Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Arriving in Antibes

Monday, after I abandoned my boat in a town that was closed for the winter, I managed to find a single occupied house.  In my strange attire the occupants were happy to let me in (odd when you think about it).  I used their internet and their phone to get in touch with the father of a friend of mine in Antibes who kindly invited me to stay in his extra apartment.  I left them with my bottle of wine.  Train.  Short walk.  I was there settled for the night.  I showered; soap and a towel had been provided.

Day 30:

I slept late in the morning, watched a portion of Lord of the Rings on my computer, checked out the weather at the local marina, and made it to the train station at around 10:00.  The next train would be at 12:20.

Waiting in line for my ticket the elder in front of me dropped his wallet without realizing it.  I handed it to him and he was surprised. A moment later he dropped it again, not noticing.

Once at my kayak I had 12 nautical miles to get to Antibes.  There was a force four wind against me, one less than the previous day.  I began to paddle straight across to Antibes.  The waves and wind were bad, but not terrible.  I passed amazing red cliffs and eventually I was right alongside an island.  Downwind off it the water was flat which was a wonderful change.

I struggled to keep a reasonable pace, the faster one paddles, the easier it is to pass the paddle through the water, one of the reasons paddling into the wind is so hard.  As night set on I wanted frequently to check my GPS to check my progress, but every time I would do so I lost to the wind, so I avoided the urge.

In the day it is difficult to judge distances unless you can spot something you know the size of, like a house.  At night it's near impossible.  I could see two lights, a red and a green.  I had thought they were marking the entrances to ports a couple of miles apart.   When I finally passed between them I realized that they marked one entrance to the port I was headed for.

I was exhausted.  I didn't know how long I had been out there, but it was one of the most tiring days in a while.  I found a good parking spot, an abandoned jet ski port.  A small floating dock just right to pull up a jet ski, or a kayak.  I then went to the captain’s office and found an idiot there to ask for permission to leave my boat overnight.  He didn't think that I would be allowed to, and he thought I would have to pay, but he would call and check.

His boss told him that it would be OK but that I would have to leave the boat somewhere else.  I was not excited about getting back in.  Now that my muscles had settled, I could barely walk, let alone paddle.  The spot that I moved it to had a number of fishermen at it which put me on edge about theft.  I mentioned this to the man who had led me there.  “I'm just following orders, this is where you have to leave it.”  He told me. (43.56266,7.114559)

I thanked him and left.

Once in the apartment I slept.  I woke up in the middle of the night in a sweat.  The man at the dock had told me that I would have to leave by 7:00 in the morning.  I said that I would, but I knew that after my long day I would need to rest.  Waking up at 7:40 in the morning I was still worried that I was not well.

I walked back to the dock to get permission to leave my boat there a few more hours.  Today I will only paddle a short distance.

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