Calanques National Park

43° 12.66' N 05° 27.34' E, Calanques, France

We stocked the boat, filled the tanks and breezed around the corner into the Calanques National park. Established in 2012 the national park stretches between Marseille and Cassis covering over 520 sqkm of which a fifth is coastline and the remaining is marine area. 

During the day the rocks crawl with people making the hike into the calanque to spend the day picnicking, swimming and basking on the rocks. Come dusk however everyone makes their sweaty, salty and steep climb back out and we were left in isolation, somewhat eerie after the buzz of the day. 

We slept soundly the first night at anchor, waking at dawn we grabbed the paddle boards and cruised around the rocks before too many people clambered down from the villages. 

It gets busy fast though and as we paddled close into a bay we came across a young man who had underestimated the depth of the water and overestimated his ability to keep his bag dry above his head, weighed down by 12 cans of lager he was sinking fast, I swept his bag off him just as he started blowing bubbles underwater and popped it on my board. I offered him a lift too but he was happy to swim as long as their goods were delivered safe and dry to land! 

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After lunch we got back on the boards and headed the opposite direction around the point and stumbled across a nudist beach we weren't expecting, nudity is always way more fun when you least expect it right! So, we took our costumes off and did something neither of us had done before ... Naked paddle boarding. 

This place is truly breathtakingly beautiful and I have to say a highlight of our trip so far! I would recommend a mini-trip here in a heartbeat, small boats are available to hire and its easy to anchor because you can see the bottom, glide into a Calanque and stayed for an afternoon, you will re-fill your soul with crystal clear blue water and shiny sunshine. 

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We bunkered down for the night, bow line to anchor and stern line to rocks which was a mistake, a swell came through in the night and because Silver Paws couldn't swing with the swell and we were so close to the rock we spent the entire night worrying about dragging anchor and hitting the rocks. Captain coped with it pretty well, I however got so tired that come our morning cast off I went to move my pineapple plant into the galley, knocked P. Apple off her stem, and promptly burst into tears. I realise how pathetic it sounds crying over a broken houseplant but the sadness was as real to me as the lack of sleep. RIP P. Apple 

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