It’s 2 pm when I walk through the doors of the agency. Yannick, our captain, gives us a quick presentation of the city, the coasts, and where we are heading. According to the wind, the boat will go into the different creeks of the Frioul archipelago. Today, the wind comes from the West. We will therefore take shelter on the island “Ratonneau” part of the Frioul islands.
We’re heading for the ‘Vieux Port’ (1 min walk) to reach our boat. We walk by a group of fishermen who are having a drink. We’re already wrapped in the warm atmosphere of Marseille. The ‘Story Boat’ is waiting for us. It is a spacious boat which allows everyone to relax and feel at home (we are about ten people).
Let’s go! As we go out to sea and the ‘Bonne-mère’ (Notre-Dame de la Garde) moves away on the horizon, the islands are gradually taking shape. We pass by the Château d’If, a mythical fortress and former prison, world-famous in particular thanks to the novel the Count of Monte Cristo. It is a delight for history lovers who enjoy guided tours all year round. But today we go a little further into the coves of the island of Frioul.
The boat rushes into one of them, and the water becomes clearer and clearer, this is where we will stop. Just enough time to take out our swimsuits and we are all in the water, of an intense turquoise blue color. Some jump from the boat, I prefer to take a scuba mask and admire the dozens of fish swimming with us. INCREDIBLE!
The water is chilly (19 °C ≈ 66° F) because the Mistral (local strong winds) has been blowing for five days, but not enough to discourage us, the place is so magical. The atmosphere on the boat is really like a vacation with music, sun, smiles, all this while obviously respecting social distancing!
One hour has passed, we go to a second spot just as beautiful as the first one. Everybody fully enjoys this place, so close to Marseille but also so cut off from it.
Then we leave in the direction of the ‘Vieux Port’, this time we go on the other side of Château d’If which is bathed by the sun with its most beautiful colors at the end of the afternoon. In the distance, we can see the entire Corniche Kennedy: the Malmousque cove, the Vallon des Auffes… (Boat trips also allow us to discover these places of Marseille in a different way!) Arriving at the entrance of the port, we have a view of many of the city’s must-see monuments. On the right, the Palais du Pharo and the Basilica Notre-Dame de la Garde. On the left, the Mucem linked to Fort Saint-Jean by a footbridge, with the Cathedral of the Major in the distance. A concentrate of the “Phocaean city” at a glance!
Marseille by its geographical position is open to the sea. You understand better why it is as interesting to discover it on land, as it is to take a boat trip and go out to sea.