Cruising donkeys

Joined April 2017Living in: Guernsey
  • Day265

    Getting settled

    December 14, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

    Well we have been here over two weeks already and although the weather hasn’t been great it’s been a lot better than in Guernsey. We have put up our Christmas decorations inside and out. We are the only decorated boat in the marina. At the moment we have some more liveaboard boats but not sure if they are just here to avoid the SE Gale/storm we are experiencing, they are all french and we hardly ever we the residents.
    Thank you to those who sent us new Christ decorations, we love them.
    I have also attached a photo of me in the finished pullover thing I knitted. It doesn’t look quite like the pattern photo it’s bigger as I knit very loosely even though I used a smaller size needle and pattern to compensate. In its favour it is lovely and warm.
    Last Friday we headed back to Martigues by bus to go to the DIY store for various things but primarily wood so John could build a folding table around the Missen mast tabernacle. Unfortunately our Martigues luck, or lack of, was holding out as after over an hours journey we got to the store to find out that for technical reasons their wood saw was out of action. At least the trip only cost €4in total, well and lunch of course but a person has to eat. The nearby hypermarket was doing a deal on some GF biscuits so we saved the cost of the trip in biscuits. We also bought some new sheets as ours were a bit grubby and even whitener was no longer making the grade. The other thing we had hoped to buy at the DIY store was Perspex to replace the panel that the wind blew out 2weeks ago, and we thought we had done it until, John double checked his measuring (after we had paid) and realised it was too small to we had to return that at least we hadn’t carried it home.
    A bit of luck we have had is that on one of forays to the beach we saw a long scaffold board and later in the day when John went back a saw it was still there so he reduced the length to 8foot and cycled back with it, carefully.
    There is also a photo of some more scavenging finds. We are still collecting plastic bottles and other rubbish each time we get to the beach to the amazement of the locals.
    John is again back in the engine room doing something semi technical and as I did the washing yesterday I am looking for things to do. I have some sewing projects but am waiting for the market tomorrow to buy some grey thread for the new liner curtain, and for new needles before I tackle the table cover, as material quite strong.
    I have however made my own GF vegetarian mincemeat and then some mince pies using shop bought GF pastry, they aren’t bad, but as no more GF pastry until we return to Martigues I need to try making that as well as have lots of mincemeat left over. It ridiculous what you consider doing if you are bored enough.
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  • Day259

    Port Saint Louis du Rhone

    December 8, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 11 °C

    Well we have been in our winter marina for just over a week and feel we are getting to know the place quite well. While we have been here though two of the other visiting liveaboard boats have left, we think there is one other boat with full time residents and a few weekenders. The facilities (loos, showers and laundry) are clean dry and wonderfully warm, there is also a common room with TV and DVD that we can use. There is a supermarket nearby that sells John’s preferred GF bread and well stocked chandlery’s so John is mostly happy. He however a bit concerned about the temperatures, one morning this week we were showing only 2.5 degs on the external thermometer and that’s early December he’s not sure he will like January and February very much. Take a Five now looks a little different as we have removed the Missen mast, we aren’t thinking we will put it back as we haven’t used the Missen at all and without it we feel we have so much more deck space. Sadly there is no gym for me to use but I have found a boxercise type class that’s very energetic and hope to start running again soon, niggling Achilles injury just not healing, and am using common room for Pilates/yoga/body balance type workouts. We are planning to cycle to Arles when weather is cooperative for an overnight stay, it is about 35km if the signs are to be believed. And the buses to Martigues allow us to visit a large Bricolage (DIY) store, John is thinking about building a folding table around the Missen tabernacle?
    So far we have had at least two good days for each bad one but this coming week doesn’t look so good forecasted winds with gusts around 45km/hr every day except Wednesday which is good as Wednesday is market day.
    We try to do a longish ride every day and have ridden to the beach every few days and have started a little beach cleaning, just a carrier bag of plastic bottles each visit as well as collecting some of the more interesting finds that I will put on the photos to see if anyone can invent a story to link them together.
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  • Day249

    Martigues and home

    November 28, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    OK well our plan when we headed towards Port de Bouc was to go along the channel and into L’Etang de Berre but we picked the 1 week of the year when the lifting bridge at Martigues was undergoing repair work and wasn’t lifting! Never mind, while we established that the bridge was actually going to be working at all, this took a couple of days as it was supposed to reopen on Wednesday night, then Thursday then this got pushed to Friday and they still weren’t sure, we had a free mooring in Martigues. The town was OK but nothing much going on like a lot of the towns in this area it isn’t very old a grew as somewhere for the workers in the power plants to live. In February next year we will come back and go into the Lake (Etang) to visit Istres which was one of the attractions, the other was free anchoring. But we are now in Port Saint Louis du Rhône our winter location. We plan to be here until at least mid February if not later. That said we might take a few side trips but Take Five will be staying.
    We haven’t had a proper look around yet but the town seems quite small but as a plus the supermarket sells Johns favourite GF bread and the Capitainerie have heated toilets and showers as well as a coin operated laundry and a reading room with a TV and DVD player, microwave and fridge. So if wind noises get too much we will go camp out in there, we are already planning a weekly film night. Downside is we appear to be the only liveaboards!
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  • Day246

    Frioul Archipelago

    November 25, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    Sorry it’s been a couple of days now since I posted any news but don’t worry we are both fine as is Take a Five. So to give you an update. From Marseille we did what we think might have been our ‘longest’ trip so far, a whole 4.5miles to the Frioul Archipelago. This is three islands the smallest is If and the other two Ratonneau and Pomegues that are joined by a concrete causeway. The islands hold a commanding position just off the Marseille coast and are heavily fortified, most recently the Germans added there delicate touch of concrete. The Archipelago is a National Park and as such activity is restricted but we did a couple of lovely walks and I managed a quick dip. The islands are theoretically home to 13 different nesting species and perhaps a little bizarrely for us Guerns, they seem proud of the fact that they have ‘yellow legged gulls’ to me they look like bulk standard ‘seagulls’ but they are prolific on the islands. I was hoping to see a peregrine falcon or a little owl but no joy there. An incredibly quiet night before setting off westward once more on a bumpy journey where we saw three firefighting seaplanes and numerous choppers before heading in towards Port Bouc.Read more

  • Day245

    Marseilles 2

    November 24, 2019 in France ⋅ 🌧 12 °C

    So here we have the Cathedral of Marseille it is huge with numerous little chapels and lots of sparkling gold inside though not quite as much as at the Notre Dame de la Garde. There was also the Arc which on some sighs was called Arc de Triumph. The views of the Old Harbour from the guarding forts of St Nicholas the lower (east) and St Jean (west) were impressive as was the St Jean fort particularly, we could imagine kids amusing themselves for hours running around shooting each other with imaginary guns or bows and arrows. Also impressive was the Vieille Charité a hospice built for orphans vagrants and refugees. It has an elliptical dome to the centre chapel which is built in the centre of a quadrangle of three floors with numerous small rooms. The Palais Longchamp was the most stunning building it was built to celebrate the completion of the Marseille canal bringing water from the river Durance to the city and ending the drought problems. It houses the Natural History museum and Fine Arts Museum both of which were actually closed. We also saw lots of churches and chapels but we can only put 6 pictures per post so there will end up on Facebook.Read more

  • Day245

    Marseilles 1

    November 24, 2019 in France ⋅ 🌧 11 °C

    We arrived a couple of days ago and after doing the washing and other necessities we then did some sightseeing, between showers. We have walked around the city, Frances second largest per the tourist map info, and seen a lot of the sights. Today we had planned to go to Isles Frioul after a wander around the local flea market but as it’s raining incessantly we have decided to delay our departure till tomorrow. Yesterday we stocked up on staples at a large supermarket as no idea on costs at our winter home and had a big breakfast French style at the Queen Victoria pub. There are a lot of photos so next post will have some too.Read more

  • Day240

    Le Ciotat

    November 19, 2019 in France ⋅ ☁️ 11 °C

    Hello again everyone well the trip from Toulon was almost uneventful, except for apparently ending up in in a shooting and being told to head out from the coast at 90degs for 5km by a little boat and the shooting range facility. We thought 5km offshore was a bit excessive and there was nothing marked on either the paper chart, the electronic chart or the Navionics program. Anyway once we were 3km offshore the little turned away so we headed across to the headland rather than any further as it was rough enough already. Ciotat shipyards used to be famous for building tankers but they are now the home to super super yachts. This evening we checked AIS and there are 4 yachts over 100m long and lots of smaller super yachts. Today we visited a local market for our perishables before... yes you guessed another walk. We went to the park behind the yards with stunning rock formations and what we think were manor grounds that are slowly being restored. Then a Menu de Jour before cycling to the local hypermarket. We needed a new kettle our was taking a lot longer to boil than it should have a leaked every time it was poured.Read more

  • Day238

    St Mandrier headland

    November 17, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 10 °C

    Sunday we went for a walk, as it happened there was a local cross country race happening either 6 or 14km. We tried to follow the coastal footpath but the first bit was closed and we couldn’t find the next section and ended up on the race course but got off as soon as we could. Then down to the coast for a hot chocolate before getting back on the coastal path and following it back along the coast to see where we had gone wrong. We saw more great views it was a bit windy so the sea was kicking up. The race route was really tough we ended up walking all of the 6km route and most of the 14km one as well so in the afternoon we had a well earned rest. This is the first time I have been within easy reach of a boulangerie so had warm croissants and pain au chocolat for breakfast delicious.Read more

  • Day237

    Toulon

    November 16, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    We caught a ferry across to Toulon and visited the street market on Cour Lafayette before walking to the telepherique to catch a cable car up to Mount Faron where we had a walk around admiring the views before a wander down the hill for a lunch of Galettes at a little ‘Breton’ cafe. We then went along the front and to the Maritime Museum where we spent a couple of hours before catching the ferry back to the boat just after sunset. As you can see from the photos there were some large models there that had been used for training at the naval colllege years ago.Read more

  • Day236

    Nearly Toulon

    November 15, 2019 in France ⋅ ☁️ 11 °C

    We had hoped to be in Toulon but no room, or so we were told, so we are in Les Mandrier Marina which is across the bay, there are some dead boats here that are used by the Naval dive school for training and a boat yard for very large plastic fantastics. Le Mandrier is OK but as with everywhere smaller, out of season it’s a bit quiet. Ferry to Toulon tomorrow, though apparently ‘the boat is too small to be a ferry in French it is only a shuttle’. We have sent some more emails to try to firm up the removal storage and transportation on the masts ready for next year and to request a postal address for our overwintering location. We plan to spend, well the boat does we haven’t decided yet depends how lively and cold/wet it is, the winter in Port St Louis de Rhône so not far to go now. Only other big port on the way is Marseille. Thats everything for now be in touch soon. Don’t forget to let us know what you are all up too.Read more

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