Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I'm Not Gilligan

I had spent a fine Sabbath in Marseilles. Sunday was too windy.

Day 24:

I got directions to my bus stop from the hostel receptionist, only they were a little off. After looking for a while for my bus stop I walked back to the hostel to get better directions. I missed the 11:30 bus by a few minutes and had to wait an hour.

The bus ride itself through the mountains was really nice. The forests and rocky peaks we traveled along were marred in their perfection only by the giant highway which conveyed me to my kayak.

I paddled to Bandol. I saw a storm off to the west, but the wind had been blowing east so I thought it would miss me. I asked some men working on a fishing boat, and they told me the storm would hit tomorrow.

I approached Bandol as the day’s last light was leaving. I had seen there was a big harbor, and I could see red and green approach lights both to my right and left as I entered what appeared to be a big bay. The ones on the right, though small, were a little but closer.

I pulled in to a small marina with maybe 30 or so empty spots and two boats. I had never seen anything like it. Around the marina were pleasantly painted French houses and stone buildings that may have been closed restaurants and hotels. The small harbor was so Frenchly picturesque and quaint that it almost seemed to be a quality Disney Land imitation Europe rather than the real thing.

There were statues of giant naked babies dealing in one way or another with even larger fish.

There were none of the usual fishermen about, fishermen I’d seen in every port.

I got out of my boat to have a look around the empty place. I soon found an open building with a light on. It was a diving club, with an old man in the back room painting a wall. I called out to him.
He didn't speak a word of English, but with only a look at me he understood that I was a kayaker. He walked with me to my boat, and showed me that the captain’s offices was on the other side of the harbor. He asked me were I would sleep tonight “Dormay.”

I pointed to one of a few benches in the area.

“No” he told me. That wouldn't do. He walked me into a building with an empty room. Empty except for lots of dust and a few odd things. He was worried it was too dirty, but it would protect me from the elements, so it was heaven and I thanked him profusely.

He left and appeared again a few minutes later with some odd blankets and sheets that he said I should put under my sleeping bag so that the floor would be softer. I have a mattress, but that didn't make his efforts any less kind. He also helped me move my boat away from the water next to the room I would be sleeping in, presumably to help prevent theft.

Old, but strong and lean as a wolf.

I only have one pot’s worth of rice and lentils left so I went to find a market and maybe a wifi cafe to make this post. I walked in one direction and found myself at the sea so I went back and found a different way. Again I was at the sea. I tried yet another path, only to learn that without a doubt, I was on an island. A few hotels, restaurants, and small houses, a lovely quaint tourist place. Empty of all but two souls in the cold. I could see the mainland stretch out before me, with its lights and mountains drawing the eye far away.

The next morning as I pulled out in my kayak I saw my friend from the night before pull up to the island in his.


  1. Thanks. As for the rest of you, know that Josh is one of the best four brothers in the wold!