October 28, 2009

Motoring, Mud Fights and Wine



We we Noche and the French Canals. A year gone by, and she didn't look that bad, but boy did she smell. The first night back in La Rochelle my buddy Patrick said, "Its like camping, campfire smell and all". You do all you can but after all the salt air, the flat screen tv seized along with every zipper from trouser to raincoat to my favorite backpack. The only thing that got better was a stash of Dominican Rum, but not the mayonnaise or the carton of milk next to it. Sunny weather welcomed me off the plane so drying her out and enjoying the boat again was a breeze. Leaving La Rochelle and all the good people there was difficult. I know everyone is tired of hearing about "La Rochelle" and how great it is, but if you have a boat, and can handle castle turrets, and old clock towers illuminating around you as you have that glass of wine at sunset its the place to go. Waking up to the smell of fresh bread in the air and having an organic vegetable market a block away makes the good things in life right at your doors step.

Bordeaux...but not yet. There are crazy tides and wild Kiwis before lazy canals and cheap wine. Jon and Paul happened to be in the neighborhood. One carbon tiptoe for Jon from London to Toulouse, and Paul happened to be ridding his bike through the Pyraneese mountains on a month holiday from his mega yacht in the Med, so we met up and took Noche into the Garronne river on the rising tide at eight knotts to the walls of Bordeaux in one day. Well... all in one day, meaning we stumbled back from a Cuban dance bar in Royan at two in the morning and wanted to take the boat out...we left the car at the dock, and believe it or not Paul fell as sleep on the couch as Jon averaged about four knots out into the river and into the night. Having three "Captains" on board was luxury cruising so I crawled into my fart bag and when Paul and I woke up, Jon had done the hard watch and as the sun came up and burnt off the fog the tide changed and we started to reach speeds of eight and nine knots.

Bordeaux, pretty similar to Royan. We closed down the Irish pub and then danced the night away in a sweaty club with no air or elbo room to familiar Caribbean music and Mojitos. Somehow the wonderfull bar tender Anna,
from the Irish pub ended up with us the next day and we took a leisurely drive though wine country and had a mud fight in front of peaceful family vacationers in a sleepy beach town in autum. Its always so much fun with those guys.

Then the possie came down from La Rochelle for a monday night. Chris, another bar tender...came down first from LR, and thought I could use a fresh shirt so he took me shopping... meaning you go to little chic-shops looking for a t-shirt that's to small but comes wrapped in a fancy bag that you carry around town making you feel fancy for the rest of the day. We bought a few bottles of wine, and made reservations at a street side Italian restaurant for latter that night. Then we got Macaroons, a regional cookie that comes in different colors and flavors and again it is served with a white glove and boxed up like a wedding ring. Half of the experience is presentation.You select a baguette and they tie a paper bow around it. Everything is done intently and with great importance. Greeting people is the same. A greeting starts with "hello", then two kisses, you chat and then two more kisses, "good bye", and then "good journey". In this region life is one sensational moment after another.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi! I just saw the post you made to floatplan.com and I would be really excited to join a crew like yours! Your mission of giving sounds absolutely awesome and something I want to be a part of. I've done quite a bit of sailing in the past year, including one stretch of 12 days from North Carolina to St. Maarten, but I really want to do some ocean crossing, grand adventures, and meeting of peoples all over the world. I speak some Spanish (it's been out of practice for awhile though) and I've been learning French for the last 3 months by living in Senegal. I'm studying sustainable community development with a program based in Dakar, which will end December 12th. I'll be available from then on, and could travel to meet up with you. Please email me at rjstar@gmail.com and I can give you more personal information about me. (your ad didn't have an email)
Cheers and happy sailing!
-Ruth

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am also interested in regards to your post. I've taken a beginner sailing class and have been a few times outside of that. I'm actually considering buying a boat myslef but, figured this would help me make the BIG decision. I am fluent in spanish and have basic knowledge in Porkandcheese. I actually live and work in miami. I have a full time job but, as long as I give two weeks notice it'll be fine. Let me know if you have an interest, more info or any questions.

Thanks!
Daniela
danielafig6@gmail.com

Dan said...

me three! i've been doing the traveling and non-profit thing for the past 4 years now, am fluent in spanish and currently working up my french in quebec. have a bit of sailing experience through the co-ops and beer can races in berkeley, california. drop me a line for more info.. and happy travels to you,

thebends@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

y yo tambien!

I see you've got a few new followers from the post on floatplan. Sounds like an awesome adventure that I'd love to join in on.

This 28 year old guy has some mad skills to contribute... well, actually I know nothing about sailing. But spent my life around and on boats of all other descriptions, and YOU fine sir appear to be a fantastic skipper to apprentice from!

Am living in a pleasantly isolated coastal community on the British Columbian coast workin as a fisheries biologist/ commercial diver. But not really feeling the love towards another Canadian winter. So am headed off travelling (as of next week) to seek sunshine and attempt to save the world! Would definitely love to do some time on your boat if our paths can cross. Otherwise beers at some port cafe would be cool to hear about your adventures... and perhaps at that time I could convince you to let me stow away onboard!

My email is: andrewtaylor81@hotmail.com let me know where you are and where you might need help, if ur keen.

later,
Andy

molly said...

hello there! happened upon your site through floatplan and wanted to talk about maybe jumping ship next year if you are still looking for crew! i speak spanish fluently and un poquinho de porkandcheese. :)
please contact me in your interested>
cbba_choca86@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

Hey Dan -

I race J22's in Minneapolis and am currently a nine to fiver looking to make a change. I got some money in the bank and some great sailing experience. Looking to make a change 2010 to the life of traveling the world and making a difference in peoples lives. If you have an opening let me know anytime soon let me know. I am a 25 year old wakeskating, skateboarding, handyman looking to do what I do best, live on the water. drop a line. atch.faiola@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Hello, I also saw your post on floatplan...I'm also making arrangments to head out sailing next year after salmon season. i'm living in dillingham, AK working as a reporter for KDLG (we may have met if you were out here over the past two seasons). anyway, i'm more or less fluent in spanish after spending about a year in south america, also i've spent a few years in the south pacific and asia. let me know if you have any plans (a scary word, i know, but sometimes necessary) after the 2010 bristol bay sockeye season.

-Adam
shortyadamk@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Hi, like all these others, I too came across you on floatplan.

I've just this summer graduated from the University of Bath and am looking to fill the next 6 months productively before taking up my place on the Teach First scheme (have you heard of it?) in the summer of 2010.

I, unlike all these others, have only a very rudimentary grasp of any foreign language, have next to no sailing experience and, apart from my halls of residence at university, have lived nowhere exotic or exciting.

I have, however, spent 2 months road-tripping around the U S of A this summer with three friends and a car that by all accounts shouldn't have made it out of the drive, let alone more than 2,000 miles around America. I've also hitch-hiked to Paris for charity and walked the Highlands.

If you want to know anything else, let me know: romackenzie@hotmail.com

All the best,
Rosie

Anonymous said...

I can also cook - a little bit.

Thanks.

Rosie

Anonymous said...

Hello Daniel:

I'm joao portuguese guy,I would like to know if you need any crew at the moment.
I live in Portugal in Peniche . I have some sailing experience and i speak spanish ,french and english.
I have now some time free.
Tell me something
Hope talk to you soon
Joao
( joaodaconsolacao@hotmail.com)

Sam said...

ciaociao daniel, saw your post while cruising for fresh ideas and possibilities for my travels. ive been cycling/ backpacking europe for the past half year, couchsurfing, visiting friends, wwoofing with ecocommunities, and doing a fair bit of illegal camping along the way. my current location is in italy, heading to sicily then spain, superopen-ended plans. looking to get off the land and onto the water.

i've spent some time on boats while living in santa barbara for the past few years--most on my ocean kayak hah, so not in any professional capacity forsure. but i can pick things up pretty quickly.
nice chronicles of your journeying, i certainly share your approach to travel with the purpose of being free and in this moment and in doing this, catalyzing change, individual and collective. maybe our trajectories will coincide for a bit, hope to be in touch.
sam
samgracedowd@gmail.com

Chelsea said...

Hi Dan & crew-

ok so lots of other people also scan floatplan.com! just read your blog and your plan sounds grand.

i've lived/worked in Minneapolis now for 2 years as a photographer (used to live in Vail, CO) but am ready to get out of the states again. I speak french and spanish (lived in Santiago, Chile for about 6 months) and love sailing (racing fleets and cabin cruisers). one of my friends always leaves for the salmon fishing in AK so I'm intrigued about that too.

anyways- would love to hear more about what you're up to and if I could tag along:)

Thanks- Chelsea
cjackson808@yahoo.com

ps- i'm 27 years old

Anonymous said...

Hi there,
I read that you were looking for people to backpack/travel with you. I’m really interested in going along and was hoping that I still had a chance to ask a few questions and see if it's possible for me to go. Just e-mail me back at: watson.linnea@yahoo.com and let me know.
Thanks,
-Linnea

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Molly said...

Hola Mr. Patterson,
love some of your photos, looks like you have some fantastic adventures. I wrote before and just wanted to check back about possibly working with you next year. Either way please shoot me an e-mail and let me know por favor. :) gracias!

cbba_choca86@hotmail.com

Alejandro said...

Howdy, looks like you have plenty of interested (and interesting) people to choose from, but I figured I'd pipe up in any case. I've been backpacking around Europe and Asia for most of this year and am looking for the next trip. I've actually started to settle down for the winter at a buddy's place in Germany but I'd love to join you sometime next year, specially as you're headed down to Morocco then over to South America. I'm 29, originally from Argentina but have also lived in the US and NZ; I have no sailing experience but am quick learner and hard worker, and a damn good cook. Anyways, drop me a line if you have time - moustro at gmail dot com - to see if we can make this work. Thanks and happy travels!
Alejandro

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Ying said...

Hi! Just thought I'd add to a whole load of other people seeking to join you. I'm graduating in April next year, and am looking to do something RAD for the summer of 2010 like heading down to South America.

I'm currently living in Asia but I'd be keen on flying to wherever to meet up for a sailing adventure if you're keen. I've been to Europe (just went to Spain last year!!), some parts of USA, Australia, NZ, SEA and heading to South Africa in a week or so. The last continent I have yet to set foot on is South America, and I'd be thrilled to join you if you're interested. My Spanish is rudimentary but I'm sure we can make something work.

Cheers and happy travels,
Ying

Elizabeth Muzzy said...

Seems like you've got quite a few people to choose from - but I saw your post on floatplan as well. I'm from the states but living in Buenos Aires, Argentina and will be in Uruguay for January - when do you think you might be making it this way?

I'd love to jump on as a hitchhiker - I raced 420's in college, but that's about my extent sailing.. I really want to get some experience though and try to crew at the Bermuda race in a few years.

A little about me - I'm a traveler. I write in the meantime for travel sites, I tour guide when I can in places I know, I play games and pranks and I like a really good rum. As for languages - proficient in French, getting there in Spanish and I think my English is pretty decent.

Even if the boats full, let me know if you hit BA, and I'll show you all around. Lizzymuzzy@gmail.com

Suerte.
Lizzy

lizzymuzzy said...

Seems like you've got quite a few people to choose from - but I saw your post on floatplan as well. I'm from the states but living in Buenos Aires, Argentina and will be in Uruguay for January - when do you think you might be making it this way?

I'd love to jump on as a hitchhiker - I raced 420's in college, but that's about my extent sailing.. I really want to get some experience though and try to crew at the Bermuda race in a few years.

A little about me - I'm a traveler. I write in the meantime for travel sites, I tour guide when I can in places I know, I play games and pranks and I like a really good rum. As for languages - proficient in French, getting there in Spanish and I think my English is pretty decent.

Even if the boats full, let me know if you hit BA, and I'll show you all around. Lizzymuzzy@gmail.com

Suerte.
Lizzy

Lauren Taylor said...

Well alas I'm adding to the list of people wanting to come aboard. California local wanting to move from southern california and be on a boat. Just made a winter delivery on a traditionally rigged schooner and definitely got the bug.
When are you picking up fresh crew?

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