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.
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!
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.
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.
We loved Procida island. We could see Vesuvius from our berth and the town was just a few 100m away.
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 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”.
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?
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.
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).
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.
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.
The frescoes in Pompeii are so well preserved and have been conserved.
The 6m of ash which covered the site helped to keep buildings intact apart from roofs and higher storeys.
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.
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!
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.