As the new year rolls around, whether one is eating grapes, lentils (As the Italians do. Apparently, they also believe that wearing red underwear will bring you good luck as it is a vibrant color.), or carrots to bring good fortune, the new year is about starting over, finding joy and prosperity. The pandemic has lead to the great resignation as more and more people, with the luxury, choose to leave their nine to five daily grind. Supposedly, most people are not happy with their jobs. I have, in my travels, been fortunate enough to meet people who love their jobs. Alessandro is one of those people.
Last summer, when we were in Positano, we wanted to go on a boat ride. With a pandemic raging, we wanted to be alone on a boat. With a captain. My friends had just arrived from the overseas. They wanted to organize a boat ride, sun and water. We set off for the beach at the appointed time. At the checkin counter, the staff showed us a photo of the boat that they had chosen. A lifeboat type with limited shade. It was 100 degrees. For 400 euro. No roof. No toilet. Possibly an invisible tiger.
I vetoed it. We opted for the bigger boat with a toilet. I didn’t want to be on a dinghy with jet-lagged friends fighting over shade and nowhere to pee.
Alessandro was our captain. The boat was immaculate and Alessandro was absolutely the sweetest guy. He pointed out good swimming spots, Saracen forts, historical locations, homes of famous people, and other points of interest along the coast. He was happy to share his knowledge of the area (where to stay on Capri, etc.) and to chat about whatever you felt like asking him. Even if you ask him about his life as an Italian. Or why he commutes on a dangerous mountain road. Also, as an added bonus, he plays good music and will even take requests. Alessandro has another life as a music producer so ask him about that!
If you are interested in celebrity yacht spotting, he can name almost all the famous yachts you will see (and play along with you in guessing how many millions they cost). He has been a boat captain for seven years so he can drive the boat with the merest touch of a finger. To add to his charm, Alessandro also served us Prosecco in a dramatic and environmentally friendly way (take the tour to find out about that — it will make you see why Alessandro is the sexiest man alive). He will serve you but, of course, does not drink himself. After your swim, he will even hose you off in a manner that is so bashful and gentlemanly. He is adorable. Another thing about Alessandro. He loves his job. He really does.
Back to the boat review. It may seem expensive. I think it cost 700 euro for four hours (with the toilet, Prosecco, towels, captain, etc.). But on the other hand, it’s really really private. There are ferries, but I recommend a private boat tour.
The boat company was nice and even waited thirty minutes to start our tour when my friends needed to go back to the hotel for their sunglasses. I waited at the yacht club on the beach and chatted with a club member (I laugh because the club was a bunch of chairs under umbrellas and the club member explained that even though he has a tiny boat, he has to be a member of the yacht club to moor at the beach. He drank a Corona and smoked while chatting. That seems a metaphor for pandemic clubbing.)
We had an hour off the boat, in Amalfi, but next time, I would forego that and stay on the boat with Alessandro. It is a lovely way to pass the hours.
All in all, worth the price. Date of experience: July 2021. No tigers seen.
I’ll admit that when we got to the dock, I initially wanted the bald pirate for a captain (in the photo, you can just see him in the orange shorts). He looked like he would be full of trouble and lore (but I am not sure he spoke English). But, in the end, I am glad that we met Alessandro. He steered us well.