A violent storm caught me by surprise Thursday morning. With no prior warnings, I was on the boat as it was approaching the Bay of Biscay and lost my bearings in a big way.
I had arrived in Italy about nine days ago, and came out to visit friends along the Amalfi Coast on Sept. 8, then made my way up to Palermo, Sicily. Once I got there, I stayed in the Hotel Del Corso until it closed, after which I drove to Perugia, a town where I’d spent one memorable summer.
Since then, I’ve been dealing with poor cell service and busy signals, while writing my book and traveling around Italy with more political and cultural notes in my noggin. The whirlwind of the Arab Spring is no more, and the Muslim holy month of Ramadan is over. There have been riots near Naples, a sort of blood-soaked autumn, and a new political leader in Rome has emerged. All I can do now is visit a friend again and move on—but I still have more to write, let alone fit into my suitcase.
What made Thursday’s ride that much more unnerving is that there are no warnings anymore in the Amalfi Coast.
Usually, I’d have time to get off the boat as it was passing the shore, but there was no way to leave.
The winds were picking up and people came off the boat looking terrified. Who knows what could have happened. The weather was so awful, there were basically two ways to leave the boat—first one way up the shore line to the water, second in a speedboat to safety across the bay. Once back on the boat, there was no one around. We had to stand around the damage, especially near the exit, to listen to how the winds whipped the boat and the captain, who looks a lot like Bear Grylls.
I don’t know how many people are injured, but reports out of the area and from accounts on social media say there’s a major sinking underway—a disastrous end to a terrible journey in a storm.
It may seem crazy to think something this close to storm season could happen, but it does happen sometimes. Even so, it’s stunning how quickly the storm blew my boat, turning it into a debris ball with some passengers in the wheelhouse and everyone else aboard the stern.
It was scary, horrible and a huge pain. As usual, my good friends were amazing. Everyone here, from management to the employees, and everyone in between, worked hard and cared about us—their customers and this great community. The base, the harbormaster and lifeguards all came out to help.
In short, our little vessel made it out safely, and had no part in our becoming some sort of floating Titanic.
Go to gimletbanker.com for his report.
Michael Tiby is a farmer and real estate investor from Plainfield, New Jersey, and a contributor to the national commentary website TheGimletBank.com. His latest book is Farm: The Open Road to Mystery (New Society Publishers). His website is tibyfarmer.com.