I once had the pleasure while growing up in a military family of traveling to the Isle of Capri off the shores of Italy. One afternoon, a very persuasive taxi cab driver talked Dad into a privately-guided tour of the famous “Blue Grotto”. The driver’s name was “Mickey Mouse“, and I’ll never forget him. Mickey Mouse insisted on picking us up at the hotel on the following morning at a very particular time. “The sun will be right,” was all he said.
The next day Mickey drove the four of us (Mom, Dad, my sister and me) down to the waterfront where we were loaded into one of Mickey’s rowboats. Quite an entrepreneur, this Mickey. With an economy of strokes Mickey Mouse rowed us to what seemed to be an island outcropping of rock. Seabirds swooped above us. On one side of the island of rock was a small tidal opening to a dark cave. Mickey Mouse pulled the boat through the narrow tunnel and suddenly we were inside an immense, cathedral-like cavern. The surrounding walls did not penetrate all the way to the bottom of the watery cave. Instead, silver light bounced upward from daylight outside the cave reflecting off the white and sky-tinted sand some thirty feet below. The bottom-lighting effect caught my breath.
Mickey pointed and swished the oars across the surface, scattering showers of silver pearls into the darkness, where they splashed like hot, silvery beads of mercury on a polished mirror. We were the only folks inside the Blue Grotto, and Mickey Mouse tossed me a bathing suit, motioning to the water. “You, swim.”
Embarrassed to change clothes in front of my sister, I declined until I stuck my fingers over the side and splashed the water. Silver globules of the sun shot up from my hands, dripped through my fingers, an erupting blue-white volcano silhouetted by dark shadows cast upward from my fingers. That did it. I stripped to my underwear, tossed Mickey’s bathing suit aside, and dived overboard, where I played for half an hour within the most incredible light show the world had ever seen.