Sunday, 9 October 2011

French Diving Part 1

Only 10 days after I got back to work I was back on holiday again! This time I flew to Nice, to go diving off the south coast of France :) The night before (10th September) I went with G&A to watch Last Night of the Proms... I hadn't realised we were just going to a friend of theirs to watch it on TV. I thought we were actually going to Hyde Park, or somewhere to watch it on a big screen. Towards the end they play a song where everyone waves their Union Jack flag - it felt VERY wrong waving that flag. There weren't enough stars on it! That night I spent the night at Gatwick, as I had an early check-in the next morning. The airport at Nice is directly on the water, and as we were landing it looked like we were just going to land on the water, I couldn't see the runway until we were nearly landed! 

On my walk to Golfe Juan one morning. It's actually about
8.30am, looks a lot earlier though!
Anyway, once I got out of the airport I had to travel to Juan les Pins. I had been given the suggestion of getting a taxi from the airport to Saint Augustine train station, and then catch a train to Juan les Pins from there. Lets just say asking the taxi driver to take me to the train station was a bit of a disaster, but it wasn't helped by the fact that I got the RUDEST taxi driver in the world!! He was huffing and puffing that I only wanted like a 10 min journey, and my French was fail-worthy :( He did, however, cheer up when I payed him - maybe the tip I gave him helped. He didn't really deserve a tip, but I just wanted the guy off my back.

 Once I arrived in Juan les Pins it was a short walk to the hotel. Again my French was fail-worthy and I wasn't quite sure what name my reservation was under, as Alex, from Diving Diamond had sorted all that out. It didn't help that the guy at reception didn't speak much English. Eventually we figured out which room I was staying in, but I had a little bit of a wait before I could have a lie down (remember I had spent the night at the airport). I had a bit of a walk around, and thoroughly enjoyed the warmth and sunshine. I had a bit of a rest once I got back to the hotel, and I remember thinking how tiny the bathroom was. After the rest I had to find my way to Golfe Juan, where I was meeting the guys from Diamond Diving. Alex had told me it was a 30 min walk away.... 45 is more like it!
They sweep the beaches, which I find a bit weird, but leaves
great birdy footprint tracks :)

Boats at Golfe Juan
 After meeting the team at Diamond Diving, it was time for my dive briefing and finally time for the first dive of the course. The first 2 dives were confined water dives, so we were just diving off the beach in water less than 2 m deep.  After that first dive I joined everyone for a drink, and then had a job finding somewhere to eat for dinner. France is an expensive place to eat!! After walking around for about 45mins trying to find somewhere to eat I finally settled on a 16EUR pasta and 5EUR coke (yes, i paid 5 euros for a coke :S). Granted, it was a huge bowl of pasta, but I would have liked to have paid half the price, seeing as it wasn't actually that great, and I only ate half of it! After that first night I started having fruit for breakfast, and my main meal at lunch, joining the Diamond Diving team at their local snack bar. I would then have something small, and cheap from the bakery. That night I went to bed really early, and had a good sleep in, as I didn't have to be in Golfe Juan until 10.30 the next morning. Which, was good, as I need the sleep, and slept like a log all night!!

On the Monday I had just 1 (my last) confined dive, and that was it for the day, as the boat was going in for service (i think!). After lunch I went for a walk into Antibes, on the search for an internet cafe, as I needed to print off something, so I could get my diving licence. It was only about a 20 minute walk into Antibes but by the time I had found an internet cafe, walked along the harbour looking at all the boats, and walked along the seafront, I had been walking for about 3 hrs!!


Fort Carré
Rocky beach
It took me forever to figure out how to get up to
Fort Carré
Look at the colour of the sky!!