Water spout on the Amalfi Coast

We chose to travel from Ischia to Positano by way of two fast boats and a stop-over in Capri. We’d visited the island in 2008 and had enjoyed it, so we wanted to return and see a little more of the island during the few hours’ wait between boats.

After enjoying lunch and a walk from Marina Piccolo, rain arrived as we left Capri for Positano and as the boat neared the Amalfi Coast, it started to adjust course whilst I was photographing the contrast between the dark storm clouds and sunlit upper deck.

Amalfi Coast, Italy

Wondering why, I moved to the side of the boat to look ahead, along with a couple of other passengers, and saw the reason. A water spout (a type of tornado which forms over water) was slowly forming dead ahead, so the ship’s captain had wisely decided to give it a wide berth.

Amalfi Coast, Italy

It didn’t form completely, but the vortex whipped up the sea to a diameter of a couple of hundred metres, and the corresponding funnel reaching down from the cloud was pretty solid-looking. As we passed, both passengers and crew took photos excitedly and watched avidly until we were safely past.

Amalfi Coast, Italy

Behind the vortex, a huge rain squall moved in, and hid the rest of the journey until we reached Positano. The ship’s crew, keen to make a quick profit from the passengers who had come unprepared for rain, passed humorously through the cabin, calling “Positano tsunami! Rain jackets three euro!” We’d brought out proper waterproof jackets and so we disembarked without a care, and took shelter in a beach-side bar to wait for the rain to pass.

Positano, Italy