In the late afternoon we arrived by train from Nice airport to Port Garavan. We got off the train and out to the small station, which is located on a hillside a few hundred meters above the harbor. We went down to the harbor. A little down the steep road, we could see the square at the boat yard,
Heron was still there.
When we reached the harbor, we went to the door in the fence about the yard. It was Sunday. It was closed. Someone had forgotten to lock and the door could be opened when the handle was pressed. We went inside. Past Barbara's Sunday-filled office and out on the square. Heron was in the same place as when we left 4 weeks earlier. We found a ladder and put it up the transom. A few steps up the ladder there was a view of the deck. Screws, fittings and tools were spread on the rear part. As if the work had stopped unexpectedly and suddenly.
Not optimal. But the work was, after all, started.
It is not allowed to stay overnight in the boats on the square. We went to find a hotel.
It wasn't that easy. Spectators of the Formula 1 race in Monaco were utilizing the hotel capacity in the city. Hotel.com reported "complet" for the hotels near the port.
We went to a hotel opposite the yard. The luck was with us. We got a room that had not been offered online.
The next morning we burst into Barbaras office with all our luggage and asked smiling. «What time wil Heron be launched into the water today? »
It was not that easy to get an answer, but we got Giani "le Grand Chef" to promise that Heron would be launched at the end of the day. The rest of the work could easily be done while Heron was in the water, he assured. We then had a place to sleep, he reassured us and, incidentally, he finished, he was a little confused because he thought we should come next week.
We left our luggage at Barbara's office and took the bus to Monaco. Here we strolled around for a few hours. The tribes and the extensive foreclosure set up for the Formula 1 race were being taken down. We drank an Aperol at the cafe de Paris, while we were watching life on the square. Here the rich come to see and be seen. In between, we saw tourists following a guide with a flag and taking photos of themselves and their fellow travelers in the affluent scenery.
One hour before closing time we were back at the yard. Picked up our baggage at the office and sat down on a chair at the table where we had seen the employees keep their breaks.
Working was finishing and Heron had not yet come into the water. We started looking for a hotel. Suddenly something happened. All employees gathered about Heron. Two drove the big crane. Three shifted two anodes. Two painted bottom and one stood and did not do anything at all.
Shortly after, Heron was back in the water and was pulled over to the winter berth.
The next day it suddenly sounded "Are you Danish?" from a man passing by.
We had a long talk with the Dane, who had his boat lying in Menton now in the seventh year.
We talked about the differences in the mentality south and north of the Alps, and he nodded recognizing our problems with the yard.
While we were talking, an employee came by car. He was, he explained, to do the carpentry work while we were away. Our new Danish friend who was fluent in French explained that it was a misunderstanding. We were going to, he told the employee, sail to Italy in 3 days and the work had to be completed before then. Now the employee got busy. At the end of the day, new payrolls were cut and mounted. The mounting of the cleats would someone else take care of, he explained.
There was a long way from Heron to the boat yard. So long that we were worried that Heron would once again quit the yard's work plan.
The next morning we cycled over to the yard, spoke a little with "Le Grand Chef" and cycled back to the Heron. Soon after, two employees joined and mounted the cleats
Also the next two days we cycled in the morning to the yard. Each time, a few employees came over to Heron shortly after.
Thursday afternoon, "le Grand Chef" with a smile could finish work.
Nice to be finished and getting ready to prepare this years sailing.
The first preparation - testing the windlass was not particularly successful.
The windlass would not lock. That meant we could not use the anchor.
Quickly on the bike and over to "Le Grand Chef" to explain the problem. The next morning an employee came. He worked on the windlass for a few hours, finally separated it and cleaned it for salt and gravel.
High fives. The windlass was spinning as if new.
Last preparation was to mount the wind gauge as Walter had raised a man up the mast four weeks ago to dismantle. In Denmark we had replaced a rent on it and had taken it back to Menton.
But the man who had been in the mast had begun to drive a truck instead of being pulled up in masts by Walter.
"So I have to find another," explained Walter.
The next day Diego appeared and told he would come in the afternoon and go to the mast.
Four times, Diego came to promise he came in a few hours before we lost patience and called Pieretek. To him, the Englishman Shaun had recommended us to address when we had told him about our problem with Diego. Next morning, Pieretek came from Brittany. To our great surprise at the agreed time. Pieretek was a smiling, friendly, powerful and close-knit man. He started by giving us a thorough instruction on how to tighten and relax the rope that should hold him. Then he sat down in the chair and ordered us to raise him. He sat completely passive in the chair and left fully to allow us to pull him up. Cross he was heavy. We breathed and moaned while one turned the handle of the lap and another pulled the rope carrying Pieretek. We finally managed to get him to the top. The wind gauge was put in place and we celebrated the good-natured Bretons in safety on the deck.
One hour later, after the 7 1 / 2, we were ready to continue sailing on the Mediterranean.