Friday October 25. A sailboat again.

Written by Jack van Ommen on October 25th, 2013

The mast was raised an hour ago.

Friday October 25, 2013. This blog is a longer than the previous ones. I have written most of this on the boat where I have power to keep the battery charged, now I’m back on th park bench to send this.

The drawback of trying to find just any free WiFi connection is that there are lots of them who will use their free service to plant crap on your system. My laptop has slowed down to a crawl, my keyboard would not respond, my internal mouse stopped working. I just ran SpyBot and they found a string of toolbars and a total of 29 problems. There are still a lot of deprived sick people trying to make someone else’s life miserable. Yesterday I washed the boat down from the filth of the 241 locks. There had been a heavy dew and a perfect occasion to get this done. Then I discovered the damage done from one of the attacks on the boat by, presumably, the Gypsy kids. But I suspect that the one late at night was from an air gun. It missed the forward starboard window by four inches and made a pretty deep hole.

I’m in my favorite uniform, shorts and no socks. I’ve kissed my first palm tree. Port Camargue is a manmade community, dug out of the salt flats, a huge marina with a couple thousand boats, 95% sail….Condominium homes and docks. The residential section reminds me of the Alameda middle class sections built since the seventies.

Marc is from Quebec City. He will turn 56 this week. At 24 years old he sold his first I.T. company and went sailing for six years, Caribbean and Bahamas. Then he repeated this with two more ventures, cruised the Atlantic Coast and the Chesapeake Bay, bought a larger sailboat and found his Nordic Tug 37 a year ago in England. It was the boatshow model with which Nordic Tug had planned to enter the European market. The Nordic Tugs are built in the state of Washington. “Vlimeux” the name of his boat is a Quebec word for Rascal. Marc also picked out the motor cycle for me to cruise the Latin American West Coast and to come up to Tacoma in the spring of 2014, a Kawasaki KLR 650. (Let’s see if Sid Nesbit is reading this blog….) Marc has motor biked through Central America, as well. He cooked a superb stew in Aigues Mortes last Tuesday evening. He will be another Quebecois friend I would visit if I can realize my plans to sail the St. Lawrence in 2016? This way of seeing the world by sea and by inland waterways is growing on me. I’d like to come down from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico after I have come up the Atlantic coast again in 2015/2016. Recapitulation of the trip from Amsterdam to the Mediterranean: I left Amsterdam on September 24 and arrived here on October 23rd. Twenty nine days, about 1600 KM or roughly 1000 land miles. 241 locks, €145 in moorage fees, 180 liters (45 gallons) in Diesel fuel. I doubt if there is any other single handed sailor who passed through 600 odd locks in Europe alone, and over 6000 km of European inland waterways.  I was lucky with the weather. Unseasonably warm. I am also pleased to have had another opportunity to experience France for nearly a month. One of my favorite countries. I listen to the radio frequently and get a pulse on the current issues. Just like in Holland many of the radio programs are D-jayed by a trio of two young men and one lady. They try to outdo each other in dominating the conversation, which is done at the speed of lightning and after all is said and done you have not learned anything from it. I think this all originated in the USA by FOX television. But France also has some very worthwhile radio programs like France Culture and a couple religious stations like Radio Catholique France (RCF) which besides religious programs also has excellent news coverage, popular and classic music, cultural and current events and a French language service from Radio Vatican. On October 4, in Reims, I listened to an interview on France Culture of Peter Knapp,  Swiss-French photographer, painter and as it turned out great philosopher. Close to 80 years now he was the fashion photographer for “Elle”, a well known ladies magazine. For anyone with an elementary knowledge of the French language I would recommend that you search for this interview on France Culture Radio. He represents the total opposite of the “trio” d-jays I described. Beautiful, crystal clear use of the French language and his every word is a lesson.  Right now the French are not very happy with us, the scandal of the American secret wire-tapping of the EEC commissionaires.

My plan is to leave here as soon as I have everything checked and have a good weather window and then sail to the Baleares (Mallorca, Ibiza, etc) and then probably make my next stop in Gibraltar. I will confirm this in my next blog, but if I can get the Sail Mail to work without the audio wire, or with it repaired/replaced, then you should from then on just mail me at my old SailMail address. ( I will not post the address because of easy access by spammers to this blog, and will do a “where is Jack” mail to my address list). And CC me at my cometosea address.

 

Leave a Comment