Capri to Palmarola

Capri 19 August 2015

We decided on an early start, Peter and Heidi picked us up in their duck at 8:00am to go exploring on the island of Capri. I had read another blog that said there was nowhere to leave your duck on the Southern side of Capri, and it was correct! The coast is all sheer cliffs, and a couple of small beaches but these are cordoned off to boats, for swimming use only. There was one small concrete jetty near a restaurant and the signs clearly read No mooring of boat for embarking and disembarking only. So we lifted the duck and sat it right in the corner of the jetty on the concrete, hopefully out of the way.

We walked to the top of the steps and were able to get immediately onto a small bus to take us to the main village, Capri. We have never been on such a crowded bus, the crammed us in like sardines! The road was really narrow, and at one stage when we had to pass another bus going the other way, Robbie commented you could have rolled a cigarette in the space between the two!



Capri was enchanting! Narrow cobblestoned streets winding around. All the vehicles are tiny, very small buses, tiny delivery trucks with 3 wheels and no cars in the village. We had a coffee to start with, wow 6 euro each! 5 euro for a bottle of water! We walked quite a way to the Northern Coast, seeing only a few locals. It was really charming and there were some gorgeous gardens, including fruit trees along the way. We got to the very end and then went back the same way. By now, there were tourists, literally thousands of them invading the small village. We were pleased we started early. We had a wander through the shops, there was Dolce Gabbana, Prada, Louis Vuitton, etc. etc. very exclusive and very expensive but nice all the same.

We got back to the boat around lunchtime and decided to move on. The anchorage was really busy and quite a roll from all the boat traffic. The anchor was up and we were on the move by 1:00pm once we were out of the anchorage it was really calm. We just had to take the narrow passage between some massive rocks on the way out, one had a cave right through the middle of it, which the smaller boats were going right through. It was so good I decided to make the fried rice for dinner that I had already cooked the rice for in the morning. The passage from Capri to Ischia Island is only 17 nautical miles. As we got past Capri we could see the storm clouds rolling in and it got darker and darker. We now couldn’t see Ischia island at all. Thunder and lightning started, we could see the lightning strikes a few miles in front of us, and ¾ of the radar screen was covered with the rain. We slowed right down to 5 knots, we actually turned off the main engine and ran the wing engine for nearly an hour. We turned off all the instruments we could apart from the critical ones. Eventually it cleared and missed us and by the time we dropped anchor it was clear and sunny again, and nice and cool.


Ischia Island (Isola d’Ischia) is the largest island in the Gulf and is a collection of volcanic craters and lava flows. We actually think it is more attractive than Capri, steep high mountains but covered with bright green lush semi-tropical vegetation. We anchored on the North Eastern coast, right under the Castello d’Ischia, a tiny islet connected to the island via a causeway, with an Aragonese Castle on it. The castle is large and in very good shape.

Peter and Heidi collected us and we went onto shore in their duck, and were assisted out of the duck by 3 young teenage boys with very slick hairstyles (Ormeggiatori in training!) we walked up some steps to a family style hotel overlooking the bay, where we had a couple of drinks and a game of 500. We were able to organise with the owner to hire us a car for 9am tomorrow to explore the island. Back to the boat for dinner and an early night.

Ischia 20 August 2015

We were onshore at 9:00am but unfortunately the guy had not been able to hire us a car or scooters. Unfortunately it is the peak summer holiday season and all the cars are booked out. We walked into the village and caught a bus to the next town. We tried to rent a car there too but it was all too hard. Robbie and Peter went off to check out the marine chandleries and Heidi and I went shopping. There was nothing very exciting and after one hour we met the boys and found a small restaurant for lunch. Robbie had a real Italian Lasagne and I had a salad, and of course a game of 500! Very nice.

Its rather pleasant sitting and doing a spot of people watching. The one thing we have noticed that nearly every car, has many scratches down every side. Even though the majority of the cars are very small Fiats or similar, they obviously pay the price for the narrow streets. We caught the bus back and did some provisioning at the supermarket. Wasn’t too bad and I’m trying not to buy too much as once we get to Rome we will leave the boat and go exploring by rental car (which, to be safe, we have already booked!)

We had a nana nap in the afternoon and a quiet time catching up on chores. Early departure tomorrow for Ponza Island, part of the Pontine Archipelago.


Palmarola 21 August 2015

 we lifted anchor at 6:30am for the 50 nautical mile passage to Ponza. Unusually, the barometer read 1020.3 this morning that is the highest reading I have ever seen. We complete a log at the commencement and completion of every passage, date, time, place to/from, Nm log, motor hours, wind direction, wind speed, swell, barometric pressure, GPS co-ordinates and comments. Usually it is around 1011 -1013. Let’s hope we don’t get any really unusual weather events today!

 After a VHF discussion along the route, with Stormvogel, we decided to head for Palmarola instead of Ponza. Ponza is another popular island and will be extremely busy with tourists at this time of year and we all decided we would rather enjoy some peace and quiet, so Palmarola is further West than Ponza by 4 miles and is mostly uninhabited. Robbie and I prefer the unpopulated anchorages usually anyway.

We survived the passage without any unusual weather events, the barometer stayed around 1020 all day.

We arrived at 3:30pm and dropped the anchor. The island is the most westerly island of the Pontine group of islands, and are actually the crests of volcanic craters. The island is geographically very different to any others we have seen, and the island is fringed by above and below water rocks. We need to be very cautious navigating around this island. We were pretty tired, Robbie swam and checked on the anchor, that was well set and we just had a relax and a read, and didn’t do too much else.


There were a lot of boats anchored around the island as far as we could see, but they were mainly day trippers and all left later in the day. There were only about 5 boats in the anchorage for the night. It did get quite a swell coming in but wasn’t too bad.


Palmarola 22nd August

Had a quiet morning and we decided to move around to the Western side of the island, where there are two restaurants, open only in the summer months. After carefully navigating around the rocks we entered the bay and the boats were packed in like sardines! Both Stormvogel and we managed to get our anchors down, but Peter wasn’t happy with where he was and we were quite happy to forego the restaurants figuring with that many people around it would be too busy anyway, so we lifted anchors and went around to the Southern tip of the island. There were still an awful lot of boats anchored, but a lot more room and it was really picturesque, with aqua blue water and pale volcanic cliffs and some unusual rock formations.

We put the duck in and picked up Peter and Heidi for an explore. There were caves and crevices and a couple of stony beaches and absolutely crystal clear water, it was lovely.

The Italians seem to really love large, elongated rubber ducks with very powerful outboard motors. We have seen a lot of them in all of the anchorages. Today there was a very “mafia” looking black one, with 3, 300hp motors on it!!

We had Peter and Heidi over for a Bar-B-Q and a game of 500 and some discussions on our future travel plans for Corsica, France, Spain and Morocco.


Palmarola to Rome 23rd August 2015

We had a really peaceful night with flat and calm conditions. We woke up with the sea really glassed out and the sun coming up for our 55 nautical mile passage to Rome. Not far from the island we could see the large sailing clipper, called “Royal Clipper” motoring towards the island. She really is a beautiful classic sailing boat, with the old square rigged sails. Words can’t really justify the magnificent sight that she is.

Robbie is busy making lists of all the tasks for while we are in Rome. We were hoping to have only 2 days on tasks and a week exploring by car to Venice, but it’s looking like that may well change.

We are just entering the river outside Rome to go and berth in the marina. Have to sign off for now.


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