Friday, December 10, 2010


This post is dedicated to Eva.

Day 32:

This morning I checked the weather in the port in Antibes. A four to seven force tail wind was scheduled for the morning and a six to seven headwind for the afternoon. I try to avoid paddling against that sort of headwind since it would make me cry.

The tail wind would be great. I didn't know if I could make it to Nice before the change, but I decided to try.

I was enjoying the first clear day in some time. The weather was warm and for the first time since Saint Tropez, the sun was smiling. I could again make out the white Alp peaks, now much closer.

I was making good time with the wind. I sprinted and the next wave, rather then pass under me, pushed me forward at an amazing speed. It was great, I was surfing. I did it again and again. It was like downhill skiing.

The sprints tired me out so I spent some time paddling regularly. Then I did another, and caught a great wave. I cruised at my fastest speed yet, then it broke as I was turning into it, and down I went.

I tried to roll up but failed. That's odd I thought. I tired again, and failed again. Huh. I must have been turned and now be down wave, I'll try one more time then switch sides. The third time failed also so I switched sides and was up in a moment.

The wave that I had caught, and in turn caught me, was the first of a series of giants. Coming up downwave never had a chance.

Both me and my boat had taken on some water, so I spent the next little while spluttering and spitting and blowing my nose. One should never spit into the wind.

I crossed a line and the water changed color from blue green to gray.





I had about two miles left when I noticed the wind had died down. The swells were still headed in the direction I was going. Then the wind picked up in the opposite direction. It grew in strength.

I could see Nice. I could see the port. It was a couple of miles away, but I could see it. Atfirst the swells kept pushing into the head wind, with the spray flying off their tops. But before long, the waves were going every which way. The sea had become madness, and I was paddling into it. I was working as hard as I could to make the last distance and find rest.

The port came, and it was good. I got out of my boat and was greeted by Stephan, who was wearing a spray skirt. Cool. We talked some and then went on a paddle together. The wind had calmed down a little, and this sort of thing is always more fun and safer with a friend. Also, I wasn't trying to get anywhere.


Out on the water we did some rolls, and then headed back. Stephan had a diploma in kayaking. It was still daytime, so back in the port in Nice I did some rolls on one side and then the other until I was extremely dizzy. Stephan let me into the shower room, and tonight I'm staying in a cheap hostel in Nice.

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