It was time to gain our sea legs and try a new style of adventure – exploring the Mediterranean by sail! What better timing than now – during the peak of Riley’s locomotion, crawling and eager to climb. Baby overboard!
We booked a bareboat charter as dad has his skipper’s licence from a few years back and we decided we needed to put it to use.
We chose the Amalfi Coast, a region of southern Italy known for its stunning views of the Tyrrhenian Sea, incredible seafood and the local specialty liqueur – Limoncello. For dad, it was mixing two of his great loves, Italy and for the sea. For me, it was about to become my biggest challenge.
We arrive into Naples and head for Salerno. We spend the night there before picking up our 41-foot catamaran.
Half the day was used to complete the safety checks and load up with ‘survival stock’ (code for wine). It is safe to say we are all pretty unsure about how this week will roll. But, we head out, follow the shoreline and hope for good weather.
We dart along the rocky coast to Positano, we marvel at the cascade of colourful terracotta buildings on the steep hillsides rising up from the sea. We manage to snag a mooring buoy with some help from the guys at the marina, take in a massive breath and pop open a beer in success with making our first stop.
Baby supports include a tether, life jacket and a travel cot. This proves treacherous as he loses the plot, behaving as if I am feeding him to a pit of deadly snakes every time I put him in. Once his tears have dried up and he realises he is safe, we wave a ride ashore for dinner.
Our first night, we eat overlooking the glistening water, with baby snoozing. The restaurants are packed with socialites and tourists chatting over fragrant caprese salads and sipping spritzers. We eat like the Italians do, enjoying every bite. Limoncello makes its first appearance. We save only enough room for sorbet and tiramisu!
As night closes in at the end of our first day, we head back to our boat completely exhausted, snuggle into our cabin and listen to the waves sing along the stony shore.
Day two brings sunshine and happiness; thankfully we had a good sleep – although it has been very warm. Baby spends the morning giggling and playing with his toys while we rustle up Jamon rolls for breakfast. We strap bambino into the Baby Bjorn in preparation for a tour through the picturesque town. It is flooded with tourists and locals who are filled with adoration for baby Riley – especially for his baby feet! “Bella Bambino” “Bellissimo”. While it amuses Riley, mama needs a crisp cool pinot gris, especially after lugging Riley up and through the streets of the village.
Our second night was a replay of the Titanic; okay, maybe not that bad … but I wasn’t dealing too well with the 46 knots of gusting wind that stormed through Positano like a funnel. The boat screamed and I was a mess … full stop.
We survived – just.
Just joking! While I was ready to give up after a terrifying night, I soon got over it.
With some trepidation, we continue on our voyage, and dart our way along the coast, dodging the many other sailors and boats heading for the island of Capri. Dolphins sweeten the ride and excite baby with their playful and athletic leaps out of the water.
We enter the Isle of Capri; the jagged sculptured rock faces are overwhelmed with day boats, skipping in and out of the coves and caves. We slowly make our way in to the marina still in awe of our surroundings and pull up for lunch.
The water is waves of turquoise and deep blue. Dad doesn’t hesitate and jumps in. Bub and I take a little longer to prepare, but we too soon follow.
Capri quickly becomes my heaven! I am in love. Prosecco, cheese, meats and a town studded with designer stores. Oh gosh, and gelato! Nothing short of amazing.
We spend three nights and four days here. At night, we bath baby on the boat in the kitchen sink; he finds it hilarious. Then we proceed to the bow trampoline and enjoy the sunset.
One of the nights we escape the boat for a hotel in the main township to give the little mover a place to crawl around and exert some built up energy.
Sadly, we found most of the Amalfi coast to be less baby-friendly, with pebbled beaches and rock face restaurants, both potentially ending in a choking hazard or bungee baby … Ahh, but we didn’t let this defeat us, allowing Riley to still play and be curious, but with a close eye on him. Aside from this, Riley adjusted and loved it. He loved the water and splashed around to his heart’s content. Our big walks through the town were absolutely fine with our Stokke stroller; nothing is impossible in Italy 🙂
The sad day came to leave Capri and head back with a night stop in Amalfi itself. Of course, we are blown away again. As we arrive at the marina, we are greeted by a boatman who casually guides our catamaran into port with ease. It was like witnessing a perfect artist in action; everyone stands in awe of this guy’s ability to jam the boats into the marina.
Once in dock, we gathered ourselves and hit the town for gelato and sightseeing. A quaint town, again bustling with tourists, restaurants and gelato shops claiming to be the best in the area.
We will be the judge of that!
It’s a battle along the cobblestones through the village to the Cathedral. Hundreds of tourists and cars shift through the street but we love it. The atmosphere is fun and exciting. And the trees are full of enormous orbs of lemons, fresh and ready to be made into limoncello liqueur and for use in the local dishes as well. The lemon motif shows up in regional ceramics and the citrus scent fills the air as you meander about.
Da Gemma takes our fancy for dinner. We stupidly order the degustation. D’oh! Baby ain’t having that. As he squirms from the heat, we shovel in the elegantly prepared meal recommended by the Michelin star website.
P.S. if we were at McDonald’s, the kid would have slept through the entire meal.
Not tonight. Take note parents.
We leave our hearts behind and say a sad goodbye to Amalfi, dragging our feet as we sail back along the coast to Salerno.
The experience has been absolutely amazing. I think back to how it all began; I was dead scared of this boat to begin with, especially with my valuable boy. But we didn’t just make it – we loved it!
Feel free to ask any questions about tips for sailing with baby, or about Amalfi and Italy.
K, L & R