The kettle's on in Toulon. The sky is clear, the clouds fluffy, and a brisk westnorthwest wind is blowing off the foreshore of this busy harbour. The direction's good, and the wind is predicted to blow all day at Beaufort Force 5, gusting Force 7 (getting all technical on you - gusting 30 plus knots, is what the forecasters mean). We'll sail on today. I say this as if it were something normal instead of something momentous. Enki will shake out her sails, something she's yet to do.
We didn't leave Port Napoleon on Wednesday after all. The weather turned very weird overnight, and we stayed put for another two days. We'd said our goodbyes on Tuesday evening, taking Markus and his family, Ori, Dave and Melinda out to dinner at The Other Boatyard, Navy Services. That was a good last night in Port Napoleon, but when the weather closes in, it's foolish to leave just because you've said your goodbyes.
Yesterday was the day to go. The wind turned from the south-east to north, such wind as there was in the opaque early morning, and we motored out through the channel into the Gulf of Fos. It's a tricky bit of water.We weren't relaxed, not at all.
The masts of this ketch (below) are an unsettling reminder of what happens when you miss the north cardinal mark which alerts mariners to the shifting sandbank at the entrance to the dredged channel.
The wind never came in yesterday. so we gave Enki's big Volvo engine a 60-mile introductory run all the way along the coast to Toulon. It performed faultlessly. Enki plowed through the swell set up by the day before's south-easterly blow at an astonishing 7.5 knots, and even more as we raced to make six o'clock closing time at the Darse Vieille marina. And here we are. On the way, at last. We're pretty happy about that, as you can imagine.