Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Making our way back west! The French Riviera, and crossing the Gulf of Lion back to Spain

Our time in the Mediterranean has seemed much too short, but all good things must come to an end.  Also, our standard visitors Schengen Visa only gives us 90 days in the EU before we have to leave.  That's just not enough time, with so much to see.  We will be able to stay in the area by visiting non-Schengen places, like Gibraltar and Morocco.  We will also visit the friendly immigration people in Barcelona to see if we can get the ever-elusive Schengen Visa extension.  Wish us luck!

We last left off the blog at the start of the French Riviera, Menton.  That city was beautiful, and the day trip to Monaco was very interesting, but we wanted to see Nice.  We did a quick hop of only a couple of hours in the boat and moored in downtown Nice, next to all of the super yachts.

Nice is an amazingly beautiful city, full of vibrant culture.  The traditional Mediterranean wooden boats were everywhere and added to the charm of the place.

The public places were fantastic, and the girls spent hours in the spray park which was immense.  It had over 100 fountains for running through in order to stay cool during the hot summer days.

We happened to be in Nice during the celebrations of the French Liberation from the Nazis in WWII.  US and Canadian Flags were everywhere.  It was very heartwarming and left us with a sense of gratefulness for the peace we now enjoy in the western world.

From Nice, we headed to an anchorage on an island just south of Cannes.  Like everything in Europe, this island was steeped in history and happened to be where a prisoner called "The Man in the Iron Mask" was held in the 17th century.  His identity has remained a mystery to this day, but he was likely some type of royal prisoner who was a treat to the French Throne.  We toured the prison, and the fort which surrounded it.

This anchorage at the historic island had a Pizza Catamaran that delivered directly to your boat!  There was also an ice cream boat that trolled the anchorage looking for excited, but hypoglycemic children.

The girls had been very patient with all of this history business, and did learn a ton.  But, it was time for some type A fun!  So we sought out some family-friendly play parks and found a place called "Fools Village" - Perfect!  It had endless play features, and we spent an entire day there.

Our next day was spent on a fun upwind sail towards Hyere, France.  There were many boat chandleries here to restock with various boat parts we needed.  Stu did the boat shopping and Lana took the girls to an inflatable play park on the waterfront.

The next couple of days saw us dodging thunderstorms (again!) and we took refuge in a marina while things cleared up overnight.  We were planning to cross the Gulf of Lion which is renowned for strong winds called "Mistral" which funnels off the French Mainland and wrecks havoc with a large swath of the Med.  While waiting for a good stretch of weather for this 24 hour crossing, we stopped at a beautiful anchorage in a skinny cove rimmed with Medieval Fortress Walls.  Unbelievable!

The favourite pastime in this amazing cove was cliff jumping.  The local teenagers put on quite a show, and our family got in on the action too.  Aria ended up jumping from higher than any of the local (much older) girls!

Micah and Lana got into the spirit as well and did personal bests right next to the boat.

The following day, we left at noon on our 24 hour passage west across the Gulf of Lion.  We had a beautiful sail most of the way.  The wind was on the port beam almost the whole way and we made land fall on the Costa Brava in Palamos, Spain.  

Our next blog post will cover our time heading south west along the Spanish Coast.  We plan to hit Barcelona, Valencia and have a few overnight passages to make time towards Gibraltar.  After that, Lana has an amazing hiking/climbing trip planned with friends in the Dolomites of Italy in late September.  During this, Stu and the girls will spend a week in a marina near Granada, Spain which is home to a mountain range called the Sierra Nevada.  Horseback riding and hiking is on the menu for that stop.  Stay tuned for further updates and post comments with anything you want to see more of (boat details, sailing footage, family drama(!)... anything you like).  A Google account is required to comment and follow, I believe, but its not too hard to set up :)  Until next time!

1 comment:

Todd Klippenstein said...

Enjoying following your adventures very much!! I look forward to your new post every week - I also enjoying seeing your sailing pics and videos:)! Continue having a blast and be safe!

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