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French Riviera

August 10, 2019

We left Genoa headed for the French Riviera, but first we had a couple of stops to make. San Remo used to be a major playground and gambling site for the rich before the meteoric rise in popularity of Monaco only 15 miles to the west. It still has a lot of charm and is still popular with tourists.

The monarchy of Monaco is only 2.2 square kilometers but is home to the highest density of millionaire/billionaires in the world. The city-state was in near financial ruin before the monarch established the Monte-Carlo Casino and soon afterward he abolished income tax with the stipulation that residents could not gamble; a rule still in force today. We toured the city along the route of the Monaco Grand Prix, visited the Monte-Carlo casino, saw the residence of Grace Kelly, and dinned in the harbor amidst beautiful mega-yachts. We enjoyed a drink in the plaza by the casino watching a constant stream of the most exotic cars pass by. Monaco certainly has a magical feeling.

As we entered the French Riviera there was a high wind advisory so we took shelter in Rade de Villefranche, a large bay just east of Nice. Everyone else had the same idea and the bay was packed, including mega-yachts and a very large cruise ship. The first weather front passed in the afternoon and many of the boats dragged and there were fouled anchors and boat collisions throughout the bay. Even the cruise ship dragged. The second front passed during the middle of the night and was worse. Several boats had to jettison their anchors and motor around the crowded bay in the dark with blinding rain. Even we dragged about 100 yards before the anchor re-set. No one slept that night.

Our next stop was Juan Les Pins next to Cannes. We had been unable to refill our propane tanks in Italy and were glad to find that here we could rent tanks with the same connection as the adapter I had made in Tunisia. Then I had to decant from the rented tank into our tank. It was a pain but worth it.

We spent two days anchored at Saint-Tropez, again in a crowded bay. It’s interesting to watch the charter boats come in and drop anchor with little scope and without backing down on it. It’s nightmarish when they are up-wind of you. The town was quaint and totally crowded with tourists.

We spent some time in the beautiful Iles d’Hyeres off the coast of France. But we were getting tired of crowded anchorages and we started looking for a weather window to cross the Golfe du Lion. Our crossing was one of our easiest with equal parts motoring and sailing on calm seas. We made landfall the next day at Roses, Spain.

We are currently in Barcelona, Spain, where we will keep the boat in a marina while we do inland travel and Sandie makes a quick trip back to the States. Then we will head out to the Balearic Islands off Spain.

From → Travel

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