the sea that swallowed our clothes.

(in this story robin will be playing the part of pansy-chicken while christian plays the part of fearless hero)

i don’t think i had ever heard of the island of capri until christian began planning our trip. it is a short ferry ride from sorrento in the gulf of naples. it was warm and swarming with people. taxi drivers waiting to whisk us away, peddlers trying to sell their wares and hundreds of tourists.

our first order of business was to hire a boat. jeremiah was tasked with that while we all paid 2 euros to use a public restroom and changed into our suits.

we were in good hands with franco the tour guide/boat driver for the next two hours. despite having three italian speakers on board, he directed all of his knowledge to christian, who then translated for everyone else, including his two mission friends.

before we got started franco informed us he was not an italian (he clearly looked the part of an italian) instead he adamantly declared himself a sicilian! franco pointed out the various rock formations, statues, landmarks, roman walls and grottos. we marveled at the amazing color of the water. i have never seen water that deeply and clearly blue.

at the green grotto we jumped overboard and swam. apparently we swam past a dead rabbit. i didn’t look, i just swam through the salty green water and quickly got back on the boat. it was not my favorite thing.

franco, like rick steves and everyone else on the island, pointed out the famous blue grotto and then explained how we could enter it. this was funny since it was stricktly (sic) forbidden to swim in the blue grotto.

later that night we ignored all the rules. after a 30 minute walk downhill we arrived at a staircase that brought us to a ladder near a chain that went in to the depths of the cave.

i was already not very thrilled to be at the blue grotto, let alone jump off the mini dock and swim into the blue grotto. the blue grotto that is pitch black but the deeper you enter the bluer and clearer the water glows.

throwing caution to the wind everyone took the plunge leaving behind shoes, pants, cover ups and sunglasses. i heard their laughter echo and grow smaller as they swam further in to the cave. i pretended that i was the look out – making sure no italian police boats busted us for breaking the law. but really, i was beyond anxious. and embarrassed. with each minute i tried to will myself to be more adventurous.

after a while christian came swimming back. he felt bad that i was out there alone and he was willing to give up the blue grotto experience to stand with me. i decided i had to jump in.

and so we did.

it was beautiful inside the grotta azzurra. the water was transparent. after treading water for a bit i felt claustrophobic and nervous about the open water and the waves. two huge waves crashed through the small opening of the cave. with each smack the water rose and air seemed to rush out. we weren’t in danger of losing air, but i was spooked. we waited for calmer waters to pass through the entrance.

as we climbed out of the water christian realized the fisherman above us was yelling and gesticulating wildly out into the sea. “le scarpe! le scarpe!” (the shoes! the shoes!)

realization hit and christian saw that all of our belongings were quickly being swallowed up. when the two large waves hit the cave entrance, they also hit the dock where our clothes were nestled.

needing rescue were 6 pairs of shoes along with various dresses, pants, shirts and bags. christian dove in and began chucking items at me. each attempt salvaged some of our belongs but the remaining were being pulled farther and farther away by the strong waves.

“my dress is gone!” i said but quickly realized it was a small thing to lose considering the alternative. at that moment christian just happened to swim into my dress that was soaked and floating a few feet below the surface.

with his energy waning he scanned the water. he looked to the helpful fisherman who approved of his valiant efforts.

i rung out our clothing as best i could. we tried not to shiver as the sun dipped lower in the sky. our unsuspecting friends were still inside the cave. they sounded so far away.

eventually they emerged. greeted by their sopping wet little victims they were shocked that christian had saved everything. (in a way i helped out too – since my fear of the cave made us exit when we did!)

as we divvied up the belongings and got ready to make our long trek uphill to villa eva robyn asked where her jeans were. the expensive ones she found at nordstrom rack. the ones that had her favorite belt attached. with a sinking feeling we realized there had been one casualty of the evening.

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4 thoughts on “the sea that swallowed our clothes.

  1. What an adventure! You are such an incredible story teller. I would completely wimp out – clear, deep water and caves completely freak me out.

  2. i swam in the blue grotto once. it was amazing. ended badly. but i’ll save that for a private conversation rather than a public comment. call me if you want to laugh.

  3. You are braver than I for just getting in the water. If a body of water contains live things that I can see, or imagine, I don’t go in. I love this story.

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