I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. It was the happiest day I had in five blissful weeks of exploring France, Italy, Greece and even a little Turkey. In fact, it was the best day I have ever had while travelling.
We spent half the day sailing around Capri, including a visit into the famous Blue Grotto – the experience I had most been looking forward to in the whole trip. What I didn’t count on, was relaxing in a beautiful jet boat as we circled the island and also seeing the Green and White grottos. Bonus!
Dunked just off the Italian coast in the Bay of Naples, the sun-soaked isle of Capri is dotted with four small townships and blanketed in forest. The island’s dramatic cliffs soak in the warm Mediterranean Sea, the image of Italian Riviera perfection. A VIP destination since way back when, Roman Emperor Tiberius was the first big name to set foot on the island and royalty, pop stars, actors & first ladies have been following suit ever since.
Only a 40 minute trip by hydrofoil from Sorrento, we arrived in Marina Grande and hopped straight into a boat. I was expecting a big catamaran packed with tourists, but I was delighted to find a beautiful boat that sat around 15 people, with plenty of room to kick back and relax.
First up was the famous Blue Grotto, accessible only by dinghy. Around the mouth of the grotto, a dozen or so Italian men waited in their dinghies, taking up to four people at a time. We paid 12 Euro in cash and hopped in – I was in the front on the floor, wedged between the bow and the first seat in the vessel.
The entrance to the grotto is less than a metre tall. The choppy water flung the small boat even closer to the rocky entrance so we had to flatten ourselves to the bottom of the boat. After a few seconds of squishing myself to the bottom of the boat, squeezing my eyes shut and hoping we got through smoothly, we were in. I opened my eyes and sat up to find the dark, cavernous grotto illuminated by the fluorescent water that gives the cave its name.
The chants of our Italian sailors reverberated off the cave walls and made the mystical space feel even more sacred. Despite only lasting for three brief minutes, the experience was one of the most exciting I have had while travelling. I think it’s because it is so difficult to replicate and its magic seems a world away from the wizardry of modern gimmicks and technology.
We also visited the Green Grotto and the White Grotto, which are less spectacular than the Blue Grotto, but still beautiful. We spotted some of the famous natural arches and “animals” of the cliff faces and one more grotto, where the natural rock formation on the balcony looks like a priest watching over the water. Cool, but a little eerie.
Just as I started to feel like I was baking in the sun, the skipper stopped the boat and said it was time for a swim. We jumped off the side of the boat into the warm Mediterranean water – the first time I’ve swam in the open ocean! It was a little freaky swimming so far from shore and not being able to see what was below us. Growing up swimming at Australian beaches, I was wary of sharks – of course, there aren’t any in sea off Capri, so this wasn’t a real issue. Just a fun way for Chloe & I to freak each other out as we pointed out dark, shadowy shapes below us in the water ( probably just coral).
By the time we arrived back on the shore, I was more deeply relaxed than I’ve been in years. A combination of sunshine, the gentle rocking of the boat, the excitement of the jaw-dropping blue grotto and swimming in the ocean left me completely & utterly blissed out.