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
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
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
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.
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!