Monday, November 22, 2010

Hail Fishing

Day 21:

I had to find a bus stop, and then take the bus.  I got off a stop early so I had to walk a ways.  In other words, it was a late start.  The Good Man at the docks who had given me permission to leave my boat there over the Sabbath came to say goodbye.  He asked me if I was
sure I wanted to leave today, as though I might have a good reason not to.

I had looked up the weather and it said “Showers.”

I set out (43.359494,5.295614).  I hoped to make it to a port at the other end of Marseilles, or at least the one in the center of town.  I remembered from some internet maps of the city that I had seen that there might be a route along the edge of the city within the safety of the sea walls.   That is to say, on perfectly flat water no matter the weather.

The weather was rough.  A storm was coming from the west with an abundance of lightning.  I still had time though.  I was paddling from one port to another within the safety of the harbor when I got to a dead end (43.354884,5.326567) and had to turn back.  That was annoying.

I was then out on the open sea.  The water was extremely choppy.  The lightning strikes were still to the west, but getting closer.

Occasionally there would be rain for a few minutes, and then pass.  I was anxious to get back into the harbor’s safety if at all possible.  In order to get away from the lightning I would need to stay near the seawall, but the already choppy water was even rougher there.

I found what I thought looked like the path I had seen on the map (43.347589,5.318896  My own chart lacked the necessary detail.)  I asked some fishermen if there was an opening on the other side near Marseilles' center of town port.  Or did the way ahead of me just lead to another dead end that I would regret.

There were three fisherman.  One said he thought it would go through, but he wasn't sure.  The other two were sure it did not.  With great chagrin I was back out on the choppy waves.  There were some big swells, but mostly the water was just really rough.

And there was the approaching lightning.

I made my way along the seawall.  The rain got worse.  There was a lightning bolt ahead of me, in the mountains behind Marseilles.  Another one struck a few minutes later a some miles to my left.  Then it was pouring.  Then it wasn't rain, it was hail.  And lots of lightning.

I imagine getting hit by lightening would be similar to spending a few hours in a microwave.  Except that it would be over instantly.  There were ladders every couple hundred yards or so along the seawall.  I began thinking about using them.  I passed beneath a control tower, it would be good to establish contact, and maybe find out how far before there would be a way into the harbor on the other side of the wall.  I could see cruise ships over the wall.

“This is Kayak Dov.  Tower located at [GPS position] do you hear me?”

There was no response.  I had heard chatter on my radio earlier, so if they did respond I would hear them.

The hail bounced off of me and my deck.  I tried again.

“This is Kayak Dov.  Tower located at [GPS position] do you hear me?”

No luck.  I tried “Chanel 16 radio check.”  I waited.  Nothing.  Again “Chanel 16 radio check.”  Nothing.

I continued paddling.  Eventually, the storm passed.  The lightning and hail moved on to the north and I made my way to the port in the center of Marseilles.  Once things calmed down a little I put my lure Josh in the water.

I was promised by Jean Pierre who had given him to me that he would attract fish.  Before long the cork line reel was yanked from the bungees in front of me, held on to them by its own string.

I had caught something!  I began to reel it in, but there was no pressure on the line.  Finally I finished.  Their was nothing on the end of the line, not even a lure.

Josh was giving some big fish somewhere indigestion.  It was his first time out, and he didn't last
very long.

I arrived at the port (43.294153,5.363388).  Could I leave my boat there overnight?  No problem.  Let's check my radio.  It worked fine.

Still in Marseilles tomorrow I hope to give another shot at some of my errands.


  1. I've shared a map with you called Kayak Dov:

    (If someone could add the ones I missed in the middle, that would be great. Ed.?)

  2. that map link doesnt work work for me

  3. You have to copy and paste both lines, apparently. Thanks for the map! ~ ed.

  4. Looking like a bona fide kayaker!

  5. is it tricky to find out where the port offices are?

    do you find the marine radio effective? did you get the Icom again?

  6. Port offices are always easy to find by asking the fisherman who are at the entrance to every port.
    All chatter on my new icom is in French for the time being. I monitor 16. I have maid a number of channel 16 radio checks on different days in different places and nobody has ever responded. Each port monitors its own frequency, and not 16 as far as I can tell.
    Have you been doing any winter paddling?