Kayaking in Marseille

There are so many different ways to discover the Parc National des Calanques.
Today, I’m trying my hand at kayaking. Used to paddle boarding, I was already familiar with paddling. Sitting down this time, kayaking was a good way of approaching the sea in a different way. After a morning coffee, my friend Aurore and I set off for the Calanque des Goudes.
Bright sunshine, ideal sea, morning breeze. All the ingredients were in place for a moment’s seafaring adventure.

Published on 2 March 2024
Philipine Ladouce
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Departure from Les Goudes

We’re lucky to have an early start, so we can enjoy the calm and beauty of Les Goudes in the early hours of the morning.
Our guides, Romuald and Alexis, present us with our boats for the morning and we take them down to the beach with them, accompanied by the other kayakers for the day. The advantage of this type of activity is that you get to meet people from all walks of life.

On the Maronnaise beach, we all stand in a circle, paddles in hand, and Romuald explains a few basics before we get into the water. It’s obviously very important to wear a lifejacket, as we’re going out into the open sea. They also provide us with a skirt to prevent water from entering the kayak. Once we had all the information we needed, we could get into the water.

After a little manoeuvre to get into the kayak safely, we settled into the kayak in pairs with Aurore.
And off we go, synchronised in our movements towards the open sea. Right, left, right, left… We found our balance and sailed towardsthe islands of the national park. We’re already spotting some animal species…

On the open sea

The conditions are ideal. The water is a little cool due to the Mistral over the last few days, but the sea still welcomes us. We sailed out to sea in our sea kayaks and skirted the first coasts where we could still see a little life. Then we were left to our own devices and had to paddle to the next point, far from any habitation. Suddenly, behind a point and a few waves, a magnificent landscape opens up before us. The Riou archipelago and the Callelongue semaphore.

It was an unforgettable moment, as we had the chance to see the back of Ile Maïre for the first time in our respective lives. On this island, where it is forbidden to dock, we see bunkers. Romuald describes the connection between the various bunkers we see. Inside the island, everything communicates.
Faced with this impressive island, we are also interested in the depth of the seabed. How many metres do you think separated us from the bottom?

Romuald explains that back in 1967, there were cabins that allowed you to take a trip underwater. Imagine an underwater cable car… This jewel was called the telescaphe and allowed you to show off your diving diploma without even getting wet. The activity no longer exists today, despite a few projects being discussed in the 90s…Marine culture gives Marseille a strong identity. In this bay and through the anecdotes of our guide, we relive past moments brought up to date during this aquatic escapade.

Did you know?

There is an underwater canyon that descends 1 kilometre into the abyss. As a result, we can frequently observe rare marine species. This is the Cassidaigne Trough.

The last crossing

One, two, three, and four, paddle strokes. The tour of the island ends with the discovery of the Baie des Singes, and we gradually return to the hustle and bustle of Marseille.
The water is an intense, clear blue and we can see the seabed. The Baie des Singes is magnificent and we’ve come to admire it from another angle. This place is exceptional.

On the way back, we came across a group of divers. We had to be careful, as our visibility was a little reduced with the kayak. We kept far enough away from them to avoid any collisions.
We also come across snokerlers scouring the waters for fish and other marine life to spot.
We continued paddling until we reached our destination, rediscovering the landscapes we had seen at the start of our trip in a different light.

By the time we reached land, it was 12.30 pm. We’d spent the morning observing and admiring this unique place, which some people call the ‘end of the world’. We wash up on the beach with the same shared thoughts and smiles on our faces: how lucky we are to live in Marseille, its heritage has so much to offer us, on land and at sea.

Official website of the Tourist Office of Marseille