August, 2012 browsing by month


Saturday August 11. Marseille

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

The main news item is that I now have a French mobile phone number 0033

I will carry both the French and the Dutch cellphone with me. I plan go to 9.30 mess and then leave for Port St. Louis de Rhone and get the mast down in the next couple of days.

So far I have one positive response to company for the trip through France and my cousin Carol de Vries is also supposed to join me. Last night Marseilles rocked but now they have all disappeared for the weekend. Lots of empty berths in the Marina. It is hot.

Today is my youngest son, Seth, 32nd birthday. Be sure to wish him Happy Birthday.



Friday Aug 10, Marseille

Friday, August 10th, 2012

I went for a long walk. This is an amazing city. Tomorrow more. The one place I spent some time, above the harbor, is the abbey of St. Victor. It’s origins date back to the 4th century. An incredible structure and history.,_Marseille

Just above it is the oldest bakery in Marseille from 1785, but then in comparison the Mastmaker’s business of my mother’s family started in 1804 and is also still in the 6th generation of my cousin.

Thursday August 9. In Cassis, Provence

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Not much wind yesterday. I motor sailed the short distance to near Cassis. I tried to moor in one of the fjordlike inlets of “Les Calanques” a steep rocky coast, just east of Marseille. But the inlet was packed with boats and I left and went back across the bay from Cassis and anchored in a bay under Cap Canaille. gorgeous setting. During the afternoon the constant buzz from the crickets in the P:ine trees at night the sound of the surf. I will explore a few more of the Calanques inlets today. And will probably alread end up in Marseille by this evening. It is only 13 plus sea miles from here.

Then I plan stay a few days in this interesting city and next head to Port St. Louis de Rhone to get the mast down and prepare the boat for the canals, more fenders, wooden side boards, etc. and arrangements to ship the mast to Holland. I am having a fit trying to purchase more prepaid time for my cell phone. Every time I try contact T-Mobile Holland on the internet I have to get a new password and then they tell me when I have a new one to wait because it is not available yet…..

Cassis is a wonderful town. This is where the Cassis wine originates. There are some gorgeous estates on the walk from the bay where I am parked to the town. Reminds me of Santa Barbara. Virginia Wolf used to hang out here and other famous writers, artists of her time.


Tuesday August 7, Toulon

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

I decided to stay another night. I pay exactly the same here as in Cannes Euro 26.41. Toulouse turned out to be more attractive than the first impression. Further uptown it has a little more of the original charm. However the Germans did a much better job in rebuilding their piles of rubble in the former style from the allied bombings than the French did of what the Germans destroyed. Toulon reminds me much of Le Havre. Tall apartment blocks with retail and restaurants on the street level. There was a great outdoor market and it has an indoor shopping mall near the port with a Carrefour super market the size of a Wall-Mart. So, I got a bunch of my shopping done. I plan leave early in the morning before the NWesterly gets up to strength. It blew like stink today. I will most likely anchor out in the Calanques, possibly for two nights. This looks like a real intriguing part of the coast before I get to Marseille. I should be in Marseille on Saturday and then leave for Port St. Louis du Rhone to get ready for the trip through France.

There is only one place here of the about 50 eateries and bars on the waterfront that has wi-fi,  a brasserie called “Le Navigateur”. It took me more than an hour last night finding it. Sometimes you get surprised by someone who likes his job. When I sat down here and had not turned my laptop on the same waiter from last night set an ice cold Heineken draft on my table.


In Toulon

Monday August 6. Toulon, Cote d’Azur

Monday, August 6th, 2012

I left Cannes Sunday afternoon and made it to Sainte Maxime, right across the bay from Saint Tropez. I anchored and had a good night sleep. The weather forecast was for a mild S.E. wind. But it turned into a real nasty  plus knot SW. Right on the nose. At first the seas were still reasonable but once I came around a cape the waves became really wild. The auto pilot nor the wind vane could handle this so close hauled motor sailing so I hand to hand steer. This makes watching the charts down below very difficult. At one point I was not making any headway and the boat was galloping like a bronco, I was about to turn back. There were just no hiding places along the way for the wind direction. I finally made it into Toulon at 8 p.m.

Toulon is not much to look at. It was all rebuilt after WW II, the Germans bombed it and when they retreated they destroyed the rest of it. It is the main French Naval port. The “Mistral” amphibious assault ship lays right across the marina.

Tomorrow morning there is supposed to be a force 6 N.W., so I might wait that one out, however the “Meteo” has lost most of its credibility as far as I am concerned.




Sunday August 5 in Cannes

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

I just got out of the 10 o’clock mass at Notre Dame de Voyage, very appropriate place for a traveller. I shall be on my way west wards towards Marseille in the next hour or so. I really enjoyed my stay here. The moorage in the excellent marina was reasonable, 26 euroes. I did not take many pictures here because you have seen them. The large hotels on the water side, going back to the early 20th century when the English discovered Cannes. Many restaurants with their tables lined along the narrow streets. All filled with tourists, French, Italian, Scandinavian, English, very few Americans. In the marina I have not seen another American yacht.

Last night I had such a very rewarding and emotional visit with the Ly-Lap family. As it turns out my recollections of when I last saw Lilian Ly-Lap were wrong. I thought in Saigon in February 1963, but she reminded me that she came to visit us in 1969 in Belgium with Genevieve. Lily had not changed at all. She is up in her eighties and her three children range from 60 to 69. The last time I saw Claudine in 1963 she was 11. Genevieve and her husband Uyen live in Chieng Mai Thailand, Claudine in Grenoble and I was very fortunate to meet them all at their mother’s apartment in Nice. Michel lives in a suburb of Nice and Marie Helene lives also in Nice. We had lots to talk about. Liliane and Genevieve had made an outstanding buffet dinner with a Vietnamese salad and Ba-Bun ( beef noodle dish).


Friday August 3rd Cannes, Cote d’Azur

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

I left the anchorage in Porto Cervo on Wednesday at 6.30 a.m. But had decided to go and fill up my fuel tank and one of my 5 gallon jerry cans with diesel.  It was posted as being open 24 hours. The evening before I had rowed out to the so called “Vechio” port part of Porto Cervo. Very little “old” about it but every fancy retailer had a shop here, Louis Vutton, Bulgvaria, you name it.  Anyway I found the narrow access to the fuel station. When I backed in between the 240 foot “Laurel” super yacht, owned by a Seattle man and the largest yacht ever built in the Delta shpyard, and the 14 foot passsage left between “Laurel” and his neighbor with my 10 foot beam, I had a scare. All of a sudden a large hatch door swung open from “Laurel” just a few feet in front of me. I screamed and stepped on the brakes. A Filipino crewman stuck his head out and immediately closed the large side door again. Not sure if there was going to be a unmanned submarine emerging from it or what.

The service station did not open till 8.30. But I had time to fold a couple sails on the dock and fill my water tank. I also talked to two of the South African crew members of “Laurel” . I asked if this was Micro Soft money. :No, they have much bigger boats… They knew some of the crew members of “Cassino Royal” on which Greg and Marlys Clark were skipper and crew and by whom I was “royally” treated in Fort Lauderdale in April 2009.

It was a good thing that I filled my 20 gallon fuel tank because I decided to skip Corsica and head straight for Cannes. I have seen all I want to see for now in the Med. And I’m anxious to get on the river and canal trip through France and back to Amsterdam. The wind was right. I sailed most of Wednesday and Wednesday night. But Thursday there was no wind and I motored for ever. Till the wind came up again for a while on Friday morning. I arrived in Cannes at 1 p.m. but had to wait for a berth in the marina till 2.30 p.m. This is where I will meet up with Liliane Ly-Lap, who I saw last February 26th 1963 in Saigon. Tomorrow, Saturday night, I will join the family in Nice. This will be a verty emotional encounter because this family was much a part of the wonderful 1 1/2 years I lived in Saigon from late ’61 till early ’63.

This morning the ocean was alive with small Tunas jumping, see below picture. I dragged my trap line and I was sure this time I’d be lucky. I had already improvised on Jacques Brel’s “Je vous ai porte des bonbons, parceque les fleurs sont perisables” with “Je vois ai porte un poisson…..” No such chance.

When I exited the Straight of Sardinia, between Sardinia and Corsica, I saw this huge sail boat coming my direction, from behind. It had to be 90 foot plus. I coluld not figure out wher he was heading , looked he was going to North Africa, S.W., I was heading West. He had great boat speed, he crossed my bow but an hour later he was back crossing my bow the same distance ahead of me. Can you imagine what has to through the head of the owner paying multi million bucks for a piece of crap that sails upwind 20 degrees below a 30 footer???