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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sailing On The Italian West Coast With A Couple Of Panasonic GM5s


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You may have noticed a lack of posts in September, that’s because of a lack of time in the first half and a sailing holiday in the second. Yes, a sailing holiday. In all we were five guests on the boat and two crew members. Two crew were necessary because the five us hadn’t a clue about sailing, but that didn’t deter us from enjoying the trip. The boat was a 54 footer with 3 guest cabins and two berths for the crew. I’ll tell you now, it was one of the most enjoyable holidays we ever had. I can only recommend it to those that have thought about it but haven’t done it yet because they thought that sailing skills are a must. Well, they are not, so just do it. We have our next trip planned for 2018; it was that good.

Sailing on the Sun Odyssey 54

Our home for a week. It's actually bigger than it looks below deck.

 

 

Before I go any further let me tell you what I had in my little bag. I really thought long hard about this before eventually deciding, once again, on a pair of Panasonic GM5 cameras. On one I had the Panasonic 12-32 f3.5-5.6 and on the other the Panasonic 35-100 f4.0-5.6. My train of thoughts were something like, well if I fall overboard or lose my bag I can easily replace the lost equipment. I would have liked to take something a little bigger with better image quality but space was also a problem. I didn’t want to be hampered with heavy equipment while hoping onand off the boat. As it turned out it was the perfect choice for this type of holiday. Yes, at times I wished I had something a little wider or a little longer with me, but in general I was pleased with the equipment and with the images I took throughout the trip. Next time I would take something a little longer like the Panasonic 14-140 or the Olympus 14-150. Maybe. I took no tripod with me because a tripod would have been useless on a boat. A monopod wasn’t needed either. I could charge the batteries when hooked up to the mains moored in a harbour and as I had about six batteries with me, power wasn’t a problem at all. Since the GM5 and it’s associated lenses are so small and light, weight wasn’t a problem either. Quite the perfect setup.

I’ll let you decide if the equipment I took was good enough. Personally I’m pleased with the image quality.

Starting from Naples we were actually sailing for 7 days and spent the remaining couple of days in Naples itself before flying out to our different destinations. If you ever plan to start at Naples, our harbour was actually on a military base so you can only sail in and out at certain times of the day. Something to watch out for if you ever decide to start from Naples.

 

Our harbour in Naples

Our harbour in Naples. The military base is the red building in the background where the military ships are tied up.

 

 

Our first port of call was the island of Procida and the marina at the town of the same name. What we noticed about this town was the lack of tourists. We discovered that the inhabitants have decided to keep the island as is and tourists are not unwelcome but they’re not encouraged either. We found it great as crowds were avoided and you could see something of the way people have lived for centuries. It did occur to us some time later that we were tourists ourselves, but as least we didn’t visit by the busload. If we weren't sailing and had decided to do all this by car, we would never have seen these two lovely islands.

 

 Procida and Ischia

 

Procida

Entering the harbour at Procida.

 

Procida

 

Procida

 

Procida

Our hostess for the week was Carla (second from left).

 

 

Procida

This is a little harbour on the other side of the peninsula where we were anchored.

Here we met an elderly man who explaine to us it was the womens fault there were no jobs for the young men.

Interesting conversation that one.

 

Procida

Extremely narrow streets. Cars drive up here at an amazing speed. You have to be very careful.

Because it's quite steep, electric bicycles are the rage. Everyone had one.

 

Procida

Love the fire escape.

 

Procida

Procida at night.

 

Procida

The last two were taken handheld and I was very surprised they turned out sharp.

Who needs image stabilisation right Laughing.

 

The next day it was off to the island of Ischia. This is a much larger island than Procida but has a little more of the touristy touch. Overnight stay at Sant’ Angelo marina. Lovely little village and a great walk around the coast.

 

Sant' Angelo

The scene that greeted us just after tying up the boat at Sant' Angelo.

 

Sant' Angelo

Sant' Angelo just before sunset

 

Sant' Angelo

 

Sant' Angelo

If anyone could decypher this for me I'd be forever grateful.

 

Sant' Angelo

Old broken tiles used for decoration on all the walls.

 

Sant' Angelo

As you can see Sant' Angelo is a little more touristy than Procida.

 

 

On the same day we sailed for a couple of hours to the mainland again to a little harbour called Piano di Sorrento. Reason being we wanted to visit Pompeii the next day. As we had no car so we just took the little train to Pompeii. It was however very full although we were not in the holiday season. The second half of September is still a popular time in Italy. I hate to think what it’s like in the holiday season here.

 

Piano di Sorrento

Naples is north of this coast.

 

Piano di Sorrento

Great light.

As a matter if interest the tug on the left has been converted for paying guests.

Cost per week: €3000.

 

Piano di Sorrento

No words necessary.

 

Piano di Sorrento

 

Piano di Sorrento

 

Piano di Sorrento

 

 

Piano di Sorrento

 

 

Piano di Sorrento

 

 

 

As you can see in the above images the marina is below some cliffs and you have to walk up to get into the town itself. Since we wanted to eat at a little unknown restaurant we took a taxi. Glad we did as it was quite a way.

Pompeii is just amazing. It’s really huge and you could easily spend a couple of days there. We only had an afternoon and only explored a few of the buildings. If you want to see the best frescoes, visit the Architectural Museum in Naples. Just wonderful examples and saved in their present condition by being buried in ash when Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD.

Pompeii

 

Pompeii

 

 

Pompeii

 

 

Pompeii

What an amazing place Pompeii is and to think it lay hidden for almost 2000 years.

It's survived all sorts of disasters and I find it amazing what's been done with the place.

 

 

It was here that we started on the main reason we came down to the Italian coast. We sailed around the Cape D’arco for Positano. What a wonderful coast this is and it’s no wonder that tourists number in the millions that come here every year. Since there is only one road along this coast we didn’t fancy driving with the usual parking problems, and was the main reason we decided to sail the coast. When you think about it it’s perfect for this coast. It takes you hours to get from one little town to another in a car but with a boat it takes you only a few minutes. Very good idea and I can again only recommend it to all.

Positano is the opposite of Procida; very touristy and the shops are orientated in that direction too. The tourist trade is the main form of income and it shows. Having said that we didn’t find it too crowded and had a pleasant stay. This is the first time we anchored off the coast and had to take a water taxi to get to dry land. That was an experience and a half since it takes a little longer than a couple of days to get your sea legs. It was all fun though. Next day we decided to do some shopping in Positano and have a general look around before sailing further along the coast to Amalfi.

Positano - Amalfi

 

 

Positano

Panorama of Positano

 

Positano

 

 

 

Positano

 

 

Positano

 

 

Positano

 

 

 

This coastline is known as the Amalfi Coast and is a 50km stretch of coastline along the Sorrentine Peninsular. What can I say about Amalfi apart from having a huge cathedral (which is amazing) and a type of lemon aperitif called Limoncetta. Very strong. Two glasses of that and you’ll find yourself under the table. There is a popular drink in Europe called Aperolspritz. It’s a mixture of a liqueur made from Aperol and sparkling wine (sekt). We decided Limoncetta would be great for this and asked for it at every happy hour we had. Tasted great, although we had some funny looks from the waiters when asking for it. Try it, you may like it. It’s exported world-wide as far as I know. Personally I prefer Positano to Amalfi, don't ask me why I just do.

Amalfi

Amalfi main square. Taken from the steps of the cathedral.

 

Amalfi

 

 

Amalfi

Inside the cathedral in Amalfi

 

Amalfi

The backstreets of Amalfi. Just amazing.

 

Amalfi

Having lunch at Amalfi I looked up to see the cliff looming above us.

I remember thinking if that came down now we'd be toast.

 

After a day out in Amalfi we took a ride up to a little beautiful village in the mountains called Ravello. If you ever get a chance make this a day out. You may decide to stay there as it’s a dream of a place. Being high in the mountains it gets chilly in the evenings, even this far south so do yourself a favour and take something warm even if it’s hot down in Amalfi. You won’t regret it.

Ravelo

 

 

Ravelo

 

 

Ravelo

 

 

 

Next morning we weighed anchor and headed back along the coast in the direction of Capri. This is a very expensive island and the harbour fees are astronomical. We decided to anchor again along the coast. This is one time I wish we had been in a harbour; it was rough and little sleep was had by all. A little difficult when being rolled from one side of the bed to the other by a rough sea.

It appears that everyone wants to get to Capri at one time or another and it seems the day we were there was such a time. The harbour area is in itself an experience. Watch out for all those taxis and buses. Best thing to do is to leave that area as soon as you can. We decided to take the lift up to the top of the world from Anacapri (or so it seemed on the day). Fantastic views although it was a little hazy on the day.

Capri

 

 

Capri

 

 

Capri

 

 

Capri

 

 

Capri

 

 

Capri

 

 

 

After another stay on the Isle of Procida we headed back to Naples in the morning to be there after 1 p.m. (Military dictates this). Some of us had to head back home because of other commitments but we could explore Naples itself. If you decide to drive in Naples you have a serious death wish. Don’t do it. Like one of the taxi drivers told us, “We never stop for anything, we just slow down”. It’s true, I’ve experienced it myself. A sprawling city of 3.5 million people, I can’t say it’s a beautiful city. Could use some paint on the houses but it does have it’s charm in other ways. People were friendly and the food was to die for. If you visit be prepared to gain some weight. You just can’t help it. I don’t think we’ve eaten so much on a holiday before. Maybe it’s due to the weather or the way of life in the southern European countries (everything moves a lot slower) but the food did taste better and there was a lot more of it. After a couple of days of Naples we had to head home again with a sad feeling having to leave this lovely piece of our world.

Naples

 

 

Naples

 

 

Naples

 

 

Naples

 

 

Naples

 

 

Naples

 

Following are some of the my favourite images captured during our short break. Hope you enjoy them.

Positano - Amalfi

 

 

Positano - Amalfi

 

 

Positano - Amalfi

 

 

Positano - Amalfi

 

 

Positano - Amalfi

 

 

Positano - Amalfi

 

 

Positano - Amalfi

 

 

Positano - Amalfi

 

 

Positano - Amalfi

 

 

Positano - Amalfi

 

 

Positano - Amalfi

 

 

Positano - Amalfi

 

 

Positano - Amalfi

 

 

 

Our crew for the week were:

 

Luca

 

Luca - Skipper

 

Carla

 

Carla - Hostess

 

For a full gallery of our journey click here.

 

 

 

 


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I'm an enthusiastic photographer who likes to tinker with manual lenses on most camera formats.

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