The arrival at the Mediterranean Sea
Day 77 Gergy to Tournus - 26 nm
Itís funny, no matter how little these French towns are, they always have a bakery, a restaurant, a local grocery and a church. Most of the places are very clean and decorated with flowers everywhere. I had plan to do the laundry today, but luckily for me there where no access to water at the harbour so I got away from that activity.
The days are lovely with calm weather and temperatures way over 30 degrees. The landscape is widening more and more, and I see high mountains in the distance. For the first time I am passing vineyards. The hours passes way to fast and the suddenly itís evening. Today I had to do my laundry. A bucket of water works as a washing machine, just putting it in the sun to heat up.
Day 79 Montmerle Sur SaŰne to Lyon - 27 nm
I had the feeling of butterflies in my stomach as I was approaching France second biggest town Lyon, with a population of over 1,2 million. Me who have been on my own in 14 days am suddenly having people around me everywhere. Today the outside temperatures are 38 degrees and 44 inside. In the evening I was able to get telephone contact with Norway. I was then told that two friends of mine, Nina and Sverre, are looking for me close to Lyon. I almost did not believe what I heard. I called them up and found out they was at a place only 2 hours north. So later that night they came walking down the harbours with their backpacks on. I had to pinch my arm to check that I wasnít dreaming. A wonderful surprise! They want to sign on for a period of time down to the Mediterranean Sea. We went to a restaurant to celebrate their arrival.
Day 80 Lyon
It has been a funny night! Nina and Sverre are having some problems adjusting to the heat onboard. 35 degrees and a sweaty body sticking to the sheets made them stay awake a couple of hours longer. Today we went for a relaxing walk in the city, for the temperatures was now over 40 degrees. We cooled of our legs in the city fountains and a leaking hose. When the sun set we made a creative night with cartoons, slideshow, request concert and quiz.
Day 81 Lyon to Les Roches De-Condrieu - 25 nm
The boat is initially not of the large size, so with 3 people onboard itís getting a little crowded. You have to go outside to change your opinion, and itís necessary to have a coordinator to find all the cloths and equipment. It makes it very funny though, and we are managing well. I am sleeping in the forepeak and Nina is lying on the table, which are lowered down to the bench level for the occasion. Sverre is sleeping in the small bed at the stern, and he have renamed it the crematorium, and it is definitely living up to that name :).
Day 82 Les Roches De-Condrieu to Valence - 39 nm
Now itís once again confirmed; I sleepwalk, and sometimes two times at night. The breakfast was eaten along the way, with a beautiful view in all directions. We passed great vineyards that lay up in the mountains, as we were moving in a very slow and relaxing tempo. The heat really gets to you, so we filled up the cockpit with some water to take a cooling bath. The night temperatures are around 27-28 degrees.
The vineyard landscape we had yesterday has changed. It is still high mountains covered with green forests, and many old fortresses placed on strategic places. We are travelling much on dikes now, and most of the villages we pass are at a lower level. Often we just see house roofs and chimneys. When we arrived at the harbour we went for a walk. This town is old and really nice. A lot of brick houses close together and a wonderful French atmosphere filled the streets.
Day 84 Viviers to Avignon - 40 nm
I waked up at 08.00 and already at 08.07 I had loosened up the moorings. Sverre came out sweaty from his crematorium just as I started the engine. Nina sleepet a littlie longer. Sverre made a wonderful breakfast, since it is Sunday. I have the feeling of being at a hotel :). After the breakfast we arrived at the journeys tallest water lock. It is 23 meters deep, but the water level dropped with 1 meter a minute, so it didnít take to long time. Avignon is a beautiful city with town walls around the whole centre. A festival was held so the streets were full of people. Everywhere there was persons entertaining and making a great atmosphere.
Day 85 Avignon to Arles - 24 nm
We started the day with a walk in the old part of the town. The breakfast was a hot panini and a sweet puff pastry for dessert. This is a town worth visiting if you are in the area. There are beautiful old buildings and a lovely park area. Just before 12.00 we started the journey down south. With a helpful parallel flow we reached a speed at 8,9 knots :). We were recommended to stop at the town called Arles, but were disappointed when we arrived. The town was dirty and not very appealing, but we had fun spending the evening onboard with a movie and a little candy.
This was the last leg before the Mediterranean Sea. I felt the butterflies arrive in my stomach, a lovely feeling. The canal journey through Europe has ended and a total of 250 water locks are passed. The last canal were very shallow, only 1,8 meter deep, and when we met other boats we had to slow down and go long the shore where the canal only were 1,2 meters deep. The second last bridge was broke, so we had to turn and take a 1 hour detour. Finally ocean, what a feeling! I got gooseflesh all over the body and a little teardrop in the corner of my eye. An enormous sight met us with blue oceans as far as the eye could see, sandy beaches along the shore and lots of boats. We cast anchor bathed in the sea which held a temperature at 27 degrees.
Day 87 Le Grau Du Roi
I felt a sleep with a smile around my face yesterday, and waked up this morning with the same expression. I am very happy to have made it so far in my tiny sailboat. The port we stayed in is the biggest port in Europe for pleasure boats, with 5 000 boats and 2 500 apartments. We got the mast up and all the equipment that is needed for the sailing. Later that day we went to a marked which sold everything from bred to living dogs and pigs. Nina and Sverre went swimming that night while I was making the boat ready for sailing the next day. Then we went to a restaurant and enjoyed a culinary meal to celebrate that the journey had come so far.
Day 88 Le Grau Du Roi to Frontignan Plage - 20 nm
Itís lovely to sleep without having the alarm clock on. Before we loosened the moorings, we went shopping and washed the boat. Then we just rounded the pier and anchored up next to the beach. We swam and enjoyed ourselves. It was plenty of people and a lot of vessels at sea. Sailboats, windsurfers, kayaks, jet skies and engine boats. At 17.00 we lifted the anchor and the sail was set for the first time in the Mediterranean Sea. The course was set for a little fishing village and the boat was keeping a nice speed at 5-6 knots. Itís lovely to sail in this weather, with only boxer shorts to wear.
Day 89 Frontignan Plage to SŤte - 5 nm
During the night a thunderstorm passed by with some rain, but in the morning the clouds had disappeared again. Our short leg today was bound for the main port in SŤte, a fishing town with a population of 41 000. The port was very busy with big fishing vessels. We travelled around the town and had some sweat food. The evening was spend onboard with food and music.
Day 90 SŤte to Valras Plage - 26 nm
The day started early, at 08.00 the sail was set. The wind came somewhat against us at a speed of 8-10 m/s. We held a nice speed and steady course, with some sea spray comming over the deck. Right next to the port in Valras Plage laid the downtown and miles of beaches. We just jumped into our swim briefs and played at the beach. We built a large sand castle with walls around, and dug us down in the sand. The streets downtown was filled with restaurants and the smell trigged our appetite. But we was stroked by our common sense and made the food onboard; itís way too expensive to eat out to often for a poor sailor.
Day 91 Valras Plage to Port-Leucate - 30 nm
It was Sunday and we used that as an excuse to sleep late. The breakfast was set outside with a wide range of spread and some boiled eggs. Some sun lotion had to be shopped before we continued the journey down south. We had beautiful sailing conditions today with wind speeds at 5 m/s and flatly ocean. The air temperature was 32 degrees, so we sweated even though we only had our underwear on :). The landscape around us is just like a fairytale, with white beaches, nice little towns and tall beautiful mountains in the background.
This was another great day in my life. We sat sail towards another country; Spain! We left the port before breakfast, but anchored up at the beach. Then we could cool ourselves down with a little morning swim. We had little wind when the sail was set, so the first hours we kept a speed at 2-3,5 knots. The whole day we sailed nearby the shore, with white beaches as far as the eye could see. But when we arrived at the border between France and Spain the landscape changed drastically. On the Spanish side there were cliffs and tall mountains along the coast.
Day 93 Llancŗ to Roses - 21 nm
When it was time to shop the breakfast, we ran into a problem. There existed no ordinary grocery store. One shop sold the cheese, another shop was the bakery, another had the vegetables and jet another for the meat. And inside the shops there stood one man behind the counter and he collected what you needed. So with our weak knowledge in the Spanish language, the shopping took itís time. Today we got great wind conditions when the sails were set, and with some help from the swells, were we able to keep a speed at 9 knots :).
Day 94 Roses
Finally a resting day. We started the day with a walk in the lovely small streets, but around 13.00 all the shops took siesta. So then we went to the beach to enjoy the sun and take a swim to cool down the hot body. The rest of the day we did nothing, and that felt great. Iím thinking of my crew that needs to leave tomorrow, and Iím glad I still have 3 years left of my vacation :).
Pictures from this leg can be seen here.