Sunday, 6 May 2012

Breakfast on the pontoon

This is what we see from Enki's stern deck. Still a marina, but not bad, eh? My expectations have been modified after a couple of weeks at Port Napoleon, but I rate our new view of the travel lift as a considerable improvement on our old view of the rump of the sprawling port of Fos-Marseilles. I tried to get a white Camargue horse in the foreground, but hey, who's pretending it's anything but agricultural out there. 

Last night was our first night sleeping aboard Enki. We got the mattresses out of the upholstery loft and into the aft cabin by mid-afternoon. First we moved enough clothing to fit out a small Pacific nation (why did I do it? why didn't I leave it all at home?) into her forgiving lockers. There were a few hiccups last night, but our bed was comfortable and,  as of this afternoon, Alex fixed the toilets, and we have hot water. 

Yesterday morning, feeling flighty, we drove out of the boatyard and beyond Port Saint Louis for the first time in two weeks. As we crossed the marshy land between the Rhone and Fos, I suddenly saw them - the flamingos. It was my first time.  I'm sorry we couldn't get better shot, but there are few places to stop on that road.  I promise you, even in this flat mid-morning light they were worth pulling over for, such delicate creatures with a naughty flash of deep pink of the underside of their wings. 

I had tracked down the perfect kayak (my choice is a Hobie Lanai kayak, weighing 17 kg) at Martigues. Martigues styles itself as a little Venice. It has watery light and a few canals, a couple of them linked by quaint old bridges, but other than that you're scratching to find much else the two towns have in common. 

After we'd clinched the kayak deal at Marcon Yachting, which is under the very un-Venetian bridge above, we did a bit of telecommunications, buying top-ups for the phone and iPad at an SFR shop because the SFR website says non to foreign credit cards. Then we wandered the lanes. A treat! 

Today the French are voting for a new president and it's quiet in the boatyard, not because of the election but because it's Sunday, and on Tuesday, which is May 8, the anniversary of the German surrender to the Allies in 1945, there's another public holiday. The following week, the public holiday falls on Thursday. Even the French despair of getting any work done in May. Everyone is too relaxed, says Silvain, who doesn't have a leg to stand on in the "too relaxed" department, having spent eight months making two stainless shoes for our davits. Oh, I say, and why would that be?  It's the holiday season, he says, as if it were the most obvious thing in the universe that in the Mediterranean the summer season has already begun. Ah, that's it.  

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