How to get swallowed by the Blue Grotto without losing your cool
When sunlight shines through the underwater cavity at the entrance to this Italian sea cave, it creates a ridiculously amazing, otherworldly glow that transforms the cave's interior. The above-water opening of the cave, which is about one and a half meters in diameter, is barely large enough for a small rowboat to pass through. In order to enter the grotto, a boat's rower waits until the swell is at its lowest point, then quickly propels his tiny craft forward by pushing off the rock overhead with his arms. He does so while yelling to the boat's occupants to hunker down in the fetal position, or else. I watched several boats ahead of me disappear into the unknown using this method of entry, narrowly escaping the boat-splintering force of the sea. Finally it was our turn. I held my breath, waited for the command, and prayed. Here are two important lessons I learned:
1. Timing is everything
2. Scalp hair grows back over time.
Okay, I'm just kidding about number two. But don't think I didn't spend a few frantic moments contemplating how I would look with a Gregorian monk coiffure for the rest of my life. Thankfully, the Italian rowers guiding the boats are seasoned experts. (And most of them are quite lively opera singers, as well.) I'm happy to report the novelty and beauty of the Blue Grotto experience was well worth the risk.