore.

The main island of Ponza has a lot of places to anchor and we had timed it not to arrive at the weekend’s midsummer celebrations. As we neared the islands, we counted 40 yachts and many motor boats leaving. So when we arrived there was lots of space. We opted for a delightful little spot called Cala Inferno, as the cliffs are very white reflecting the sun.

Andy at the BBQ, Cala Inferno, Pontine islands

Andy at the BBQ, Cala Inferno, Pontine islands

All was well until 7am when we were moved on because the 300ft water boat needed to get in to top up the islands water tanks!

Cala Inferno with water delivery tanker

Cala Inferno with water delivery tanker

We motored round the island to view all the beautiful coloured rock formations. Apparently it’s Kaolin and Bentonite containing rocks. Anchored for lunch and a swim and then back to Porta Ponza to anchor closer to town (the water boat was still in the Cala). The bells in the town church played a lovely tune on the hour.

Porta Ponza,  Pontine islands

Porta Ponza, Pontine islands

Porta Ponza

Porta Ponza

The next day we set off at 6am (first light) to sail the 50 miles to Procida island, just beside Ischia in the bay of Naples. We had a great sail in a great F3/4 southerly wind beside a big steel ketch for most of the way. The usual gusts and playing jib hokey kokey (you reef the jib in, you let the jib out, in, out, in, out…..) but we did the trip in 9.5 hours which is not bad for a 34 foot boat. We even overtook the ketch in the last couple of hours. As we approached the bay of Naples we had to deal with a lot of traffic, especially fast ferries zipping back and forth.

Fortress on Procida

Fortress on Procida

We loved Procida island. We could see Vesuvius from our berth and the town was just a few 100m away.

Procida marina. Vaila with Vesuvius in the distance.

Procida marina. Vaila with Vesuvius in the distance.

Procida town from our pontoon

Procida town from our pontoon

The island is not as touristy as Ischia or Capri and is very charming. I even found a house with my name on it and surely one of  the world’s most scenic outdoor shower.

The house with my name on, Procida

The house with my name on, Procida

Scenic shower, Procida

Scenic shower, Procida

The town council?

The town council?

The town is built on the hill and the colourful houses seem to be built on top of each other with hundreds of steps to negotiate. People cycle but most of them have electric bikes. Procida has been used as a location in many films, including “The talented Mr Ripley”.

Procida

Procida

We took a scary bus trip to see the further away parts of the island. Very glad we did not attempt to cycle. The buses must be made specially for Procida , as they only just fit between the house walls. The driver went hell for leather, presumably on the premise that if his wing mirrors did not hit the sides he was OK!

Strangely, we found a “Tenants” sign outside one of the pubs and a “Eurobet ” shop 3 doors down. Perhaps an exile?

Tennants beer, Procida

Tennants beer, Procida

At a previous marina one of the staff had asked Andy if he drank Tennants beer (turned out he had shares in Brewdog). It’s a small world. The church bells were working overtime in this town, but it sounded lovely as we were not too close.

From Procida we sailed past Capri, admiring the stacks and cliffs.

Capri

Capri

Impressive stacks, sailing past Capri

Impressive stacks, sailing past Capri

About 7 superyachts were anchored in front of the town! We anchored for the night just round the corner from Sorrento on the south side of the Amalfi peninsula. We picked up a buoy, as it’s meant to be national park and no anchoring. The park warden did not want our money and said his colleague would come back in the evening and collect €50. By 6pm another guy turned up and said he had buoys for €30 further along. Presumably he waited to see if the park warden turned  up and then poaches. It turned out to be a horrible night, so we were glad we had only paid €30! A big swell was coming in and there was still no wind so we spent a sleepless night rocking and rolling and set off at first light (6am).

Dawn over the Amalfi peninsula

Dawn over the Amalfi peninsula

It was lovely sailing along the Amalfi coast early in the morning though. The area is really wild, with big cliffs and the odd house that can only be reached by boat. There are old watch towers on every headland, some in better condition than others.

The wold Amalfi coast

The wild Amalfi coast

Possitano

Possitano

Amalfi

Amalfi

Caves, amalfi

Caves, Amalfi

Apparently this coast was frequented by pirates,  Barbarossa (Red Beard?), being the most infamous. You can imagine the signal fires being lit in times of danger. By the time you reach Positano it is more civilised and Amalfi had several large cruise lines anchored off. No wonder, as it’s a stunning part of Italy.

Our final destination that day was Salerno where we went into Marina di Arecci. It’s logo was a swordfish and funnily enough we had seen one jump several times just a few miles off Salerno.

Being in Salerno gave us the chance to visit Pompeii.  It involved 2 trains and a taxi but was definitely worth the effort. Despite the heat and the busyness, we really enjoyed it. Having been to Ostia helped.

Pompei

Pompeii

Pompei

Pompeii

Pompei

Pompeii

The measuringbtable, Pompei. Different sized holes for different stuff. Simple but effective.

The measuring table, Pompeii. Different sized holes for different stuff. Simple but effective.

Typical

Typical”bar” in Pompeii fast food joint

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The villa of the mysteries with Vesuvius in the background.

The villa of the mysteries with Vesuvius in the background.

The frescoes in Pompeii are so well preserved and have been conserved.

Fresco in the villa of the mysteries

Fresco in the villa of the mysteries

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The 6m of ash which covered the site helped to keep buildings intact apart from roofs and higher storeys.

Andy outside a villa with the

Andy outside a villa with the “have” welcome mat!

In one of the many the bath houses

In one of the many the bath houses

There is still so much hidden and a huge effort is being put in by archaeologists. Many parts of the site were closed to visitors due to consolidation work in progress.

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Most of the time we did not even notice Vesuvius from Pompeii. It’s on a hilly site and the buildings are quite tall so you don’t get long views. It must have been a terrible shock to the inhabitants when it erupted.

Guess what, we found another Scottish pub in Salerno!

Scottish pub, Salerno

Scottish pub, Salerno

Not very authentic as the pictures on the outside were Exeter cathedral and an old racecourse in the USA. There was a massive allied military landing here in WW2, so perhaps some people stayed on after the war?

Having visited Ostia, Rome and Pompei in quick succession, we are now a bit Romaned out! We are looking forward to some Greek history later.

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