Saint Raphael, Ile de Porquerolle and Toulon

Mor Toad / Moy Toad
David and Jocelyn Fawcett
Tue 21 May 2019 16:43
We prefer anchoring but with all the wind and seas we’ve been having in the past few weeks it hasn’t always been easy to do this and one is better off in a marina. So having left the marina at St Tropez after our friends left friends left we went to anchor in a bay just round the corner Anse de Cabaniere which I believe I reported on earlier - 10/5/19 Everything has got a little out of sync! We had a pleasant night there a walk a swim and chill but again because of strong winds reported in the wrong direction to stay comfortably at anchor the next day we spent a couple of hours motoring across the bay in a north easterly direction toward Frejus and Saint Raphael - 11/5/19 . We had emailed the marina and unlike St Tropez instant response yes we have a place and on entering the harbour the Maraniere came out of his office jumped into his dinghy big smile and in French follow me I will show you where to go. All worked very easily (we just never know how its going to be and this time he helped with the bow lines whilst a guy onshore took the ropes. ) We were tied up underneath the Promenade de Mer and could see a Ferris wheel going round.

We had lunch and the wind had already started gusting and even the Maraniere came back to help tighten the bow lines as he said expecting ‘winds’ !!! From the guide book it would appear very little to see so we made the decision to walk along the beach up the river to Frejus. Quite a hike and blowing hard but we made it (10,000 plus plus steps) . Frejus was an interesting old town and we had a brief look round, came across a Parade , a wedding and few roman remains but weren’t really in the mood for tourist inn but had a pleasant sit in the square and watched the world go by. Good ice cream too. We managed to order a taxi to take us back as buses and trains seemed to be in short supply. The next morning we had a brief walk in the opposite direction along the promenade where they were setting up a track for a display for a Formula one car . Lots of people out to watch and festive activity including a jazz band but we decided to head back to the anchorage above for another night 12/5/19 - hopefully calm before setting off westwards.

Our next port of call further west were to the Isles de Hyeres. Our first anchorage (the first two islands you can’t anchor by) was on the highest island but with few places to stay but we ended up in a steeply sided and wooded inlet with a few boats in it which reminded us very much of The Fal or The Helford in Cornwall. Slightly rolly anchorage but not unpleasant and before leaving the next morning we went ashore and did a walk of part of the island but a bit like tramping in New Zealand as so wooded in fact saw very little!!!

After this we then headed for the marina (again strong winds forecast) on Ile de Porquerolle . We struggled to understand the harbour master on the radio as to where we could go but they came out and in fact we were given a berth alongside the harbour masters office and next door to a very much larger yacht called Blue Panda which seemed to be WWF yacht (we failed to get any information on it!) well what a busy place ferries coming in all ver the place people queuing up to get on them and bikes seemingly abandoned all over the place but no cars. It had a great feel about it and we ended up staying there two nights . The day there we hired electric bikes and went a long way round the island not easy but we got used to it as all the roads were either sand gravel rocky and in places quite rutted. Certainly a challenge but good fun and I certainly wouldn’t have managed unless we had electric bikes also quite steep. should think in the height of summer quite chaotic lots of bike hire shops. After two nights having identified a very nice bay (Alicastre) on our cycle ride we then went an anchored again the wind had died. Beautiful clear water gorgeous turquoise blue but deceptive as like the Scilly Isles the water was cold back down to 16.5 . Lots of boats anchored and plenty of people on the beach. We had a lovely walk along the beach but even then the wind was quite chilly but obviously some hardy people sunbathing. A good night at anchor but the next morning the weather was grey and dull and rain forecast a complete contrast.

So up anchor again and we headed back to towards the main town re - anchored in a bay close by as David needed to take the dinghy ashore to retrieve something we had left on the hire bikes. This didn’t take long and we were soon on our way and actually had a good downwind sail but very cold and quite a lumpy sea. This would have been fine if a freak wave (some military craft had passed us going in the opposite direction and their wake and the lumpy sea caused a huge wave to hit the back of the boat with quite some force. No damage and David didn’t get wet as the boat was on auto pilot and he was sat under the spray hood out of the cold however I was downstairs having been to the loo in the back cabin and as I was coming out and at the same time as a loud bang water gushed in through the cracked hatch (neither of us had remembered this and hadn’t checked before we set sail!) onto me and our bed and all over the floor and even managed to get into a cupboard I had left open with clothes in it. I hastily closed the hatch my language was not to be repeated but I did rush to make sure David OK as couldn’t understand what had happened.

So nothing we could do and we carried on to Toulon where we had a identified a marina in the south west corner of the large natural harbour of Rade de Toulon. The pilot guide said it was a nice french fishing village and indeed it was. St Mandrier sur Mer. So what to do with all our wet bedding and clothes. Fortunately there was a launderette not far away so that’s where I spent the afternoon thankfully good washing machines and driers. With the quantity we couldn’t have done it all on board and in any case rain forecast so drying would have been difficult. I had a good book!! So we managed to sort and with the help of heating on the boat and a hairdryer dried the mattress and other soft furnishings which had got drenched so we went to bed dry!

First thing we walked along to the village where David had seen there was a market on on his way to buy croissant for breakfast. we had a wander around this and bought a few things which we took back to the boat before getting the ferry from the harbour across to Toulon itself. Busy place but we had a good wander around the old part which is behind the harbour. Sadly they have built some not very nice looking flats ? In the 60’s on the waterfront presumably replacing what was bombed during the Second World War but behind there were some pleasant pedestrianised streets. plenty of shops and markets. We visited the cathedral and had a general wander but then decided we’d take the funicular up to Mount Falon behind Toulon ( the backdrop to Toulon are five hills) and this was one of them. Having been into the tourist information office we discovered the bus went from not faraway and we didn’t have to wait long. Good views from the funicular and the top and there was also a monument up there to those that died in the Second World War and had been in the resistance and inside was an extremely good exhibition on the Second World War - bombing of Toulon but also about the allied landings on the Mediterranean coast. After this we walked aback down into Toulon just as quick as the bus as more direct route and then caught the ferry back to the boat.

We left St Mandrier and motored out to go further west round a headland Cap Sicle with the intention of anchoring if we could find shelter or going into Sanary Sur Mer. In the event having motored into the wind and big seas we decided to go straight into Sanary .

Think now I am ahead or behind myself with the blog so will end here.

Off to explore

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