As the hydrofoil left the shores of Naples for Capri, I was hoping the weather would hold good. The last trip I made to Capri, 12 years ago, was a complete waste courtesy the bad weather. We dock at the Marina Grande and wait for mini buses to take us to the boarding point for the Blue Grotto. Fluffy white clouds bedeck the blue sky, which forms a canopy over the aquamarine waters dotted with colourful fishing boats and larger hydrofoils. Chirpy tourists walk along the waterfront or enjoy a cup of coffee or a slice of pizza in one of the many snack shops lining the bay.
Soon our bus is zooming up the narrow winding roads through the quaint little island, which is bustling with tourists at this time of the year. A bus going in the opposite direction heads towards us and our fellow passengers gasp as the buses squeeze past each other. “Welcome to a moment of life in Mumbai,” I think to myself. Quaint houses line the roads and pink flowers blossom over compound walls.
We reach the Grotta Azzurra or the Blue Grotto and wait in an extremely long line. A man leans over the railing with a fishing rod and a netted bag with his catch for the day. Bobbing in the cerulean waters below are the tiny wooden boats used to enter the grotto. Mum leans over the railing, takes one look at them, and chickens out. “You've come all the way and it's the second time in Capri. You cannot miss out on this,” I tell her and make sure she gets into the boat as we reach the front of the line.
We're five of us plus the boatman, in one boat. It's a bit of a squeeze, but we manage. “Ok now lie flat and don't put your head up until I tell you to do so,” the boatman instructs as he sets down his oars and maneuvers the boat inside with the aid of a chain attached to the vault of the entrance, which is barely large enough to admit a row boat. My thoughts drift to its discovery. What could have possessed anyone to check out this easy-to-miss cave. We raise our heads and see a normal dark cave, but as the boat turns, the cave is filled with “Oooos” and “Aaaahs,” triggered by the brilliant blue hues of the waters and cave walls. “It happens when the sunlight reflects off the water in the cave. The entrance and an underwater hole are the only sources of light and this phenomenon is completely natural,” our boatmen informs us before he and the other boatmen burst into a song to entertain us. One of the tourists in another boat jumps into the water and swims around for a bit. We make our way back towards the exit. Ten minutes inside the cave is clearly not enough for me to take in this beautiful sight.
We climb out of the boat and mum is visibly happy that she got into that tiny boat. After lunch we walk around the island, pose for pictures with the beautiful red, pink, purple, orange, white and yellow flowers that grace almost every inch of the island, do a bit of shopping and devour some yummy gelato before making our way back to the ferry. The sky darkens and as we climb aboard the ferry, umbrellas start to go up. I sigh in relief that the clouds held on to their moisture till now. Sometimes nature does have good timing, after all.
Best Time: The interiors of the cave are at their bluest between 12.00 and 14.00
However on cloudy days the reflections are at a minimum. In the afternoon, the cave is often closed due to the rough sea.