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ParaScubaSailor 8:01pm, 2 January 2007
2007/01/01 - Lundi 1er Janvier.

Bon, ben voilà, on y est arrivé à 2007, il suffisait d'être patient.

Mon année commence par une annonce, c'est maintenant officiel, je ne renouvelle pas mon contrat de travail, donc à partir de fin Avril, je suis libre (tout au moins de ce côté là).

Je pars faire un petit tour à la voile dans l'océan Indien. Première étape, Afrique du Sud - Madagascar...

Ca s'arrose:
Cooling down

Plus de détails sur un Blog qui va garder une trace de ce périple.
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ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-11-05 - Lundi 5 novembre.

Busy week ahead. Last week, when I met Tal in Lausanne, there were two of her friends with us, and one of them was Olivier. He works for an Oceanographic company, and I've decided to augment my range of possible work by obtaining a professional diving qualification. I figure there are too many young people getting qualified as diving instructors, and prepared to work for free (or almost for free) so working as a professional diver might be a bit more profitable. The course starts on the 12th of November (next monday), until the 23rd, so I only have one week to get everything lined-up...

With all the rushing around, I only get a chance to take a pic in the late afternoon, when I put my feet up in front of a good French BD, une bande dessinée, by Enki Bilal.

ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-11-06 - Mardi 6 novembre.

A trip to the newly renovated public library lets me bring back two books that weren't available for borrowing previously:

Explosante fixe...
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-11-07 - Mercredi 7 novembre.

Too rushed in a day too grey... No photo for today. :-(
ParaScubaSailor Posted 11 years ago. Edited by ParaScubaSailor (member) 11 years ago
2007-11-08 - Jeudi 8 novembre.

Nothing to feature yesterday, but two photogenic events today: a typical winter flight from Très-le-Mont, and a piano concert in the evening in Geneva.

The morning sky is clear, and I can see the cold front arrive from the North. After lunch I rush to Orcier, but there's nobody at the landing site so I go to Très-le-Mont on my own. I get kitted up quickly, as the weather system is approaching. The flight in itself far from the best I've had in the area, but the autumn colours make it worthwhile.

Cold front

Instead of going all the way to the landing terrain, I land just outside the village. I fold my wing and go to the townhall to leave my back-packwith the secretary while I hitch-hike back to fetch my bike. I get a ride to Le Col du Feu and then walk the rest of the way.

Later that afternoon, I join Gisèle to go to Geneva. The Club des Arts de Genève organises Les Jeudis du Piano, a series of concerts featuring young pianists, and today we admire the Italian Irène Veneziano playing pieces by Granados, Prokofiev, Ravel, Liszt and Chopin.

Life's very good...
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-11-09 - Vendredi 9 novembre.

Another day spent rushing. One of the places I rushed to was the médiathèque to return the CDs I have, as I will be away for two weeks.
One of the new CDs I borrow is "Explosante-fixe" by Pierre Boulez... Coïncidence? Serendipity?
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-11-10 - Samedi 10 novembre.

Show me the money...

Show me the money!

In the words of Douglas Adams in a speech not enough known (in my opinion),

Money is a completely fictitious entity, but it's very powerful in our world; we each have wallets, which have got notes in them, but what can those notes do? You can't breed them, you can't stir fry them, you can't live in them, there's absolutely nothing you can do with them that's any use, other than exchange them with each other - and as soon as we exchange them with each other all sots of powerful things happen, because it's a fiction that we've all subscribed to. We don't think this is wrong or right, good or bad; but the thing is that if money vanished the entire co-operative structure that we have would implode, but if we were all to vanish, money would simply vanish too. Money has no meaning outside ourselves, it is something that we have created that has a powerful shaping effect on the world, because its something we all subscribe to.

I couldn't have said it better, but I think Douglas Adams did not foresee the diminishing value of that representation. Barter is regaining its original appeal, while money is loosing it. Wealth is now understood to include things money can't buy, and if money can't buy it, it means money is worthless. Economy is a misnomer, it should be called waste...
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-11-11 - Dimanche 11 novembre.

Travel time. I catch the train to get to my brother's place in Toulon, as the diving course is starting tomorrow. Trains in France are wonderful and quick, providing you're traveling to or from Paris. Any trip that originates or ends in a place different from the capital is a pain...

[Photo to be added later]
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-11-12 - Lundi 12 novembre.

I get up early as I join the flow of commuters from Toulon to Marseille. The diving school is situated close to Le Vieux Port, and I get there at just the planned time.

The first session, as expected, is to meet the team from the school and the other candidates. We'll be working together for the next two weeks and there is a very interesting spread of people from all walks of life.

The next two weeks are going to be fun...
[Photo to be added later]
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-11-13 - Mardi 13 novembre.

I avoid the trip by public transport as Lionel, also a candidate on the course, lives in Hyères, the town close to Toulon, and he kindly offered to give me a lift to and from my brother's place on his way to Marseille. We chat in the car as we have to spend over an hour in the traffic and I discover he was a scuba-diving instructor in New Caledonia a while back. He has great stories to tell that make the wait in the traffic jams more bearable.

We get to Marseille in time to get kitted up for the first dive of the course, the one that we would have done the previous day had the weather been more cooperative...


We're glad to get back to shore and hot showers afterwards as the water is at about 13C on the surface, and this first dive was at 42m, compressing the wetsuits to a thickness where they loose most of their isolation properties.

I decide to try my dry suit on the next dive.
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-11-14 - Mercredi 14 novembre.

The weather is not cooperating today either. The Mistral is blowing, peaking at over 80km/h so we spend the day doing theory. On the first day, we grabbed sandwiches from a shop around the corner, but from the second day on, we cook meals in the kitchenette next to the lecture room. We have a lot more fun that way, enjoy much better food at a lower cost, and even save time...

Today, Tal regales us.

ParaScubaSailor Posted 11 years ago. Edited by ParaScubaSailor (member) 11 years ago
2007-11-15 - Jeudi 15 novembre.

Still crappy weather. We spend the whole day doing theory. We're getting slightly worried as this means we'll have to fit all the dives in next week.

We manage to step outside for a few minutes to practice the victim transport during the rescue session, but stay on dry land.

We have a lot of fun fooling with Annie the rescue doll and her interchangeable faces, but at the same time get through the theory essentials.

Rescue session

Later that afternoon, the snow starts falling. Snow in Marseille in November! That's an event few locals remember seeing...

Lionel decides he's not riding back home tonight, and I feel he's making the right decision. I get a room in the same hotel as Tal, l'hôtel Richelieu. It's a two star hotel, with all the rooms featuring hand-painted decorations and a wonderful, friendly service. I highly recommend it: 55€ per night for a sea-view, it's good value for money, in my opinion. We go for a meal to a very nice cove within walking distance of the hotel, in Le Vallon des Auffes. The restaurant is called "Chez Jeannot", and we spend the evening catching up on old news...
ItinerArts Posted 11 years ago. Edited by ItinerArts (member) 11 years ago
It's not a good value these days for those with US$! Fortunately, I'm paid in Euros. (I'll note the recommendation-- thanks.)

CollardGreens PRO 11 years ago
As always your stories of adventure bring out the wanderlust in me ! I agree with you that more should be done in the way of barter - we use it here in Paris in our quartier...I like trading things with the wine store especially ! The owner has 3 young daughters that are taking glesh lessons from us - we trade the lessons for wines ! THAT is the way to do it ! We also trade for fruit from a local fruit stand as he has a young son (glesh too), the restaurant owner below the apartment (2 sons - glesh). In fact most of our trades are for help with english - for us it is easy and for them it is nearly free - good stuff.

I looked at the link for the hotel - I love the TV covers -
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
Barry, for a change, those with US$ feel the pinch. Good that you're paid in Euros...

Ted, I should have known you had good bartering skills. Good for you (and your co-barterers)...
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-11-16 - Vendredi 16 novembre.

Very pleasant start of the day, with a view on the sea from the room at the hotel Richelieu:

panorame at dayrise

I have a leasurely breakfast: it's a good alternative to spending an hour on the road...

We take advantage of the weather break to have a morning dive. The rest of the day is spent in the classroom and we end the week a bit happier. A major cloud on our horizon, though, the weather forecast for next week is not good at all....
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-11-17 - Samedi 17 novembre.

I start my day with a relaxed huge tea, and then walk my niece to school. Then with my nephiew Adrien, we go shopping for some diving equipment. I need new gloves and hood, and a few accessories.

Hôtel du Port

Later, I drop him in town for a meeting and proceed on my own to the market. The choice of local vegetables is wonderful and, as usual, I end up buying far too many olives. I just can't walk past a bench of nicely lined-up assortment of olives without buying some.
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-11-18 - Dimanche 18 novembre.

Family day, crowned with a game of Monopoly (where I promptly loose).

Dragonhide 11 years ago
You lost cause monopoly is in US$ (or is it? there's themed monopoly all over the place now)

Like Ted, your adventures fill me with wanderlust... Excellent adventures!

I hope the weather improves for you and your diving!

Speaking of weather, we have tornado watches in my area.. ugh.
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
Tim, good assumption, but the Monopoly we used is the Euro edition (I think it came out in the year 2000) and the "street names" are actually European Capitals (the most expensive, just before Start is Paris...)
It's the first time I play in years, my last game was probably well over thirty years ago! I heard on radio recently that there's a new edition hitting the shops in time for the silly season, and Hasbro had an online vote open to all to elect the towns and villages that should see their names on the board. A lot of people voted for the village of Montcuq (Montcuq is pronounced the same as Mon Cul, which translates to "My Ass"), but Hasbro chickened out...
The weather has not been too good, but we managed another dive this morning, and we wrote the exam this afternoon so we'd be available for a dive tomorrow morning, as the weather forecast is quite good for our last day on the course.

Tornadoes! Better get used to them, you're gonna get many more in the years to come...
We have earthquakes.

I used to play Monopoly when I was a kid with my sisters. I always lost.
CollardGreens PRO 11 years ago
HA ! I know that building from 17NOV ! Can't remember when I was there but I was there all the same. Hope you passed the exam and the dive will be calm and clear....
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-11-19 - Lundi 19 janvier.


Everything in "modern" life is regulated by legal texts.


ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-11-20 - Mardi 20 janvier.

Food plays an important part in life. Napoleon used to say "Une armée marche sur son estomac", and wherever I go, I always make sure the troops are fed "properly", even when they're not "my" troops ;-)

During this course, one of the elements that contributed greatly to the team spirit was that everybody contributed, mostly by taking turns spontaneously to cook, shop and wash the dishes. The instructors even remarked on it at the end of the course, we are the team with whom they've had the most fun...

ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-11-21 - Mercredi 21 janvier.

The weather is still uncooperative, so we "dive" in the decompression chamber. Despite the seriousness and rigorous procedures, there is always a lot of laughter when diving in the chamber. The sound effects are hilarious, even on air, and we took advantage of the several descents to experiment.

Entering the decompression chamber
A lot of fun was had by all.
ParaScubaSailor Posted 11 years ago. Edited by ParaScubaSailor (member) 11 years ago
2007-11-22 - Jeudi 22 novembre.

We write the exam. The weather forecast seems to indicate we might have a chance of diving on Friday, so we make sure we unclutter our schedules by writing the exam one day early. We're quite unlikely to learn any more in one day anyway. And it also give us the opportunity to go out and celebrate on the last night we're all in the area.

The starter is "Foie gras grillé avec figues, miel et corriandre".


We don't have the results of the exam, yet, but we still have a merry time. Alea jacta est...
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-11-23 - Vendredi 23 novembre.

We were right to keep our schedule free for today. The wind is very light, the sun is shining, so as we get to the training center, we busy ourselves with the preparations for the dive. There is real work to be done, blasting some sand off a wreck sitting in 50m of water. The planning is quite involved, and it takes us a long time to get ready.
All in all, it was well worth it as we get to do one of the essential dives of the course and clear a substantial part of the timbers. The wreck is close to 2000 years old, and there are plenty of amphorae scattered around.

The frustration of having to spend more time in decompression than the duration of the dive itself is mitigated by playing with the camera while awaiting...


Oh, and in the afternoon we get the results of the exam: everybody passed.
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-11-24 - Samedi 24 novembre.

One of the pleasures of "being home" is to go to the local public library to listen to old favorites.

My favorite pianist is Keith Jarrett, and I never tire of the recordings of his early solo concerts.


I discovered Arvo Pärt about two years ago, and I keep getting mesmerised by his music.

Talking of mesmerising, I find the second movement of Ravel's piano concerto in G particularly suitable for meditation. To the point where I can play it over and over continuously and enter some kind of trance. Ever heard it?

It's so nice to have a life where there are so many talented people around...
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-11-25 - Dimanche 25 novembre.

The weather is quite nice in the valley, but we can guess the sun is shining even stronger at altitude, so I go mountaineering with my brother.

We take the snowshoes, but they remain strapped to the backpack. The little snow at the top is not even worth getting the shoes on.

Our hunch was spot on, and we can see the cloud layer thickening while we bask in the sunshine. We encounter a chamois:


He's lucky all we shoot is pictures, a hunter would have had a trophy today...

In the afternoon, I take a walk in the woods with Gisèle, but we come back without bird pictures. I do ssome testing of my flash on the tele-lens, and I'm quite pleasantly surprised by the result.

Life's wonderful...
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-11-26 - Lundi 26 novembre.

Lots of things to get done. I spend most of the morning phoning around to try and get a seat on a first aid course.

Late in the afternoon, I go to my friend Alex to get some photo equipment I lent him, and we have a celebratory drink:

Relaxing conversation...

Life's good.
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-11-27 - Mardi 27 novembre.

I spend the afternoon in Geneva to sort out some papers, renew the CD collection from the public library and have lunch with Maria.

I was planning on staying the evening to attend the Geneva Flickr meeting, but need to rush back to finalise some arrangements for the first aid course.

The weather in Geneva was rather stunning and I was very distracted on the road by the view of the sun setting on Mont-Blanc.

friuduric 11 years ago
Arvo Part -- yes, I learned of him about a year or so ago, in an interview I heard with Alexander McCall Smith (author of "The Ladies Detective Agency" etc). The bit they played was wonderful. I haven't been able to find a recording at our local library, though.

Pass some of that pasta salad (if my eyes don't deceive me on the 11-20 photo) this way, won't you please?

Adventures on Sabbatical
CollardGreens PRO 11 years ago
If I were "Oliver" I would ask for more "Foie gras grillé avec figues, miel et corriandre" please !! Good to see you passed the test and for certain, without a doubt - Life is good !
Loca.... 11 years ago
Beautiful shots. Have to come again soon, so much to catch up.
Your daughter is gorgeous, by the way.
RobW_ PRO 11 years ago
You must have been posting under my radar for the last month or two, lots for me to catch up on, all very interesting.
CollardGreens PRO 11 years ago
Hello Daniel...passing through and wishing for you a Happy Holiday and year end. I have enjoyed your postings (and adventures) over the past year...I do hope we can meet up again ...perhaps in Lausanne at the flickr meeting...anyway - Happy Holidays -
BellaGaia PRO 11 years ago
PSS -- you are one of the group's adventurers that I've lived vicarously through this year -- I've enjoyed your words and images all year. Happy Holidays to you and your family!
2007-11-23 - Vendredi 23 novembre

Love that shot!!!!!

I am back sweetie!
Dragonhide 11 years ago
I always get hungry and thirsty when I come to visit you here... for food, drink AND adventures! :)
Happy New Year.

Miss you but I know you are off having adventures.
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