The creaking of the bridge mingles with the sound of our window wipers as they smear away the spitting rain that has punctuated the pre-dawn darkness along with electric bursts of iridescent forked lightening. I had watched the thundery squall approach on our radar screen, the yellow mass which signified it’s presence had progressed towards us since the start of my watch at 4am, it’s intensity acutley notable on the screen. On our port side lies Cannes, famous for it’s Film Festival, the 66th edition of which is taking place as we sit at anchor. To our starboard side lies Isle Sainte-Marguarite, it’s ancient fort still watches over the city of Cannes across the water. The storm of the last few days has brought some swell, a small left hand point is breaking on the NW tip of the island, their form teasing me as I glance at them while helping guests from the yacht into our 30ft Chase tender.
The greying dawn reveals a small boat crossing our bow, towards the island. 5 small figures hunch over in the cold dawn. They must be half a mile away but something catches my attention, surfers. I can’t explain how I new it, I caouldn’t see a any boards and at half a mile away they are mere specks. Sure enough however they stop a little out from the break, boards appear and they paddle into the lineup. I am intensley jelous as I watch them with our binoculars, all riding longboards which are perfect for the small surf.
Since joining the yacht at the end of January I haven’t been able to surf, exept one day on the Paddle board when there was a small swell running in Mallorca. I have been wakeboarding a lot, even bought a board and am now landing wake to wake grabs, 180s etc. Somehow, however, it’s not the same. It is fun, adrenaline packed and full of laughs with friends but somehow the soul of waveriding eludes this spin off sport.
As much as I miss surfing I am very grateful to be at sea again, to have the chance to see Big Blue every time I look outside. Since leaving Mallorca in mid May we have clocked around 1500 nauticak miles between the Balearics, Gibraltar, Costa del Sol and now France’s Cote d’ Azur. True to her nature Big Blue as shown all here faces, from calms so still that it seems an impossibility to force 10 full gales whilst on passage. That gale was one to remember as 8 to 10m seas hurled themselves against our bows, sending spray skywards as green water cascaded over the foredeck. I also had the privelage of seeing one of the best dolphin sightings I have ever had asd two bottlenosed dolphins corkscrewd endlessly under our bow for an eternity. Off Cadiz we saw whales breaching repetedly in the distance and a flock of flourescent pink flamingos passed us yesterday as we sat at anchor in Sainte Tropez. I find comfort in my enjoyment of such simple pleasures, as I would hate to be polluted by the vanity, wealth and idiosincracies that seem to go hand in hand with the superyacht industry, especially on an 80m Motor Yacht like this. Again, it seems sadly bereft of the purity of sailing much like wakeboarding and surfing.
I know that it is a means to an end, part of my long term plan to buy my own sail boat. I am gaining new skills on a daily basis and making good friends and seeing new places in the process. Life is very strange, how things work out. I certainly would not have thought that I would be sat at anchor in Sainte Tropez 12 months ago…..and I am not complaining!