Travel.P #60 – Welcome to Marseille

“You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.”

Greg McKeown
now by feet

After a incredibly, in comparison to our last month, fast moving advice ride – a bus – we stepped out of the bus at Airport Marseille. It was newly hot and wet, kind of moist but also weirdly dry. Pressing, standing heat, the sun approaching it’s last hours of the day, covering the white stones around us in an gentle bright orange. We had to get to my friends, like 30 km further west, Port Saint Luis. We asked if there was any option for a bus, but there wasn’t any anymore, so we tried to hitch. Sweating, slowly dampening our clothes more and more.

Sweating like crazy and trying to figure a plan how to get to port Saint Luis, where our friends and the boat were waiting on a ship yard, with the boat that we had together. I have never seen it but after I was asked to become a part of the project and after our experience in New Zealand on our 30 foot yacht ‘ODIN’, I was very keen to join in. This time the boat was 45 foot long and a ketch, that means a double master. A proper ship to cross an ocean in without getting destroyed by it. I sacrificed my Australia Working Holiday Visa for it and decided to join the crew. But now we where far away from that. No one stopped and we tried for maybe one hour until someone in a tiny car stopped.

It was weird becaue we had to get our trailer and saddlebags into the tiny car, me sitting on the rear bench folded down, meaning if we would get stopped our kind driver would have to explain a good story. Well as it turned out Marseillean people write their on tune about the law and it feels like a little country remote from the rest of France – in a nice way in my opinion.

After a short chat we found out that he is gonna drop us at the next exit, because he finished work and lives in that town, but after he heard our story he just continued driving and driving and driving and driving and driving. Oh man such a legend. He literally brought us all that way, out of his way, to Port Saint Luis, from where we walked the last 2 km to the ship yard. On the way we got completely destroyed by tiger mosquitoes , and arrived to our friends surprise. We hadn’t told anyone, haha. My second glance on the boat and already looking way better than the first one. The boys have done a good job, and I got after a wash and a horrible sleep, completely covered in mosquitoes. The next day I installed my hammock with the next under our neighbors boat and slept there, still hot but at least a bit protected.

If you ever wondered what those boat yards are like, than this is probably the a very intense one. People are litterally living there. On their ‘boat’ that is never finished. Nice people. Drunk people. Stoned people. Rich people. Arrogant people. Kind people. Lovely people. Smiling people. Many different nationalities, many different boats, and many different staged of problems or areas to fix. Some people working on their boat since 12 years. Some buying a boat working half a year and never showing up again. Some getting a flash new engine and never showing up again, some waiting for destruction, some crashed, some flash new looking, some big, some small, Katamaran, trimaran, all kinds of projects, some projects to big for the people, many actually, many different colors, materials, from wood over metal like aluminium to Fiberglas, which was Gust Ave made of. I never really liked the name, in my opinion a boat needs a woman name, but okay. I saw boats that were simply massive. A whole house in a boat, some that were looking so elegant, made of wood with wooden decks an every piece of metal polished and reflecting the unforgivable Mediterranean sun. People in all kind of ages, alone, with a partner or with the family or friends. – All sharing the same. The sorrow of the boat, haha. That’s the nice thing so. Everyone is keen to help. Everyone has problems and everyone likes to give advice. We often got many good pieces out of the the massive containers, where people trow their useless stuff away. It was A whole world, that opened up to me. With a little bar/restaurant and a few showers and toilets. The area was actually quite beautiful, when also very dry, and Port Saint Luis is definitely worth a visit, always something going on in the evenings in summer. Apparently the Mafia is quite strong represented there, but more about that later on.

Our Neighbor Antonio, ‘Anto’ a 40 something old man with a great beard and wild middle long hair, enjoys smoking and beer, as well as chatting and music, as bad music, playing great on the guitar, singing his own songs, in his mind still about 16-19. A wonderful piece of human being. We hung out all together pretty much every day. I have to say tho that the drinking and party every night, and I mean every night was a bit much for me, so I often went to bed early, so I could work on the boat the next day. Days had around 10 to 12 hours of work, with short brakes. My job was to take the hole electric system apart and replace it with a new one. It was a hell of a job and a proper mind breaker more than ones a day, but after a few months I had everything installed, and working. Ced was our mechanical guy for the engine, he had the same struggle and Flo and Ced where working on setting the sail system up and Flo build a whole platform on the back as well as a Solar Panel Holder, that made the boat look like a yet, very cool that. Pops was helping where ever he could and did a hellish good job of painting and interior wood work. We installed a little toilet in the front and had 3 bedrooms with one massive lounge mixed with the open kitchen, and the cockpit. It was a beautiful boat and one side was different painted to the other side. It looked simply amazing.

Life was absolutely out of control there. I really had a great time and met many nice people. But more about that and the life in Port Saint Luis in the next Blog, about wild road kill pig, helping others with fixing up their Katamarans, going out for pizza, hanging out in other boats, beer, work, work, work, and work and how the project brings us towards Gust Ave Flying in the air overnight before its final night. Before is Cremanier, it’ final launch in the water. The moment of truth.

When you feel empty and lost, mount your bike and just ride down the road, not thinking about where you might end.

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