We finished the waterways through France and entered the Mediterranean Sea on June 13th, one month ago, today. We motored straight to La Grande Motte where the mother company for ALLURES has a facility. We came to have the mast stepped (re-installed). La Grande Motte is a beachside town on the southwestern coast of France which was developed in the 1960s and 70s. The buildings you see in the first photo are condominiums, and there are many, many more than those in this photo.
The beach is shallow and warms up so even the feint of heart can take a dip. It is a genuine resort town replete with tourist shops, dozens of seaside restaurants, and many sun-worshippers – speaking of which, in La Grande Motte the only types of one piece women’s bathing suits we observed were worn by those who prefer to sun topless. Otherwise, it is bikinis for all – young and old, big and small. On the men’s side, the younger ones had generally adopted surfer shorts, but some of the older men still sported speedos and one 60ish man in the marina wore a thong.
This observation made me sufficiently curious to explore the possibility that cultural influences in France that nourish a healthy “sense of self” contribute to a greater acceptance of one’s body. Alas, I was unable to find evidence of such in my deep research on the internet. On the contrary, I read that “fat shaming” is quite extreme in France as the populace has long been known for being enviously thin. French culture offers much to be admired and many mysteries.
Our “schedule” for the first month on the Mediterranean was hectic from the start. Our mast was damaged during transport from Cherbourg and we were waiting for a replacement mast. The new mast was delayed and the earliest we could get the damaged mast installed in La Grande Motte was June 19th. It would take at least two days (which we did not have) to sail from La Grande Motte to Marseille, where we would meet Marilla and Mitch the following day (June 20th). Instead we rented a car to pick up Marilla and Mitch and then returned to La Grande Motte. The sail from La Grande Motte to Nice to pick up Allison, Mike, Riley, and Tristan required 5 full days on the water whereas we had planned for a leisurely trip had we started from Marseille. Marilla and Mitch were good sports and excellent ship mates, but it was certainly not the best beginning for their first experience of the lovely south of France.
Marilla and Mitch had planned for some beautiful climbs, but Mitch had recently injured his arm. That did not deter them from ogling the rock faces and climbs that might have been from paddle boards and dinghy.