Witnessing the unreal "BLUE"

Photo of Witnessing the unreal "BLUE" 1/1 by Rasika Tamhane

Ibiza and Capri...the 2 star highlights of my Euro-trip, and the must-visit destinations on the bucket lists of many, both deserve an elaborate blog dedicated to each. But today, it is the Blue Grotto on the coast of Capri that gets to feature. Blue Grotto literally means the Blue Sea Cave. The Capri Islands boasts of many such sea caves, each named depending on the colour reflected by the water. The same azure water is reflected to become the White Grotto, the Green Grotto, but Blue Grotto is the clear winner. What makes it one of the major attractions on the Capri Islands is not only the ''blue'' as the name suggests, but also the unique size of the cave compared to its entrance. You would not be the first person to have missed out on the outwardly tiny cave while on an island ferry. As a matter of fact, I myself missed out the tiny opening on the otherwise huge white stone of this fairy island although the ferry guide did point it out. The reason the cave could go unnoticed as easily is the fact that the cave entrance is a mere 5' wide and 3' tall when accessible to the public. By that, I mean, the 3' tall entrance could be further reduced to a smaller height when the water levels rise, tiny indeed!! And you are in for a sure surprise once you enter the cave, it is massive from inside. The cave spans a vast 60 by 25 metres inside the white rock...metres, NOT feet, HUGE indeed!! To make it easy, a little over three feet make a metre, 3x! Traditional wooden row boats are the only means of access into the cave. They have no planks across, it is basically just a wooden vessel. Each row boat takes only 4 passengers in addition to the boatman. Passengers are prompted to lie down horizontally at the entrance of the cave. The boatman also lies down flat over the edge of the boat, and pulls the boat inside of the cave with the help of iron chains that have been fixed to the rock to facilitate the entry through the passage. As this is the only access to the cave, the passengers and boatman have to lie down while exiting as well. Once inside, the sheer size of the cave as against the tiny entrance and the crunched entry is overwhelming, but what truly leaves you spell bound is the colour of the water behind you. That is when you actually believe the pictures on the internet which claim to have not been retouched by any colouring software. The cave is lit up in a magnificent blue, which gives the cave its name, Blue Grotto. The only source of light for the cave is the tiny opening which acts as the passage way, and the void underneath the water within the surface of the rock. When seen from inside the cave, the water reflects the sun-rays falling outside the cave, giving the water inside the cave a luminescent blue, a shade similar to what we popularly identify as LED blue. Since the only source of light lighting the cave is this reflected shade of blue, each boatman sings to his passengers telling them the science behind the colour of the water; that way, he not only keeps his passengers entertained, but also identifies his location to the fellow boatmen avoiding any accidents. Given the miniscule size of the entrance to the cave, the entry is monitored and restricted depending on the weather conditions and tides of the sea. On days when water levels are above usual, the cave is closed for tourists. It is pure luck to be able to visit the Blue Grotto on your first visit, as it is not every day that we'd keep returning to the islands. And remember, even if you are lucky to have Blue Grotto open to tourists while on your visit, be prepared to wait a considerable amount of time until your ferry is to lower its passengers into the wooden vessels. Also, the entry to the cave is only after a small amount payable under the tourist tax, but it is well-worth witnessing a natural phenomenon which is a 2-minute unreal experience. P.S.: the featured photo is one taken by me, in my not-so-awesome phone camera!