Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Life On The Ocean Waves

OK, so it's not the ocean exactly, just the Med. But either way, it is up at the crack of dawn this morning (can the crack of dawn be any other time than in the morning? And who is this Dawn bint, anyway?) so we can be on the water early enough to get us to les Santes Maries de la Mer in time for lunch. Yes, that is how Peter - for 'tis his boat on which we are sailing - plans his voyages. No matter where he is going, the kick off time is less to do with tides and weather and currents and all that nautical stuff, and more about where exactly we will be at midday given whatever start time we pick. Sounds sensible to me.

So off we set - Peter, Jacques, Axel, Lynne and myself - suitably provisioned with beer, shortbread biscuits, beer, Penguin biscuits, beer, tea biscuits, tea, beer and bacon butties. Luckily, the French contingent has only just had its breakfast, which means all the more bacon butties for the English contingent.

Fact is, the English contingent has also only just had its breakfast, but nothing stands in the way of an Englishman (or woman) and his (or her) bacon butty - so we down two apiece with a mug of tea while the French contingent - Axel and Jacques - man the tiller. Or whatever that steering wheel type thingy is called. I guess you can already see how much help I am going to be on this particular sailing expedition....

Not that we are doing much actual sailing. In fact, if it wasn't for the motor we wouldn't be leaving Port Camargue at all. Despite the sunny start, we soon run into some fog and just enough wind to be cold whilst not enough to fill the sails. Pretty soon Axel and I are wishing we had gone for something a little more substantial than shorts. Despite Axels' best efforts - he turns out to be something of a wizard sailor - we have to rely on the engine all the way to our destination. Still, the wind is supposed to pick up behind us on the way back....

Lunch in Santes Maries - where we meet up with Wendy and new-born Eloise - is excellent, with a distinctly fishy theme, and we set off back after most of the rose wine in the restaurant has been drunk. At least most of us do. Lynne feels she has overdone it on the Penguin biscuits, shortbread biscuits, bacon butties and beer, not to mention what she polished off for lunch, and so heads back home in the car with Wendy, leaving the rest of us to brave the wild and windy ocean. Ok, sea....

This turns out to be a stroke of genius on her part. For some reason completely unrelated to bacon butties, beer, heavy lunches and rose wine I retire to the forward cabin and promptly fall asleep. Turns out Peter has a similar plan for the aft cabin (see how quickly I become a master sailor with all these nautical terms?), once again leaving the French contingent to steer and do whatever other nautical things need doing.

I am woken with a start after and hour or two as the roof of the cabin comes down sharply to meet my head. The boat is bouncing up and down - hooray, wind and waves at last. I dash upstairs (above decks?) to find that not only did the promised wind not materialise behind us, but it is now blowing right in our faces. And bringing with it some rain. So we have to rely on the engine all the way home too. At least I get to finish off the Penguin biscuits.

All in all a great day (at least when measured in amount of bacon butties, biscuits and alcohol consumed, if not the amount of actual sailing achieved) - huge thanks to Peter for the invite. Next time, can you arrange some wind please?

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