Flamingos vid Medelhavets strandäng
Saturday 1 / 10 in St Gilles
The weather is just as wonderful as it has been for a long time now.
After breakfast we went to the Tourist Office. We asked about where and how we could see the Camargue best. We got broshures for tours by boat to be able to see the black, half wild bulls, white horses, flamingoes, exotic burds and the salinas. I also asked about connection to internet and they had it in the office. We surfed the internet til they closed for lunch at 12.30. The old town was very seeworthy and cosy. We had a rest in an outdoor café with coke and coffe and left St Gilles at 2.35. I was sitting on foredeck in just a batheingsuit. Two white horses came in sight. At 5 we came to the bransh where the Canal du Rhône a Sête split into a canal down to Aigues-Mortes. Here we spent the night behind a bark. Björn made Spaghetti Carbonara anthe new 10 liters box of red wine was opened. The night was warm and cosy. The moon can now be seen again. Just a little slice. In total this day we made 24 km, no locks.
Sunday 2 / 10
The bark left early an we at 10. Aiges-Mortes was seen at 11. After mooring at a very tiny little ”bridge” we went to town to check the tour boats. Then we checked inside the ring wall around the old city. Small streets where a lot of people were walking around this sunday.
In a square there were two big restaurants serving outside. We had to wait for an hour to get the food after waiting for a table in half an hour. Five shrimps frité with the shell on, almost impossible to peel off, beef with frensh fries and Créme Caramel plus beer and coke, 17 € each. The meat was not grilled at all, we ordered well done and it was bloody and we could not cut it with the saw toothed knives. We sent it out and it was only a little better but I could not eat it at all. I had to leave half of it. The railway station was closed and we watched some people playing boule in a park. The weather was stunning. We made 4 km today.
Monday 3 / 10
Sunny as usual. We went down to the tour boats and embarked one with the very nice name: Croisière de Camargue Peniches Isles de Stel. We paid 10 € each and the voyage took two hours. Not very special at all. We saw a couple of white horses and stopped at a farm where they had a show with the black bulls. You can watch the video ”Canal Rodeo” under a tab under Videos. It was nice. This was nearby the place we stayed before we got to Aigues-Mortes. Back in town we went to an Intermarché and bought some food and a headset for my computer.
This place was very expencive: 15,5 € so we left at 2.30 PM. I was sitting on deck in my batheing suite looking for animals but could only see a couple of horses and bulls in some farms. We had a meeting with a couple of barks and at 5 we wore in the lock at St Gilles. After that we did not see any boats the whole way down to Arles where we arrived at 5.15. ”Rembrandt” was already there. We had to stay at a kay, very bad mooring and a very shallow depth. We hit the bottom some times when a big bark was passing. We managed to put all fenders we had in between and only the fore part of the boat aside the quay. The rear part of the boat had to be further out so we could avoid hitting the ground. Now we were afloat again. Puuh!!! A german lady, Bettina from Heidelberg, took the lines when we came in. Weather as usual. 25 degrees at 10.30 PM. We had fried turkey, potatoes and ”Åsas sauce” that Björn made. Crushed pineapple, créme fraiche and some spices. Unknowened mixture! The moon was already half full. Today we made 53 km.
Tuesday 4 / 10
The weather as usual. Björn has cauth a cold and sounds bad. He´s not giving in!! At 12.30 we went to town and to Mc Donalds. At the Tourist office we asked what to see and got a map. At "Place de la Republicue" we looked into a church and then the antique theatre and the Amfi theatre. This one is under renovation on the outside but is used as arena for bull fighting during April and September but out of season they have bull races instead. They put something on the horns of the bull which the bullfighter has to take away. In bull racing it is the bull who is the star. Not to be killed as in bull fighting. Bull fighting exists only in the southern parts of france.
For dinner we had salmon, potatoes and maionnaise. We had 32 degrees in the shadow
Wednesday 5 / 10
Björn called Navy Service at 11 and next day at half past one we could put the mast up.
We went to Fourchon in south of Arles shopping a phone card for Björn in Casino Intermarché and then to Mc Donald for surfing. We did not order anything because there was so many people, lunch time. Back at 2 and we left Arle at 2.30 and i was at the helm while Björn cooked our dinner that we had during the run. We didn´t meet anyone on the way down to Port St Louise This lock is only opened in some special hours. We had to wait for half an hour to get into the loch at 5.45. The lock operator wished us happy voyage. Now we were in the Mediterranean Sea.
In the harbour we met the nice german couple Sabine and Wilfried and their dog Don, a little mini schnauzer. They had been in the Meds for 5, 5 year and recommended Turkey as the most cheap and friendliest country. In Capri, Italia, the fee per night was 150 € and in Monaco they had a too small boat to suit their interrest. Now they are going home to Germany again.
Here we have toilets and doushes and all is free. Moored at 7.30. One lock and 42 km we had made today.
Thursday 6 / 10
Today we had 38 degrees in the boat. We put on the spreaders and stays on the mast to be ready for rigging at 1.30 and we managed in time. 30 minutes more and the mast was in place. 100 € it cost for 30 min. Afterwords we had to put tension on the rig. The germans came and sang to us Congratulations. We were invited on a beer at 7. We continued with putting on the boom, rodkick and furling genua before I had a doush. Then I maid dinner, karré and potatoes. The champagne, saved for celebrating mast up, we brought to their boat Wisa. We had a very nice evening. Björn got the french part of the Block Marine 2008 Mediterranée. Updated every year. They did not use it any more. A german friend, Kaj, came on visit and he had two dogs in his car. They barked a lot and the skipper on Icebird, on its way to Kap Horn ??, got really mad. Kaj bought a boat in USA and has worked on it for three years now. While we were sitting in the cockpit we had some rain drops but we never got wet.
This night the mistral is coming but still it is calm.
Friday 7 / 10
Tonight the Mistral struck us but the sun is shining as before. Björn checked that there was free internet in the Capitainery and we were surfing til 5.45. In the town we visited the Intermarché and were back at 7.30. It was hard in the wind to get to town but home it went smooth. For dinner we had beef with onion and potatoes. Good!! I felt a little down from coldness.
Saturday 8 / 10
The Mistral is working. Sabine and Wilfried came up to us for a chat and we decided they are come over in the evening. Björn went to town and I stayed in the boat. The wind was too strong for my coldness. When Björn was back he baked a cake with instant mix and made Spaghetti Carbonara. After dinner I made the dishes and we put a little cloth on the table, put some candles, goodies, peanuts and some more before Sabine and Wilfried were coming. We had a very pleasant evening.
Sunday 9 / 10
Sunny but some small clouds and a very stong Mistral. Björn put up the Navtex antenna on the pushpit. He had to take everything out from the starboard stew and my bed on starboard side in the aft to drill holes and put the antenna cable all the way to the cabin where he mounted the control panel. He also tensioned the stays plus some other things. I was wrighting on the computer all day until evening. Probably I could not survive as a writer. For dinner we had beef and potatoes.
Monday 10 / 10
Sunny and an enormeous strong wind. Björn connected the Navtex and made some other things and in the evening he went by bike to shop in this storm. We had a little to eat and had a chat.
Tuesday 11 / 10
Sunny and the wind had decreased to only 12 knots. The ship ”Icebird” aiming for Cape Horn?? left at 10.30. Wilfried blow his horn, Good Bye!! and Björn also. We said ”Bon Voyage”. After this big event Wilfried and Sabine came to help getting Björn in the bosun´s chair up to the top of the mast. He had to put up the anemometer. Björn also put up the VHF- and radio antennas on top of the radar mast. Then he mounted the consoles for lifting the dinghy and also tested the whole combination and lifted the dinghy up. It looked good. I am ready with the rest of the diary up to this date.
Åsa has written
Oktober 26 they will booth go home.
Where the boat will be placed is for the moment a deep secret, but somewhere along the south coast of France it will be.
Björn will probably return rather soon but nothing is decided yet ….someone who is tempted to join for an autumne week or more along the Frensh Riviera? Korsica? The Long coast of Italy?
Wednesday 12 / 10
Good weather, sunny and only 16 knots of wind After breakfast we decided to go to the market in town together with Sabine and Wilfried. Björn and Wilfried were on the way in two Marine Chandler stores. The market was really big and there were all kinds of stuff, clothes, food and very much of different kinds of vegetables.
We ordered a grilled chicken in a stand and fetched it later when it was ready grilled. 6.40 €. The market closed at 12. In the boat we had this chicken for lunch, very good indeed!! In the afternoon we went to the beach together with Sabine, Wilfried and Don, very nice. We passed Port Napoleon, went through marsh land in Camargue and we also saw a bunch of red Flamingoes. Wilfried and Björn went afore and we after in a more calm tempo. We discussed and had very nice and now and then we stopped to take some photos. The wide scenery on the beach was lovely. Water temperature was OK. A very nice trip. Later we had the rest of the chicken for dinner.
Thursday 13 / 10
Very nice, sunny weather but the wind was very strong, around 36 knots. Wilfried installed the computer programme ”Zygrib” in my computer and also showed me how ”Windfinder” is functioning. I went to the capitainery to get a weather report to train. I washed some white for me and a couple of shirts for Björn. When I tried to dry them in the wind I had to stand there holding them for a long while, otherwise they had surely flewn all the way to Spain!
At 3 Sabine and Wilfried and Don came for a cup of coffey and some sweet bakery of some kind I bought the day before. We decided that we will come to them at 7.30 together with Kaj. This was the last day together. Next morning they should go out through the lock up the Rhône to Vallance where they will stay for the winter. We spent some cosy time in their cabin, Sabine had mad it very nice. Kaj had brought his little white dog, Tito, but he had to stay in the cockpit cause it had flees! We got spring rolls in pieces, bits of cheese, olives, pins to dip in the tzatsiki, licourice rolls??, small bisquits and wine or beer. Quite a feast!! Kaj showed us pics from his ”Donkey Shed” in spain. The evening was so good!
Friday 14 / 10
Sunny and almost no wind. Sabine and Wilfried were going with their boat WISA through the lock at 8.45. I was up earley to wave them off. I filled water while waiting. They went off 8.15 and we went to the lock, waiting for a last chat in the lock. After they had left the lock we went over to the side of the Rhône and waved to them when they came up the stream. On the side of the Rhône was an allé with palmes, "Allée du Rhône". Back in the boat we had brakfast. Between 12.30 and 5 I was writing. I also wrote an example of e-mail to send to the harbours asking for a birthing place and prices. Then I made a list with e-mail addresses, phone number, opening times and home pages. At 5 we went to the capitainery and Björn sent five mails to harbours. Björn started checking the bimini to see what lenght it should be on the pipes holding up the bimini. He has made it himself and the pipes were not ready made. They had to be shortened to the right height. We had rice and chicken legs for dinner. A very beautiful evening, almost full moon. The water like a mirror.
Saturday 15 / 10
Sunny and almost no wind. Björn worked with the bimini. Beside that we took a trip to the shop and had lunch, we worked all day. For dinner we had chicken legs and rice. After dinner we had coffey and "Pain du Chokolat", some kind of Croissant. Wonderful evening and a beautiful moon up above.
Sunday 16 / 10
Sunny as ever and almost no wind. Just lovely!!! After breakfast I started looking for harbours nearby Toulon and wrote down e-mail addresses and phone-numbers. I had to do until 2 PM. We had coffey at 12 and I had a "Pain du Chokolat. After writing I started cleaning the fenders. They were very dirty after the locks. I was sitting on deck in a beautiful weather.
Björn had to do with cutting the pipes for the bimini and bend them here and there. Then he drilled wholes in the ends so they can be set fast to the other pipes and fittings. This is made by placing a bondages around the pipes, these are originally made for the stay tensioners so they won´t unscrew. We put the bimini up and ajusted the pipes up or down to make it looking good. For dinner we had grilled pork, potatoes and cauliflower. The moon was not up on the sky until 9.30. The water, as a mirror.
Monday 17 / 10
Sunny and no wind. Björn was sitting in the dinghy washing the boat. After that we lifted the dinghy up in the aft. We sent the e-mails to the six harbours around Toulon. We got some answeres and in Toulon old harbour they charge 16.85 € a night or 427 € per month.
In the evening Björn made Spaghetti Carbonara. Now we had stayed at Navy Service 13 days without paying any fee and with both electricity and water and also internet for free. Very generous indeed!
Tuesday 18 / 10
Today we leave Navy Service in Port Saint Louise.
In the morning we asked the girl at the Capitainery to call the harbour at Hyères as it was close to the airport. They had no available places since they had a regatta.
Björn called the harbour at Bandol but they wanted 30 € a night. Then Björn sent an e-mail to Toulon to accept their invitation. I filled water and gathered all garbage and then we stewed for seagoing. At one PM we took off. A little wind we had. The fenders came in and when we had reached outside the reef Björn put up the sails.
At last, for real, out in the Mediterranean Sea.