Archive for September 9th, 2012

09 Sep 2012

Séte sail

2 Comments France
 
 

Séte (pronounced set) is short cycle from Montpellier. We have to share the highway for some of the way with trucks and cars, ducking off the road every now and then to let traffic pass or be squished. We have been trying to avoid the highways, but it is not always possible. By the time we arrive in Séte, Paul has an anxious expression, etched by the sun, that no amount of 50+ can hide.

It is a nice time to be in Séte. Most of the tourists have gone, but there is still enough life here to be interesting. Séte has a romantic feel about it. Bars and cafe's overlook canals (think Venice without the subsidence or Amsterdam minus the hashish). Locals sit sipping coffee or something stronger and when the weather is fine and the season is right, a spot of water jousting.

Crazy crazy French.

It's a sport originating in Séte in 1666 that rightfully should have ended there and then, but it hasn't. Two colourful rowboats face each other in the canal. A band strikes up … on the sidelines young women throw aside their champagne flutes and jump into the canal and bare their breasts to the oarsman and the crowd … the crowd roars … the boats charge. The jousters on raised platforms attached to the boats poise to attack. Their shields at the ready, their jousting sticks raised. They attack … and one or both of the jousters end up in the canal. This goes on ALL afternoon. If I have to watch one more bout I'll spit!

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I'll say it again: Crazy crazy French.
What next, bicycle jousting on the streets of Perth? Hmmmm not a bad idea.

We are staying on Monty's yacht with Sonja and Monty for a couple of nights. Monty is undertaking a painstaking restoration of the yacht, having spent the past few months replacing great sections of the steel hull, and now has all the detail work to do: kitchens, bathrooms, cabins and decking, electrics — a never ending list — before she is back to her former glory. Like many projects it is taking MUCH longer than they expected. They hope to be sailing back to the Canary Islands for the warmer winter. We'll see!

 

 
 

 

We jumped into Monty's Zodiac one evening on a short ride to explore all the unloved and submerged boats in the harbour and came back on the last drops of fuel, the engine sputtering and failing constantly, to a fiery red sunset.

 

 

For the rest of our stay the weather is glorious and there is little to do: Pick up a book … read for a while … lunch up on deck … an afternoon siesta.

While we never actually set sail, it was still a near perfect weekend.