We do not have much to say about our stop in Marseille, perhaps because our tour of a local fishing village turned out to be a lot more turbulent than expected. It was safe, but we spent a lot of time with a seasickness bag rather than learning about the community or scenery. Nevertheless, here are a few thoughts.

Entering Marseille’s harbor at sunrise.

Sometimes we had the opportunity to enjoy the sunrise as we entered the harbor for our port of call. Marseille, France, for example, provided a very nice view. The weather was deceptively calm, though, as the forecast called for high winds later in the day, and high winds can generate waves..

Our boat was much larger than this, but so were the waves outside the harbor!

The tour boat operators watched the weather closely, knowing that they needed to stay in the harbor if the winds went above a certain level. Small craft advisory? We don’t know what wind velocities triggered the decision, but we were apparently the last tour not to be canceled that morning as the winds continued to rise.

Pilot boat approaching our ship to pick up our pilot.

That evening, back on ship, we noticed this pilot boat approaching. Just as San Francisco Bar Pilots guide ships in and out of San Francisco Bay, our ports of call almost always involved a pilot brought aboard to assist our ship with the currents, hazards, and other peculiarities of each harbor. For some reason the song, “Jesus, Savior, pilot me” comes to mind. Some harbors, like some parts of life, are easy. Others present challenges like tricky currents, hidden rocks, or tight passageways. The map of shipwrecks just outside the Golden Gate would suggest that the hazards are real, and a good pilot can be a lifesaver.

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