Begging, Beyonce & Boating in Sicily

Begging, Beyonce & Boating in Sicily


The sun was setting quickly, so I begged. 

Typically the tourists are gone at this point in the day. The beach in the tiny seaside Sicilian village of Taormina was desolate. Being off-season sealed the deal. 

But I couldn’t let go of the idea of getting out on the water for blue hour. So I begged the owner of the boat and gave him the biggest, brightest smile I could. “Please take us out. We can make it really quick. I’m so sorry to bother you, but we really wanted to go out there…” I was whining at this point as he pulled his boat up onto the sand. 

A local approached us, apparently his buddy, wondering what the fuss was about. Lots of Italian words were exchanged and 50 euros came from my pocket (don’t tell Dan!). The boat owner gave me a warm smile and in a thick accent, “alright, let’s go quickly!”. 

I nearly leapt into the boat. 

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Crawling on all-fours while the boat rocked on the waves, I braced myself against the railing by the bow. The air was fresh and salty as we motored out of the bay. As I turned to look back, suddenly Avicii’s “Wake Me Up” filled the air and the driver, Roby, sang along at the top of his lungs. 

The tiny bay of Taormina shrank behind us while I doubled over with laughter.

(Surely his name wasn’t really Roby? Perhaps Roberto or Alberto? No, “Roby” he wanted us to call him.)


The view ahead quickly became obstructed by the rugged coastline as we veered towards a grotto behind the rocks.


Roby drove towards the sea cave, which from my perspective was yet to be visible. I was sure we’d crash into the rocks. The grotto emerged and was nearly pitch black aside from the bright blue sea below. We screamed out of surprise and fear while the music echoed off the cave walls around us.

The scene was impossible to capture. One of those ‘you just had to be there’ moments, ya know? It’s okay that way, I think.

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We headed back out to sea as Roby flicked his iPod to Beyonce (yes, really!). Moving down the coastline, our goal was to catch a glimpse of Mount Etna, an active volcano not far away, before the sun melted below the horizon.

(Who would think that a boater in Sicily would appreciate B as much as I did?)

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Low and behold, there we were – on the Sicilian coast, at sunset, watching a smoldering volcano. The clouds above the mountain seen below was actually smoke from the bubbling lava inside. She’s active alright.


As we made a big sweeping turn in the bay I couldn’t help but think about how darn lucky I was to be in such a place. Being so far from the world I always knew in Virginia was incredibly moving. This, while I mouthed along “drunk in lovvvvve” with Queen B.

My daydream persisted until I was jarred back to reality as a loud horn blew behind me. Dear old Roby was blowing with all his might into a huge conk shell. 


Startled, I quickly scurried to the back of the boat to see what the noise was all about. Roby forced the conk in my hand, “you try”, he persisted with a laugh. 


Another Top 40 hit, this time- country!

Can this evening cruise get any better?

Luke Bryan filled the air as we returned back to the little harbor. 


Roby turned up the music even more loudly when he spotted a wedding reception taking place on the beach.

I waved like I knew them. It just felt right at the moment.


After the cruise I turned into a broken record player, “Well, I’m so glad we did that…” I said, over and over. We bid our farewells to Roby as he pulled his boat up onto the sand for the second time that day.

Nearby we wandered up to a sweet little restaurant overlooking the harbor.

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For dinner I drank in the view (ewww, cheesy!), red wine and treated myself to seafood ravioli with shrimp. 

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For dessert a fabulous pistacio encrusted cake arrived. I didn’t know what to do it was so tasty… so I ate every last bite of it.


After dinner I strolled the now-cold sand and embraced the tranquility of the beach. Tomorrow the tourists would return, Roby would be at it again, blasting his music as he went, and I’d be somewhere far away. But tonight the beach was mine.

And what did I learn?

If you want something, beg.