Sunday, December 16, 2012

Fresh fish and a mysterious yacht in Port Vendres

After a day of strange howling winds that whipped the choppy water away from the beach, moved the barbecue and gas bomba and brought dirt into the house under the sealed windows and shutters, we were glad to see the sun and hear the silence.

We decided to head up the coast to France, passing the naked vines and bright yellow broom on the hillsides. With the two o'clock restaurant deadline looming we stopped in Port Vendres. As we walked along the quay Forgas we could see a mast towering over all the other boats, the Mirabella III. Once seated in the restaurant our server told us that the yacht had been seized because the owners owed 4 million euros on the boat, but the rumours about the boat were rife. After lovely grilled sardines we had a look at the super-yacht, over 40 metres long. It was originally built in Thailand and was so big that elephants were needed to help move the yacht from the boat shed to the water. It was refitted during 2010 and has five luxurious suites on board. It can be yours for over 5 million euros and the price has already dropped by 2 million euros. It can be rented for $90,000 a week. One rumour is that the boat sailed into port and filled up with 30,000 euros worth of fuel that the owners couldn't pay for, causing the douanes -- customs police -- to seize the boat. Apparently the onboard computer has been mysteriously stolen. The boat is registered in Jaluit, a tax free atoll in the Marshall Islands. The mysterious yacht is visible all over the village. It will be interesting to follow the next chapter in its history.

We continued our walk along the quay towards the fish market, passing a number of ocean-going fishing boats as well as some smaller vessels. One part of the market has piles of every kind of fresh shellfish imaginable. The take away section at the back always has something enticing, including the coquilles St. Jacques in a puff pastry vol au vent we bought. The separate fresh fish shop with its huge selection is a treat to visit but deciding what to buy is a challenge. a beautiful piece of sole won the day. Good eating for the next two days.

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