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Tuesday, 21 June 2016

SOMETHING NEW - VIA ACQUACARBONE

Following  last year's  creation of a new hiking trail, the Giro di Santa Croce, up behind Termini (Massa Lubrense), Giovanni Visetti and volunteers are now ready to inaugurate another.
This latest is  a short and simple loop of just over 5 kms and with little  elevation gain (just over 100 metres), which will take you from Sant'Agata sui Due Golfi, circumventing the Deserto at between 300 and 400masl, round to Acquara and Pastena, before bringing you back to your starting point. It has been  made possible by the clearing of another ancient path, Acquacarbone, which had long since sunk into virtual oblivion and been submerged in vegetation. 
Up until the middle of last century, before the construction of the road between Sorrento and Sant'Agata, this route will have been the main thoroughfare between Sant'Agata and the village of Priora. Starting from Via Olivella, it runs parallel and above the present road and at just 2km long is much shorter than the 5kms of the road.
The re-opening of this path also creates many other options for walking from Sant'Agata to Massa Lubrense or to Sorrento using minor roads and paths. Not only can you avoid the noise, danger and fumes of the traffic  whilst enjoying the shade of the chestnut woods, but you will also be able to enjoy magnificent views over the Bay of Naples, from Capri to  Vesuvius and Faito; and all this past gardens and olive groves, along quiet dirt paths and paved lanes.
The inauguration of the trail will take place on Friday 24th June, departing at 18.00hrs from the square in Sant'Agata.

Photos and map courtesy of Giovanni Visetti.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

THE BAY OF JERANTO - PROTECTED MARINE RESERVE?

Protected Marine Reserve?
Unwelcome intruder
This morning I took myself off to Jeranto which is conveniently near to where I live and a place I am very fond of.The first time I went there was in my late teens with my extended Italian family - we used to have our Easter picnics down there and very merry occasions they were too! In the summers to come I also sometimes went there for a swim , but in those days, before the Marine Reserve was created, it was mayhem, with boats of all shapes and sizes coming in and out of the bay from dawn til dusk. It was more like a busy highway, be it at sea, and you ran a real risk of having your legs chopped off by a propeller if you didn't watch your back. The beach was cram jam full and noisy and as the boats came in from Cantone to offload yet more people, it quickly became standing room only. The quality of the water suffered massively and there was a constant smell of fumes. 
David(s) and Goliath 
Luckily  all that stopped with the creation of the Punta Campanella Marine Reserve in 1997. Soon no motorized boats were allowed to enter, which meant that the only way to get there was on foot and that along a path with a steep descent on the way there, so of course a steep ascent on the way back. If you add to that a surface that is fairly rough and can be slippery, a beach that has no conveniences such as toilets, snack bars or even water , a lot of people  go there the first time but never come back. Good. Even so, it is surprising how many people do go (at weekends it is very crowded) and hats off to them for actually taking the trouble to walk. At least now there is a very good chance that they will be rewarded with crystal clear water and excellent snorkelling.
On to the next two
Last but not least
Well, back to the point of this blog. Not content with just strolling to Jeranto and back, I continued  my hike, taking the CAI300 path from Nerano up to Monte San Costanzo, and then  along the other side of the Bay of Jeranto. Looking down to admire the view, I saw a large boat enter the bay and very noisily drop anchor. From its flag I could see that it definitely wasn't the one  Marine Reserve boat which is allowed access. This was quickly followed by a couple of dinghies. A smaller boat had already been there for some time. I have to confess that all this annoyed me greatly and I was just wondering what to do when from behind the headland 3 kayaks appeared, quickly making their way towards the larger boat. They paddled up alongside, evidently got their message across, and then moved swiftly on to the dinghies before approaching the last boat. The dinghies upped anchor and left as quickly as they had come. I didn't stay to watch the departure of the others, but continued happily on my way.
So a very well done to the sea patrol! Keep up the good work!




 

Monday, 6 June 2016

WHATEVER NEXT...?

On Saturday, by pure chance, I saw a post on Facebook, where photos had been published of a "new entry" along one of the most panoramic and popular trails in Massa Lubrense, from Nerano to the Bay of Jeranto: an antenna on a pole and something resembling a fridge balanced on the rocks looking out to sea. To start with I really wasn't sure of the authenticity of the photos, thinking it might be someone's idea of a sick joke, but regretfully it wasn't.
I immediately asked Giovanni Visetti, if he knew anything about it. He too had just seen the news and the following morning went to take a look.
Here are the main points of his subsequent blog:
- this  project was approved and decided by none other than the Ministry of Environment, Land  and Sea.
- this is just one of a series of  eleven sites chosen to monitor and protect the waters of the Natural Marine Reserve Punta Campanella.
Now apart from any considerations of whether this is actually a valid project  and worth the money it has no doubt cost  (one does wonder who is actually going to control the data and who will be taking any action against potential offenders?), would it have been too much to ask for  this equipment to be set up in some other point, or at the very least, less obtrusively and more respectful of the surroundings?
Why put it  on a popular and busy hiking trail?
Why dump the cabinet right at the centre of a viewpoint and not against a rock face or concealed (even partially) in the vegetation?
Why encumber an open and extremely panoramic space with cables and a solar panel (as well as the cabinet)?
And finally why on earth did the "gentlemen" who carried out this work, (commissioned, let us not forget, by the Ministry for the Environment), leave  pieces of electric wires, plastic ties and duct tape on the ground around the site, rather than clearing up behind them? 
I shared the photos on my Facebook page "SorrentoAmalfiWalkWithUs" with the comment "Look what has appeared along the path to Jeranto" and within hours the comments came flocking in. By the end of Sunday there had been over 3000 hits and dozens of shares (now up to over 4,500!), so it is not as if people are indifferent. 
Fortunately the local administration (who were blissfully unaware of the situation until the same photos appeared on their Facebook page)  has assured us that measures will be taken to remove it and locate it elsewhere. Hopefully this will be sooner rather than later bearing in mind that it took years to get rid of the ugly and rusting pylons that were ruining the views along this very path. 

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