How to Spend a Day Sailing in the French Riviera
The opportunity arose to spend a day on a sailboat cruising the azure waters of the French Riviera; how could I say no?! This was by far one of the most memorable and wonderful days of my trip…with a few hiccups! The hostel I was staying at, Villa Saint Exupery, just steps from the beach in the middle of old town Nice, had arranged a sailing trip for 64 euro for anyone who wanted to join in. We had to pay in cash so that the money could be transferred to the captain, which I thought was a bit odd but I paid up anyway with visions of incredible water dancing in my head.
I met the rest of the group the following morning at 8am in reception after which we made our own way to the train station, bought 10,50 euro round-trip train tickets to Golfe Juan and picked up some lunch and drinks on the way at the local grocery store. Our boat was called the Candy and she was a beautiful wooden sailboat moored in between some very luxurious looking yachts.
We met our captain Jean-Pierre who immediately gave off a sketchy vibe. He hadn’t purchased his skipper’s license this year, as his regular skipper had bailed on him last minute and he normally didn’t run these tours, so instead of canceling the tour and giving us advice on a different boat we could have hired for the day, we were to go along with the story. If we were questioned by authorities, we were to say we were friends of JP and had been invited on board and no money had been spent. Not cool.
On top of the strange situation, we were told that either we agreed, or the trip was cancelled without refund. So we rather reluctantly climbed on board, to then be sat down and told of all the rules, because this boat demanded ‘discipline!’. I respect rules, but we were banned from practically doing anything board except sitting on towels on the front of the boat at all times. Not to mention his rude comments and touchiness towards us girls.
BUT, having said all that, the 7 hours we got to spend on board the boat were some of the best hours of my entire trip. We bonded as a group and decided that no matter we would have each others’ backs. What proceeded was a fantastic day in some of the most incredible water; we jumped off the boat, we snorkeled off the Ile Sainte-Marguerite, we suntanned, we saw Abramovich’s super-yacht Eclipse and we enjoyed the delightful company of new friends.
Imagine a billion litres of gatorade, but warm, inviting, clear and a thousand times better. That was sort of like where we were. Have a look for yourself: