For the second part of our Italian adventure we headed to a small island off the coast of Naples to pick up a charter yacht for a weeks sailing. Our aim was to sail to the Amalfi coast and explore the islands in the bay of Naples – Ischia, Capri and our base Procida.
Procida (below) itself is small un-touristy fishing and yachting enclave full of fantastic old buildings packed on to hillsides and a crazy system of narrow windy streets. It was a small mission to get there – including a thorough telling off from the Naples ticket inspectors for boarding a tram without a ticket, but delightful once we arrived.
Once we had settled on board Zippella (below) we headed out of the picturesque Marina di Chiaiolella to headed for neighbouring Ischia for the evening. A brisk breeze soon had a heeling nicely enjoying the sunshine and breeze on our faces as we made for the port of Sant’Angelo, however a couple of hours in, as the wind picked up and we beat towards port our rather tired looking mainsail tore, reminding Dugs and I of the somewhat haphazard nature of sailing!
After several failed attempts at mooring (our anchoring technique took some time to rediscover) we puttered in to the village and had a fantastic seafood feast served by a crazy lady at a little restaurant situated on an isthmus looking back at the town.
We toddled back to the boat as the wind started to pick up, and headed to bed only to be woken around 2 o’clock in the morning by rain streaming in through the portholes, and our dinghy about to launch it self from the deck. A quick visual check through the gloom backed up by the GPS had our anchor dragging so we nosed in a little closer and tried to sleep, it was probably lucky our somnolence wasn’t too deep because our anchoring still wasn’t up to scratch and at 5 in the morning we had dragged another 500 m and were heading towards the beach! We adjusted again and had a fitful rest till morning proper.
With our broken sail we had to readjust our plans to try and get it repaired so dawdled back to our home port with a delightful stop for lunch and a swim in the harbour at Ischia Porto (below) just across from Procida.
Once we were back in our base marina we had some bad news – it turned out our mainsail would take longer than expected to be repaired. We had time to explore the town around the marina and get a decent nights sleep before Claire headed off to make it back to work(!) while the rest of us decided to press on without our main. Thankfully we had following winds for the rest of our trip and hardly missed it.
We nosed out and set sail for Capri with another beautiful day for sailing. A bit of an oily swell and Dug’s somewhat amateur butchering of a fish we caught trawling had Chhay & I a little queasy, but by the time we rounded the spectacular looking Capri and settled into a bay on the southern side away from the 140 euro per night marina we were feeling better. We headed ashore and wandered up to Capri itself to lower the tone significantly. A 6 euro gelati soon had us scurrying back aboard to cook dinner for ourselves however.
The bathtub shape of our boat didn’t make for an easy anchorage and as a storm hit again in the small hours we found ourselves dragging once more, this time next to a rather severe looking cliff face! The next morning dawned hot and clear but as we made a quick dash towards our the Amalfi coast to at least get in sight of our initial destination the weather closed in. Having decided not to make landfall we spun around and headed back to Procida, thankfully the wind had turned with us and we could reach our way back at a healthy pace as the islands faded in and out with passing squalls. As we neared the southern tip of Procida the weather cleared and we crept into a delightful bay in the lee of a fort with precarious fishermen’s houses clinging to the sheer hills (below).
With our anchor firmly set and the calmest waters we had experienced we popped in to the town and explored the back streets before settling in to a fantastic seafood feast right on the edge of the fishing harbour, with launches full of people arriving and stepping straight off the boat and to their table.
The final morning we puttered around the island and back to our marina before starting an epic (bus, ferry, tram, train, bus, flight) trip back (40 hours for Dugs) and another night in Rome for Chhay & I.