Home Up South!!  

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Our friends Sue and Philip have a place near Cannes and invited us to come and stay with them, where we would have the opportunity to watch England play football on wide screen TV and join in a pseudo English street party.  Well neither of us are the least interested in football, nor are street parties our kind of thing and Cannes was around 300 miles away to the NE - the opposite direction to our planned route out of the Med.  So obviously we set sail for Cannes.  It would be great to see S&P, there was a great restaurant on the beach just round the corner from Cap d'Antibes, and the glamour of the riviera would force us out of our scummy tee shirts and shorts (well one of us at least).  Anyway (we thought) by the time we get there England will probably have been knocked out of the World Cup and the party will be cancelled.

Actually, it was a pretty good trip.  Nothing (much) broke, we managed to sail (rather than motor) most of the way and we caught our biggest tuna to date.  Of course this was at sunset just as we were going to bring the rod in for the night, so we ended up killing and cleaning the thing in almost total darkness by torch light.

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The final excitement was being diverted out of a missile testing area by a French naval helicopter - some words of advice here for the French military:-     1.  If you only call yachts when you're hovering a few feet above their masts, then they'll never be able to hear you!    2.  If you always charter your helicopters from Radio Monaco so that they're red, white and covered in advertising (rather than the more traditional camouflage colours) then you're never going to be taken seriously as a fighting force!

Well we met up with Sue & Philip, we dinghied ashore to eat on the beach at Garoupe, they came and stayed aboard with us for a night at anchor and we moored the boat in Juan le Pins and went to stay with them and watch England be eliminated from the World Cup.  

Then it was time for them to return to the UK and us to make our way slowly back south.  We anchored along the French coast and stayed for a week off the beautiful island of Porquerolles.  This is a wonderful place.  The small village was built in the style of a Caribbean island town, by the original millionaire owner of the island as a present for his wife.  Now it's a nature reserve.  And yes, it's crowded with yachts and yes, there are quite a lot of tourists  (especially during the day), but it still manages to remain reasonably unspoiled and a fantastic place to spend a week especially with an on-going jazz festival.

There was also a small chandlers on the island that spookily stocked spare impellers for our generator - we'd shredded two in as many weeks. One when the water inlet pipe developed a kink and a second when we sucked something into the water inlet.

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Our next stop was Fornells on Menorca.  This is a huge, almost landlocked, natural harbour which is fortunately too shallow for big ships.  It has a small whitewashed village which has only become touristy in a quiet sleepy way and is a really pleasant place to spend a few days.  It has also become home to a number of sailing/windsurfing schools, for which it is a perfect location.  These tend to use the anchored yachts as marks to turn around and it's wonderful to watch the youngest of children piloting little Optimists as if they were born with them attached, or at the other end of the spectrum sixty year olds on their first ever attempt at windsurfing, grimly clutching the boom as they claw their way to windward with the most intense concentration on their faces.

We then received a message from 'Marauder' (Joel & Lilian from Barcelona), to say that they were in Ciutadella, the island's old capital, before Mahon took over. So we sailed around to meet them for a couple of days and of course to go for dinner - we arrived at a restaurant at about 9pm where there was already a short queue, but we were lucky to be seated almost immediately at some extra, illegal tables they put on the road in the motorbike park.  This was to lead later to a discussion between the proprietor and the Policia Local, which looked as if it had been replayed every night for several years -"I've told you before, you can't put tables there."  "But what can I do, the people are all eating now?"  " OK, I'll let it go tonight, but don't do it again."   "Of course not, thank you."   When we left after midnight the queue was even longer and they were still seating people in the bike park.  

Our intention  was to make it to Porto Colom, Mallorca, where there's a really nice restaurant in time for Barry's birthday towards the end of July.  The log for the trip however, reads "Wind on the nose! Tacking. Destination unclear!"  We did of course reach the coast of Mallorca and the next few days log entries read "Anchored in Cala X over sand, beautiful bay, clear water."  "Anchored in Cala Y over sand, etc, etc" peppered with "cruising chute up, chute down, untangling chute again, fishing line tangled in rudder, untangled fishing line, etc, etc."

Then it was Colom, the restaurant was still there, just as good as we remembered it, and just as expensive!  Next day we were a little jaded and needed to go ashore for a "proper" lunch in order to recover.  Later in the afternoon, much to our surprise, Marauder anchored in the bay and dinghied over to invite us out for a second birthday dinner - on Joel.  We'll start the diet next week instead!

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Up South!!
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Last updated 18th March 2018