Some diving and some driving.

Trip Start Jul 10, 2007
Trip End Jul 28, 2007

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Flag of Italy  ,
Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Having gone to bed so early, we woke pretty early.  We were at breakfast just after 8 am and it was gorgeous.  Breakfast is out on the patio.  There are tropical flowers (bougainvillea, oleander, citrus trees, olive trees) and plants all around, and everything is in bloom.  It's just so serene and gorgeous.  There are a lot of other Europeans here, especially Germans, but not so many Americans.
We had arranged to go diving today, and when we arrived at the dive shop it was crazy insane.  It was the only place in all of Italy that we saw someone actually in a hurry to get somewhere.  These divers wanted to get into the water!  It took us some time, however, to sign paperwork and to get rental gear.  We were herded onto a boat and then took about a three minute (!!) boat ride to the dive site.  The divemaster then proceeded to only speak in Italian, obviously giving a dive briefing.  I tried to pay attention, but duh, I don't speak Italian.
When he was done, with a rather long briefing, I looked at him and was like, "Um, how deep for how long?"  He looks at me like I'm insane and says, "You're diving with her, I was just briefing them."  How am I supposed to know this if you don't tell me?  He didn't even introduce himself or the female dive master, I can't tell you either of their names.  Also, on the dive boat, not a lot of smiling and saying hello.  Not the typical dive experience we've had.  Dive boats are usually great places to meet people, divers all have at least diving in common, so there's always something to talk about.
The dive was good, and even though the water was cold (74 F above the thermocline), the wetsuits they gave us were thick and kept us both warm.  I'm notorious for getting cold fast, too, so the wetsuit must have been very good. We did get to see our first diving octopus, which was very cool.  The water was very clear, though.  Jay thought it was uneventful and boring, but I also know he spent more of his dive playing with his buoyancy (the divemaster insisted both of us dive with WAYY TOO MUCH weight, he probably had twice as much as he needed, I had probably an extra 1/3.  If you don't dive, just know that this makes a lot of things in diving more difficult when moving through depth in the water column and makes for an annoying dive spending more time and energy thinking about gear and less time enjoying the scenery.
We had the option for an afternoon dive, but declined.  We had to find cash, and wanted to explore the island.  In addition, Jay had read about this random wreck that was in about 21' of water and within snorkeling distance of a beach.  He was hell bent on seeing that, and he had a one-track mind to get to it.  Of course, his one-track mind didn't manage to remember that the water was seventy five degrees!  It was considerably colder in a bathing suit sans wetsuit!
I thought the distance was more than I wanted to snorkel, but Jay was having none of that.  After some false starts on the path to the beach, we managed to find the beach and do the snorkel.  The wreck, I must admit, was pretty cool.  It was in very shallow water, and very large.  There were a bunch of fish around it, but the water here is not as tropical as the water we typically dive in, so the massive schools of colorful fish just aren't here.  The wreck was interesting and worth the swim.
After returning to shore, we drove to the second largest town on the island and hit the grocery store.  Did I mention that the deal in Italy is bottled water at the grocery store?  We paid 1.30 euro for six 1.5 L bottles.  So much cheaper than buying them one by one (2 euro each at the good price)!  In Florence it was so hot and we were doing so much walking we went through a lot of water.
After this, we just drove over the mountains back to the other side of the island.  We drove through several small hilltop towns.  We stopped at one point which had the remains of a tower on it, and we stopped to look at the ruins of a medieval church.  We took many pictures at lookouts and pullovers, but we actually got out and explored a town called Poggio.  This town wasn't completely closed to vehicular traffic, but mostly.  We walked along the steps and explored its church.  The church was interesting as it had three separate chapels to the Madonna, but not even a picture of Christ or a Cross within it.  The only Christ in the church was a baby sitting on the Madonna's lap in one image.
We returned back to the hotel in time to shower and change for dinner.  Dinner was delicious, with pasta tossed with fresh anchovies, and then mussels in wine sauce. 
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