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Deep Blue
Living The Dream
Provençal partying

During the first week of April, La Ciotat celebrated a week of all things Provençal culminating in a traditional market, climbing the May Pole (even though it was April) and music and dancing in traditional costume. It was quite a hot day but that didn't deter these ladies from strutting their stuff!

Trip to Frioul with friends

Last weekend was spent with our friends on their boat, Jersey, with a quick trip over to the island of Frioul, just an hour from Marseille where their boat is based. We started off on Friday evening with a meal onboard with other French liveaboards, Jean Pierre and Hélène. The next day, we went over to Frioul and spent the afternoon sunbathing and exploring the island. Christine did a 'biology walk' and pointed out to us the wild herbs and vegetation that we could eat. There were lots of seagulls there. Some had laid eggs just at the side of the path. We really felt as if we were on holiday. We didn't sleep very well that night as the wind had started to blow again. The next morning, we awoke to a different season. It felt like winter and we had to put our foul weather gear on with hats and gloves for the trip back. We had hoped to have done some fishing but that will have to wait for another day. Take a look at the Frioul album in the gallery for all the photos.

Easter project

Over the Easter weekend the weather was so windy that we didn't step off the boat for a couple of days. What better time therefore than to get out the knitting machine that had been stored away for a year and here I am modelling the result.

Ouch! Sea Urchins

We have often looked in amazement at sea urchins when we have been buying our seafood and our local shop owner showed us how to open and eat them and then gave us some to try. You take a pair of scissors and cut around the top and take it off. Inside, it is practically empty apart from some black liquid that you rinse out and you are left with segments of orange roe that you eat on bread. It is ok but we thought that they were not worth the effort and won't be buying any. We'll stick to mussels instead.

Fire Brigade planes

The bay just in front of us is used by planes who train to scoop up water and then fly to hard to get to places in the mountains just behind, where they release the water to stop summer fires.

Billy No Mates

Whilst we were in the dry dock, a lonely seagull befriended us. We named him Billy as he had 'no mates' with him. He stayed around for several days and was quite happy to take bread out of your hand!

Parc Mugel

Just behind the dockyard, there is a wonderful park that has plants from all over the world, including a cactus display. Within the park is an outdoors centre where children can learn about nature and various environmental workshops are held. The view of La Ciotat and the bay from the park is gorgeous.

Happy Easter

You may find this hard to believe but here in France they do not have Hot Cross Buns at all, whereas we are sure that back in the UK they have been in the shops since January 2nd. So, in keeping with tradition, I have made some. They are delicious and much better than the squashed flat, 2 For 1, offering's from Mr. Sainsbury's. Check out Delia for the recipe. Until our next update, we wish you all a very Happy Easter and trust that you will make the most of the long weekend.

Floating again!

Don't ever let anyone tell you that life on board Deep Blue is all Gin and Tonics and watching the sun set in some perfect location. We have just been lifted out of a huge dry dock - big enough to take the largest cruise ship - with just one other boat for company, where we have been for the last 5 ½ weeks. It's fantastic to be floating again. One of the reasons for coming here to La Ciotat for the winter is because Chris's brother has a large business here re-fitting and maintaining super and mega yachts, and we wanted to take advantage of some of his facilities (check And we sure have! One of the major things we wanted to do was re antifoul the bottom of the boat with the Coppercoat, a special product that is supposed to last for at least ten years, which is a massive plus compared to the normal annual ritual. However it has been a bit of a project....All of the existing stuff had to come off, which turned out to be a big job in itself. We ended up literally scraping it off, well Chris did actually, and then sanding the whole hull to get back to the gelcoat. Chris said that when you have spent several days with scrapers and sanders above your shoulders, you start to appreciate how big a 47' boat is! Some minor repairs had to be done to the bottom, and then we had to wait for the right weather window to actually apply the stuff. Humidity had to be low, temp above 14C, and no rain for 2 days. Then we had to roll on 5 coats of what seemed like chocolate cake mix all in one day - coats have to be applied wet on tacky. 5 days later, when the Coppercoat had cured, the boat had to be moved, so that we could get to the bits that the cradle was hiding, and do the same again. Finally, the whole hull had to be rubbed down with fine wet and dry sand paper - imagine someone running a hosepipe down your sleeve for 2 days and you will get the idea! Anyway it's all now done and finished, and we are very happy with the result. While it has been a much bigger job than we thought it would be, it should prove very worthwhile in the future - it better had! Whilst Chris was doing this job, I re-treated the teak decks to protect them from the hot sunshine that we are expecting this summer. I also made good use of a cookbook 'French Odyssey' by Rick Stein that Jan and Ian bought Chris for his 50th. As it was written following a trip to this area, I was able to produce some delicious regional dishes everyday for Chris as a reward for all his efforts and to replace the 10,000 calories that he used up each day.

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Who: Chris & Sandra Mennem
Port: Shotley, UK
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