We left the loveliness of Monaco and continued just a few miles down the south coast of France to another point of loveliness– Villefranche. We walked through the fortification on the hill and began looking for the covered narrow streets that have been there since the 1200′s. They are located on Avenue Obscure.
After a late breakfast, it was time to move on. We made our way to Antibes–a bit larger city with a fairly large British ex-pat community. we were still have trouble with the motor, and hoped to find someone who could answer the problem there.
Antibes is home to a beautiful beach, and a Picasso museum. Picasso stayed there for a couple of months at the chateau once owned by the monarchy. He donated quite a collection upon his leaving.
There is a great medieval walled city in Antibes and our boat neighbors, Mark and Chris, recommended a restaurant called Le Brulot–all meals cooked in a wood-fired oven. It was a very old establishment with every possible space used for serving. Mark and Chris recommended the duck, which was more like “duck steak” served with peppercorn sauce. It was fantastic. Thane ordered the fish special and we shared a pitcher of wine. After cafes, they brought out a shot of lemon cello for the ladies and a shot of calvados for the gentlemen.
After dinner, we walked through the many artists and vendors set up inside the wall. We passed by a piece we needed to bring home with us! I did not snap a picture before she began rolling it up, but you get the general impression from what is visible. Now, where to hang it?!
It’s not all fun and sun when traveling on a boat. I have mentioned several times that we had trouble with the engine sputtering and quitting on us. Not a comfortable feeling. We had a couple of surface scratches that were causing the dinghy to deflate, so we needed to take care of that as well. Some other cruiser has said “sailing is just making boat repairs in exotic places.” (or something like that!) Thane called a mechanic recommended to us by Stephen and Christine from our time in Civitevecchia. He came and watched as Thane explained the situation–the Racor filters were always empty when the engine would die. The mechanic tightened a few hose clamps and we ran the engine for a while and everything ran as it should. So no real answers.
The dinghy patching, however, was successful. One thing crossed off the list.
We were grateful for Mark and Chris on the power yacht next to us, Ocean Spirit, for their advice on where to go and what to see in the area. We returned the favor by teaching them how to play Pirate’s Dice (liars dice). Thanks for a great time in Antibes Chris and Mark. Once the winds calmed down, it was time to leave Antibes.
From Antibes, we sailed to Ile de Porquerolles and were able to use our new Parasailor sail. We were so glad to be “on a hook” anchored that we did not explore the area on foot. Also, the little 2.5hp Honda was not working either. Thane spent some time trying to get it running, but without success.
We only had a day at the island because we knew the winds were going to pick up again. In Europe, they name the winds coming from the different directions. Wind from the NNW in France whips down the Rhone valley and is called the Mistral wind. It can blow from 3 days to a week and are generally 35 mph or more. We were in store for the week long Mistral. Gabrielle from Galileo and our time in Capraia suggested Sanary, France as a great place of “asylum” if the winds were strong. This was great advice because the harbor town is beautiful and full of activity. Each night the street vendors set up and families and people young and old are strolling along the harbor. Here are a few of the sights we experienced during the week.
One of the jobs to be taken care of in Sanary was to get the Honda 2.5hp motor going again. The tourist information office was most helpful in making calls for us and located someone who could fix the motor who was just a kilometer away. Rather than try to load the motor into a cab, we opted for the walk.
There was a friendly young cat on the property who found a perch on my back at one point. It has been a few years since I had a cat on my shoulders! I’m not sure he has a name. He was a stray that took up residence at the boat yard and has taken control.
The Honda problem was a piece of sand in the carburetor that was quickly fixed and we were on our way.
Another mystery was solved in Sanary. We had the same engine trouble with the 55 hp Volvo stopping on us as we headed into Sanary. We had enough engine power to get us into the slip, thankfully. After much dwelling and deliberation, Thane had us trace the fuel lines again. The fuel line that was to come from the tank through the filters and into the engine was not where it should be. Instead the return fuel line from the engine to the tank was in its place. Why? It finally dawned on Thane that when we had work done over the winter to replace the diaphragm that seats the sail drive in the boat, the mechanics would have had to move the engine and probably took off the fuel lines–and mixed them up in replacing them. Thane changed the lines and, I am happy to report, we have not had an issue since then (as of July 20)
While we were in Sanary, we were close to Aix en Provence and l’Orange. I wanted to see the Roman theatre in l’Orange, so we rented a car and drove two hours to see the site after a quick lunch stop in Aix en Provence.
We met Brian and Margaret from Scotland while at the Roman Theatre and enjoyed the self-guided walking tour.
Between Aix en Provence and l’Orange is a little area called Chateauneuf de Pape–full of wineries and vines. We stopped on our way back to Sanary and had just a short time to sample a couple of wines. The area is famous for being the summer palace of the Popes when the Popes were situated in France. There is only one wall left of the Palace, but the views of the Rhone valley and the vineyards was terrific.
Time to say good-bye to our week in Sanary with a new color and cut. We will miss the daily fresh market and lovely harbor filled with handmade wooden boats.
We have just a couple of days before we need to be in Marseille to meet Bill and Ceca Cooper and their daughter Camille-”Yazi”, and her husband Miguel. One stop was at Port Mieu in the calanque near Cassis. Lovely narrow gorge filled with boats!
Our last stop before Marseille was to check out our first possible stop with the Coopers. We stayed at Isle du Frioul, an island right next to the infamous Ile ‘dif–from The Count of Monte Cristo fame.
Next stop Marseille!