Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tropical Police

Day 26:

Today I paddled to Le Lavandou.  I had stayed last night in an almost empty port with a small captain’s office that said it would be open at 8:00.  It wasn't.  Not at 8:15 either.  I had hoped to get a weather update.  The previous day I had seen that today would have force 8 winds in the evening, but until then they would vary between four and seven, and in the right direction that would be excellent.

After only a short paddle I got to another port, slightly larger than the first.  I found the captain and while he wouldn't provide me with the standard weather printout, he told me that there would be no winds exceeding a force five.  I only had to wait about 20 minutes for him to finish his conversation on the phone.

Back on the water there was a pleasant breeze at my back for the whole day. Even when I changed directions, turning north in the afternoon, the wind and current obligingly turned with me.

In the late morning I met Sebastien Uscher, another paddler coming in the opposite direction.  The first kayaker in winter gear I had seen.  The chill demanded it.  We chatted, I couldn't convince him to join me.  His wife was waiting to pick him up.

The rest of the day went smoothly.  I saw the first school of flying fish I had seen in a long time.  I had decided I would end a little early to see if I could make plans for a place to stay for the Sabath, and get candles to light for Hanukah.  I passed a little port, similar to the one I had been in the night before.  It didn't look like it had the kind of infrastructure I would need.

The next port I got to was big.  “Hi, I paddled from Barcelona.  Can I leave my boat here for the night?”


“Huh.  It doesn't have to be in the water.  I can leave it anywhere.”

“Not in the harbor.  Try the next one.”

So I got back in my boat and paddled to the next one, maybe a kilometer away.  The receptionist there was both much prettier and kinder then the previous one.  Asides from allowing me to leave my boat there, she gave me a code for the shower room.

Checking my email, I noticed that Sebastien had gone to my blog, and invited me to stay with him for the night.  Score!  He picked me up and took me to his home, on a military base a couple of towns over.

On the way, he told me he was a police officer and I said, “Oh that's perfect.  You enforce the law and I regularly break it.  We may one day meet in a professional capacity.”

He told me he would give me a note in French to anyone who would disturb my slumber in the name of the law, explaining that they should please leave me alone.

He and his friends who I met are police officers for the French territories and spend each new year on a different tropical island protecting the innocent, and if the video he made of his trip is a fair portrayal, having a really really good time.

Sebastien was also happy give me a couple of candles to light for Hanukah.

The only downside was that, for all the machoness I have acquired in my trip, these tropical police made me feel entirely small.

Happy Hanukah everyone!


  1. where there are flying fish there are often Dorado(they eat flying fish).. good eats... catch a dorado and youll have food for a week

  2. I'm not trailing a lure at the moment. I need to buy one.
    But mark my words, the day will come, though it may be a long way off, when I will catch a fish. ... Or at least, pull up more muck from the bottom of the sea that I will, for a moment, hope is a fish.