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Deep Blue
Living The Dream
Learn to sail or Improve your skills with rusailing.com
03/17/2008

rusailing was founded out of a passion to deliver a totally new experience to those ready to enjoy it. Their continuing philosophy is to provide the best possible Sail Training Experience to their clients. Their continued growth without advertising is testamount to their success!

Rob, Principle and Chief Instructor, loves anything at all involving the sea. He is a commercially endorsed Yachtmaster and Ocean Yachtmaster who has covered all aspects of RYA training. He is a registered and active Yachtmaster Instructor with the RYA. Rob has as much enthusiasm as you can handle whilst being an excellent and patient instructor with empathy for those new to the sport. He is always keen to search out new areas and find exciting locations to explore and enjoy.

Jules, the front person for the company is also a commercially endorsed Yachtmaster and active cruising and shorebased instructor. She is therefore very well placed to advise on not only courses but also answer any questions that you may have. She shares Rob's love of the sea and will join in when business allows. Jules will help you with any aspect of your booking - she will do all she can to ensure your needs are met and any special requirements are catered for such as dietry requirements or special travel arrangements etc.

Having previously spent many years in high pressure management positions Rob and Jules fully appreciate how important your leisure time is. With that in mind, they will personally do all they can to make your time with them the most pleasurable and memorable it can be whilst ensuring that you get exactly what you want from it.

They guarantee you an experience not to forget!
Drop them a line or give them a call with any questions you may have.

Telephone +351 918 513 076 / +44 (0)7747 100030

E mail rob@rusailing.com or jules@rusailing.com

www.rusailing.com

First visitors of 2008
03/16/2008

We spent a lovely 4 days with our friends Rosemary and Roy at the end of February, our first 2008 visitors of many, we hope. During their stay, we took the train into Marseilles for the afternoon, well we only had the afternoon left to explore after spending a leisurely lunch in the sunshine. The following day we drove over the Saint Baume mountains and climbed to a grotto in the cliff where Mary Magdellan is said to have spent the last 30 years of her live, having arrived in Marseilles after being driven away from Jerusalem. It was well worth the effort to reach it and we were practically the only ones there. Afterwards, we travelled to Saint Maximin for lunch followed by a visit to the Basilica where Mary Magdellan's relics are said to be buried in the crypt.

Out she comes
02/11/2008

The big day finally arrived for Deep Blue to come out of the water for her annual check and re-anti-fouling. Eight guys and the largest crane we have ever seen made short work of it but not before we had a visit from French Customs literally just before the lift! They realised that it wasn't a good time and therefore made only very quick checks that our paperwork was in order and that we held valid passports. One of them then got into a discussion about how to use the past tense when speaking English. A quick lesson later and we returned to the job in hand. For a crane that can lift 250 tonnes, Deep Blue didn't cause it too many problems at just 10 tonne. She was gently lowered into a dry dock, next to Composite Works, beside a beautiful 85ft yacht. Makes us look very small! We've only just started on the work but it's great to have all the gear to hand from Ben's business to make the job easier and is, of course, one of the reasons for spending the winter here.


We’ve moved into a flat!
02/11/2008


But only temporarily as the boat has now come out of the water for a couple of weeks. It's a small, third floor apartment overlooking the old port. The steep, winding staircase leading to the apartment has crumbling walls, low ceilings to negotiate and plumbing pipes and electrical wiring running everywhere. However, once inside, it is delightful with tiled floors, a modern bathroom and a fully-fitted kitchen with an appliance that, we have been told, actually washes the dishes for you - whatever will they think of next? A major bonus is that it also has a washing machine so no more trips to the launderette for a couple of weeks for us.

Magnifique Marseille
02/11/2008


Our friends Christine & Jean-Louis took us over to Marseille last week where we had a whistle-stop visit that took in the Basilica de Notre Dame de la Garde, located at the highest point of the city overlooking the Mediterranean. The Basilica is coming to the end of an extensive restoration and is absolutely stunning. A statue of the Virgin Mary holding Baby Jesus stands on top of the Basilica and she looks over and protects anybody and everybody involved in seafaring activities. The whole of the interior of the Basilica has a nautical theme that includes colourful mosaics depicting anchors and ships, hanging mobiles of different sailing vessels and dedications of thanks, in the form of etched tiles on the walls, to the Virgin Mary for prayers answered. A 'must-see' when visiting Marseille. We want to go back and see more of the city before we leave the area.

American Ron
02/11/2008

You tend to make friends quickly whilst in port and so, when Chris got chatting to Ron from San Francisco in the showers, nothing was unusual. He was here by himself having bought a boat in France last year that he then sailed to Greece and back arriving in La Ciotat a couple of weeks ago. When he was in Greece he bought a new dinghy that subsequently had a minor problem and was replaced for a new one that he never used. We have been planning to buy a replacement dinghy before we leave La Ciotat and quickly put a deal together with Ron to purchase his 3.2m Honda dinghy that had literally never been in the water. We are absolutely delighted with it and Ron was pleased to have some cash, plus our old dinghy, and a haircut from Sandra that took place on the quay. After spending a couple of weeks here, he has now headed east where he hopes to sell his boat before returning to the USA.

Nos Amis Francais
02/11/2008

Since our last update, we have made some new friends here in La Ciotat. Christine and Jean-Louis are locals who own a boat that is moored in the same marina as us. We got chatting as they are planning to do the same as us and become liveaboards this summer. We have now become good friends and have even had JL's mum and dad on board for a tour! Christine has given us some of her home-made 'Vin de Noix' which is a concoction of red wine, walnuts and spices marinated and then decanted. It tastes very similar to port but the French drink it as an aperitif. She also cooked us a typical provencal meal of asparagus terrine, fish soup and apple pancake when they invited us to their home recently. They do not speak much English but we manage to have a lot of laughs when we get together. In fact, Sandra laughs like mad whenever we get together because JL now greets Chris with a kiss on both cheeks - very French!

Happy New Year 2008
01/14/2008

We hope you all had a very Merry Christmas, however and wherever you spent it, and we wish you all a very healthy and happy 2008.

We returned to the UK in December and did a whistle-stop tour seeing family and friends. Sorry if we did not see you on this trip but it was impossible to see and do everything. We had a great time and would like to thank everyone who put us up during our stay. We slept in 9 different beds over a 3 week period!

We got back to La Ciotat last week and are now happily back onboard Deep Blue planning jobs that we want to do whilst we are here for a few months including the annual maintenance of re-antifouling the underneath.

It has been a busy week finding out new things here in La Ciotat. There is a small cinema that shows films in English as well as French so last night we went to see a Ken Loach film called It's A Free World. Whilst is was a novelty to watch an English film, it was a bit of a depressing subject - the exploitation of immigrants in the UK, and when we came out we kept a low profile in case the locals thought that all English people were the same. This morning, we awoke to find a fantastic market had appeared all around the port. There were all kinds of stalls including those selling cheese and cooked meats, fruit & vegetables, CD's and DVD's, jewellery and clothes. We strolled around in the sunshine and bought some crockery and cheese. By 1pm it was all over, everyone was then in the restaurants for lunch and the local council workers were cleaning up.

The weather has been variable this week. We've had a few days of grey skies and rain but, on the whole, it has been very mild with big blue skies. Long may it continue.

NEW PHONE NUMBER

We have a new telephone number that you can contact us on wherever we are. It is a UK (Isle of Man) mobile number. 07924 428235 from a UK landline and +44 7924 428235 from a mobile



CONTACT DETAILS
01/03/2008

NEW PHONE NUMBER


We have a new telephone number that you can contact us on wherever we are. It is a UK (Isle of Man) mobile number.
07924 428235 from a UK landline
+44 7924 428235 from a mobile
0044 7924 428235 from a non-UK landline

We’ve arrived in La Ciotat, Provence – via L’Escala, Port Vendres & Gulf of Lions
12/12/2007, La Ciotat

The last week has been a bit of a blur but Plan B worked and we have arrived at our winter destination, thank goodness!

We only spent one night in Palamos and carried on up the coast to L'Escala, where we were met by really helpful and friendly staff at the marina. It was also the first marina that we had visited that had heated shower rooms. That might sound insignificant to you but you have to believe us that this is an important consideration at this time of year! L'Escala town was a short walk around the beach away and was just lovely with interesting buildings, a warm, community atmosphere and the best bottle shop in the whole world. We found drinks in there that we didn't even know existed. Chris wanted to stop right here and go no further!

From there, we continued around the coast and crossed the border into France to arrive at Port Vendres which was a picture postcard French harbour. Checked the weather, once we had done the usual tracking down of an internet connection that, this time, turned out to be sitting under a tree outside a cafe. We realised that we had a small weather window on Saturday to get to La Ciotat and decided to go for it.

We left around midday and wondered whether we had done the right thing with an overnight passage a head of us. It was a bit tricky even getting out of the harbour as we had 35 knots of wind coming right at us but we knew that the first couple of hours were going to be the worst. After 30 minutes we had to get changed because we were soaked by the waves that had broken over the boat and had landed on us. We were using the engine to help us power through the seas, when it just stopped. Chris then spent the next two hours below, with his head in the engine room, covered in diesel, sorting it all out. We think we must have picked up some contaminated fuel in Ibiza, as the filters, which had only been changed in Menorca, were blocked with muck. Not deterred, we continued. Dinner was a tin of Irish Stew mixed with a tin of peas and carrots and was surprisingly good. The crossing of Gulf of Lions, which has a formidable reputation due to the strength and direction of the wind at this time of the year, was completed without incident and, as we approached the French coast at Marseilles, whilst I was resting below, Chris found himself doing 10 knots which was a bit too fast for the conditions, so he reefed the sails a bit more to slow us down but still kept up a respectable speed. The final part of the journey was in big seas and strong winds and, as it was still dark, we kept seeing the silhouette of the land disappear behind another set of big waves. We were quite glad that it was dark, so that we couldn't see just how big the waves were! As we arrived at Ben's boatyard the heavens opened and, in the dark, we got soaked mooring up. We didn't really say much to each other because we were too cold and wet but there was a silent relief and contentment at our achievement.

It is amazing how much better you feel after sleep and a bacon sandwich but we did. We spent a couple of days at Ben's yard and have today moved just around the corner to the Old Port of La Ciotat, that Ben very kindly arranged for us. We have a lovely location right outside the Capitainerie and a restaurant that is sharing its wifi connection with us (hope they don't mind). We have a view of the marina and town in front of us and it is just perfect.

We are now getting ready to return to the UK this weekend and are looking forward to seeing as many of you as we can before returning on 5th January when we will start some maintenance work on the boat before setting off for more Mediterranean adventures sometime in March.

Deep Blue has looked after us so well these last few months. We are very proud of her. We feel a bit reluctant to leave her this weekend but she is probably looking forward to the rest just as much as we are.

Check out the gallery for the last photos from Mahon, L'Escala (Spain album) and Port Vendres and La Ciotat (France album), we hope you enjoy them.

A bientot!

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