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XII Bar Blues - A trip round the bay
15/June/2012, St Tropez

According to the DS (or should that be HDB or even EDB ?) we have been on holiday for a week. That respite is now over so we've gone north a bit to anchor in the Baie de Canoubier which is just east of St Tropez; apparently Bridgette Bardot has her house overlooking this bay.
The tale of our GenSet continues its unhappy progress - the close formation buck-passing of recent weeks is, if the skipper is to be believed, about to be replaced by a new game of cover-my-arse.
What is good is the continuing stream of reports of lousy weather in Blighty - this is very cheering stuff for those of us in the Med (well you wouldn't want to feel you were wasting your money would you !).

10/June/2012, Cavalaire

Those of you who have sampled the offerings of that temple to carnivores, Les Rotisseurs de Cote in Cavalaire, will share the skipper's alarm at finding that the Harley Davidson and Hell's Angels memorabilia have been replaced with rather poncy outdoor wicker sofas and the like. There's even salad on the menu for heaven's sake !
It turns out that the proprieter of the past sold out earlier this year and is now cheffing at the Heracles Plage.
Further research is to be carried out. Perhaps there's an EU grant ?

New Neighbours
7/June/2012, 43 08.7'N:6 26.32'E

After a slightly trying overnight stay in the, otherwise delightful, cove of Port Man on the island of Port Cros we've decamped to anchor in the lee of Cap Negre near Cavaliere.
There is, we guess, something in the French (or in this particular case, Italian) manual of seamanship for yachtsmen that says that when choosing the best spot in which to drop your anchor you really can't do better than to put it on top of somebody else's. It's this practice which makes places like Port Man a touch trying.
However we're out of there now and enjoying the company of this rather fine Maltese-registered classic

Cruising at last
31/May/2012, Nr Le Lavandou (Anse de gau)

A week out from Port Napoleon we've enjoyed settled conditions and mostly v.good weather. Our regular anchorages have proved mostly quiet and peaceful. A first visit to the marina at Porquerolles revealed a tripper-oriented but nonetheless attractive spot with friendly and helpful staff.
Culinary (re)discoveries include just how good the cheeses of the Savoie really are - particularly Tomme and Reblochon, which seem to go well with the local red drink. We should not overlook the joyous combination of a glass of the Black Bush with a small slab of very dark chocolate, is there a better way to take your antioxidants ? (whatever they are).
It seems that even machinery is political these days. Our new German generator which worked pretty much OK when under the supervision of Anglo-Saxons now finds itself in a new socialist paradise and has turned decidedly workshy. We are being treated to a spectacular display of close-formation buck passing by the vendor, installer, agents et al. Rather in the way that during the fifties and sixties everybody would do Tommy Cooper or Jimmy Cagney impersonations so these folks all do plausible impersonations of someone being helpful. But it is just an impersonation - they don't mean it.
We think we're about to succumb to the temptation of a run ashore so we may be doing our bit to enhance the financial status of the marina operator in Le Lavandou - whether poper levels of gratitude will be shown for this small-scale eurozone bailout remains to be seen but it's not recommended as a bet whatever odds you may be able to secure.

2012 Season Underway
14/May/2012, Port Napoleon

XII Bar Blues is now restored to her proper element with sails bent on and the new electrical systems seemingly working well. There is much still to do before she can go off cruising but this week should see most, if not all, of that stuff ticked off.
Reports emanating from the UK about miserable weather are, of course, cheering news for the crew enjoying some warm, albeit rather windy, weather in the Mediterranean.
The skipper has the special pleasure to come of an hour so to be spent up the mast - shame he can't stand heights - to be compensated for by a spell to be spent communing with the GenSet which lives much closer to the water, althought it's accommodation might be seen by many as being a touch on the cramped side.

The real challenge to come is to acquire SIM cards for our data "dongles" in order to avoid the rip-off rates charged for data roaming. It will be interesting to see whether the various French telcos and mobile operators still persist in their bizarre policy of allowing you to top up your account in a shop using a credit card but will not allow you to use the same card for the same purpose on-line (unless it's a French card of course). Perhaps M. Hollande will sort it out when he's finished dealing with Angela.

Mistral Dodging
16/July/2011, St Tropez

From Isle de Lerin we motored west (although not on Route 66) to the other set of islands round here which are the Isles de Hyeres which are often, wrongly, referred to as The Porquerolles.
Port Man being essentially full we anchored just opposite off the western end of Isle de Levant near Heliopolis. From there to Bregancon (about 5 miles) for the night and back to Port Man early the next morning to get a good spot.
Having taken on much-needed fuel in Le Lavandou we returned to Bregancon for another peaceful night.
The arrival of a gale warning on the Sat C terminal was a bit unwelcome so we set off the next day to hide in the marina in Cavalaire where we were treated to a pretty impressive fireworks display in celebration of 14th July (Bastille Day). Not up to Mustique standards but a good effort nonetheless.
Then to St Tropez via Cap Taillat - we reckon the accumulated value of the superyachts here exceeds the GDP of several of the smaller countries !

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