Oct. 18, 2007
By Ken Krayeske • 10:45 PM UCT
In Carloforte, Sardinia, everyone eats these little foccaccia breads with tomato. Buy them warm in one of like six local panaderias, eat them walking down the street, or driving down the road.
The surprises that arise on this boat never stop. For example, the original route has changed so many times, I never often know what we will be doing from one day to the next.
When we arrived in Gibraltar, we - being the crew - labored under the impression that our next stop was Malta. The boss announced a small change in plans. The boat would re-route to Sardinia to pick up a guest, much to all our chagrin.
This is kind of supposed to be a straight delivery. But, hey, if I bought a $10 million boat, I'd want to go anywhere on a whim and subject anybody on my payroll to my desires.
So, I understand it, and I partly appreciate it, because were it not for this spontaniety, I would not have gotten a chance to visit Italy - land of my ancestors.
After we left Gibraltar, and were a hundred miles off the coast of Algiers, a pair of seagulls sat on the bow of the boat, hitching a ride.
Since I am the one who would have to clean up after the birds, I went out to take some photos and scare them off. A few minutes later, old Eagle Eyes Nick the Engineer spotted this whale.
A day or so later, we pulled into Sardinia.
Around sunset, I found myself cleaning the aft deck, and earlier in evening, the stewardess has put some Placido Domingo on the outdoor stereo speakers. I thought for a moment that the tenor's notes wafted across the bay. But the singing drifted, unlike the steady sound of a compact disc. So I walked towards the stereo, and the opera had finished.
Over the putt-putt of this fishing boat, that eventually rounded the bow of Maverick II, there sat this large man in a red shirt in his fishing boat, bellowing his best aria, just for the joy of it. I love this place, I said to myself.
The next morning, we got our 90 minutes on the island of San Pietro. The fish markets didn't have a lot of good catches, mostly eels, rays, squid or sardines (go figure). We found the best catch of the day from a streetside fishmonger, who caught the red snapper the night before.
At first, I thought he was the singing fisherman. I asked him, and he denied it. Two kilos of red snapper - one big fish - was $50 US (35 Euro). A little expensive for a meal for four people, but hey, fresh fish gave me an opportunity to get off the boat for 90 minutes.
As my sister the chef wrote on a postcard home, "I work 14 hours a day to get 90 minutes off in Italy."
This tiny monochromatic widow reminded me of my Italian Nonna. It's a little out of focus, but I love the street scape behind her.
And here's why she's probably a widow. Everyone drives scooters, including this old man, who we crossed paths with a half dozen times in 90 minutes, while he was obviously out doing his grocery shopping, too. The best part was when he was pulling out of town, this gorgeous young girl stopped him to chat.
And finally, this is the central square in the tiny hamlet of Carloforte. Although Alex, one of our crew, walked to the edge of the old city of Carloforte, and he said outside the walls, new suburban housing developments have srpung up that make it look like it could be anywhere.
Next Stop: Malta