SOVEREIGN 24th September 2016 (part 5)
Tuesday 27th September 2016
Today we arrived in Naples, with volcanic Vesuvius looming over the bay in the early morning light. We spent a long while on deck as we headed towards the port and our berth, and enjoyed watching all the early morning ferry arrivals and departures. I was delighted to see the little LAURANA, which I enjoyed sailing on with my ferry friends in June 2015. We also saw the ROSA D'ABUNDO, which I sailed on from Ischia back to Naples on another occasion.
Two of us in our group wanted to enjoy another style of ship today, and decided to take a fast craft to the nearby island of Ischia.
Because we had to rush to buy tickets and then get to the vessel, there were few empty seats left and I sat with a Canadian lady from Vancouver Island; she and her son are travelling on NORWEGIAN EPIC and we both enjoyed talking about where we came from. Ischia is a volcanic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, about 30 kms (19 miles) from the city of Naples. We sailed there on the AIRONE JET, which took about 45 minutes, and was very comfortable and spacious inside. There is a tiny entrance to the island, which opens out to a pretty little harbour for the ferries and fishing boats alike. Once on the quayside we could watch AIRONE JET embark just a few passengers, turn and leave, and suddenly all was calm and quiet again.
The small conventional ferry MACAIVA arrived, with passengers disembarking and embarking, and then she was gone, sailing gracefully out from the harbour. The fishing vessels and pleasure craft were reflected in the clear waters as we strolled around the little bay.
Then the conventional ferry ADEONA arrived, turned and put her stern ramp down; passengers and vehicles disembarked and then she was silent, with a few hours of layover until her return trip to Naples. We intended to get this sailing after a satisfactory lunch in a local restaurant, and that is what we did.
We left the island about 2 o'clock, and soon found comfy seats on a shaded outside deck, to enjoy the sail back to Naples. The hot sun shone under a cloudless blue sky, the calm sea sparkled and all was well with my world. We could see the nearby popular island of Procida, various ferries taking people to their destinations, we could see a castle-like hotel on a headland, lighthouses in prominent rocky places, and simply enjoy the sensation of gliding through the water on ADEONA.
BENITO BUONO sailed towards us and passed, DRIADE did the same, and in turn we passed the rather slow-sailing DON PEPPINO, which I discovered was built in 1964 at 495 gross tons with the name of MALMO. She appears to be wearing well, sailing for Gestur. ROSA D'ABUNDO came towards us and offered her lovely profile for photos, and about an hour and a half after leaving Ischia we were heading back into the ferry port in Naples. As we berthed I noticed another ferry in the corner, named QUIRINO, belonging to Medmar. It had been such a satisfying day out.
We caught the shuttle bus which met our ferry, taking us back to the Maritime Station terminal, where we made time to look at the Totem Della Pace. This was built last year, 2015, to mark the 150th anniversary of the amalgamation of the Port Captains and the Coast Guards. The base of the Totem also includes another plaque informing us that an Urn behind the plaque contained the relics of an unknown migrant dead in the sea, in search of dignity, freedom and peace lost in his country. This moving inscription made us so grateful once again for our own dignity, freedom and peace in our countries.
Back on the ship I could have a relaxing cup of tea and notice that CARTOUR GAMMA was berthed fairly near us in the harbour.
Darkness had almost fallen by the time we sailed away but dinner and conversation made a good end to our visit to Naples.
Ships seen: Norwegian Epic, Dimonios (Tirrenia), Raffaele Rubattino, Capri (the old yacht-like vessel still laid up in the working side of the harbour), Moby ZaZa, Patrizia (still laid up on the other side of the harbour), Fauno (Caremar), Rosa D'Abundo, Laurana, SNAV Lazio, SNAV Antares, Tui Discovery, Benito Buono (the ex Hamlet), Airone Jet, Adeona (Caremar), Naiade, Cartour Gamma, Quirino (Medmar), Don Peppino
To be continued...