Today we had an adventure. We went boldly to see the Grottes – the caves and other rock formations along this piece of coastline. A couple we had met over dinner had recommended going along the harbour to the fishermen, who would take us right into the caves in a small boat. This we did. Our fisherman’s name was Zizzy and though his boat did not seem particularly small when we climbed into it, it seemed precariously small as we climbed the rollers heading out towards the rock formations. Picture a smaller, low budget version of the seminal moment in A Perfect Storm and you have the idea. Fortunately in our case we climbed every crest and forded every trough. Zizzy announced that he called these waves “adrenolini”, which needed no translation. He began to point out places of historical interest and name the beaches as we sped by. “ On the right, the small beach is the nudist beach” and there was the nudist, a glossy Adonis stood tactfully facing the other way, with one arm raised. Just as I spurned the opportunity to photograph some plastic Antony Gormley rip off, a mannequin to fool the tourists, he wandered off to go sit on his towel.
Then we were in amongst the sea stacks and arches. The elephants and camels, the pregnant ladies, wedding cakes and sewing machines, all were all pointed out to us as they spewed foam and we ducked and veered across their rugged faces. We surged cowering through an archway only to execute a handbrake turn to avoid the looming platform of rock on the other side and set out on a thrill ride through the caves and blowholes. Each time I looked back Zizzy stood, hat in place, unmoved. In one swirling vortex, he stopped the boat and offered to take our picture with the cave entrance in the background. We both smiled enthusiastically, keen to have his hand back on the tiller. At this point we caught up with a larger boat, skippered by a tall blond guy with a beard and ponytail and proceeded to play in and out the windows with him, passing as close as if the two boats were on rails in a theme park water ride. Our captain afforded him a grudging acknowledgment, but grinned when we retrieved a lost baseball cap from the water and did not offer to hand it back. On our return journey he was scornful of the influx of newcomers who were allowed to take people out after two weeks training, as opposed to his forty four years, and who claimed to cover all the caves, but seldom went into them. I can vouch that we went into every single one. I recognise each and every photograph on the billboards advertising the grottos, indeed I have a similar snap of all of them.