the colourful village of Positano with flat roofs, arches, narrow alleys and hundreds of steps!
Stretching along the southern side of Italy's Sorrentine Peninsula is the Amalfi coast with its sheer cliffs, rugged shoreline and mysterious grottos. It's an extremely popular holiday destination, dotted with small beaches and pastel-coloured fishing villages and a coastal road that winds endlessly.
We were fortunate as the calm weather allowed us to motor along and enjoy the spectacular views. We were also able to spend a night or two at anchor (or on a mooring buoy) outside the popular holiday destinations of Positano, Amalfi and Salerno.
We were excited to say the least having read so much about the Amalfi coast so we lifted our anchor and left Capri relatively early to cross the Bocca Piccola channel for the second time in two days. Our chosen route followed the Punta Campanella coastline, a marine reserve where navigation and anchoring is prohibited.... even though the locals seem to continually flaunt the rules! We hugged the imaginary zone (it's marked on the chart plotter) as close as we dared in order to take in the extremely tall, vertical cliffs that drop straight into the sea. Any closer and we would have had neck-ache from looking up (maybe that's why the zone is in place to prevent neck-ache). :-).
We passed the islands of isolotti Galli and according to Greek Mythology, these islands are commonly accepted to be the islands of the Sirens of which Circe warned Odysseus. "You will come to the Sirens, they who bewitch all men. Whoever sails near them unaware shall never see his wife again and children once he has heard the Siren voices. They enchant him with their clear songs, as they sit in a meadow that is heaped with the bones of dead men. Drive your ship past this place, and so your men do not hear their song, soften some beeswax and seal their ears. But if you want to listen to the Sirens, get your men to bind you hand and foot to the mast step. In this way, you may listen in rapture to the voices of the two sirens. But should you begin to beg your comrades to unloose you, you must make sure that they bind you even more tightly."
- an extract from the 'Italian Waters Pilot, 8th edition'. With no wind there was no chance of us hearing any Sirens so we live to continue our cruise for another day.
Approximately 15 miles later we arrived at Positano expecting to anchor off what must be the prettiest village ever only to find the area full of local and visitor moorings. We tried to the east and the west of the moorings having read that many CA members had anchored in 10m off the shore but couldn't find anything less than 20m to anchor in whilst keeping at least 200m off the beach to avoid being fined (one of the many rules they have in Italy). We therefore decided to take one of the many colour-coded mooring buoys' that are owned by various mooring operators. As we motored through the first set of buoys it didn't take long for a rib to approach and offer us a price - €80, (for a floating buoy attached by rope to a concrete block on the seabed - you must be kidding) before reducing it to €50 when he could see the expression on our faces. The next set of buoys arrived and a rib zoomed over to offer them at €50 but after a bit of negotiating we settled on €40 - we felt it reasonable given the location.
to big to capture on camera
The view from the mooring field was absolutely spectacular however the wash produced was horrendous, if not dangerous at times. We could accept the wash from the ferry arrivals and departures several times a day to nearby Capri, Naples and Salerno however the wash from the day boats hired out in what seemed like their hundreds and the local beach bar boats constantly moving around was really disturbing as they weaved in between the mooring field without any regard for speed or the wash they produced. It was a delight to spend time ashore on stable ground but one night was enough for us all, including Flirtie.
all those boasts trying to get to the keyside....it was relentless
The visit ashore didn't disappoint with boutique style shops specialising in hand-made linen and cotton clothes and leather sandals that range from classic thongs to elaborate jewel or shell encrusted designs. There was no end to the shops selling the Italian lemon liqueur 'Limoncello' which is produced from the Sorrento lemons that grow all along the Amalfi coast.
Total distance this season: 740.88 nautical miles