La Poubelle: How God handles the competition: A funny message from The Almighty
A bilingual message from Jean-Marc + Un Petit Accident while preaching

S'Emerveiller: Dolphins in The Bay of La Ciotat

Bay of la ciotat south of france
The breathtaking Bay of La Ciotat. Left: L'Ile Verte (The Green Island). Right: Le Bec de L'Aigle (Eagle's Beak).  Even more beauty and grace dwell beneath the surface of the sea...

Today's Word: s'émerveiller

    : to be amazed
    : to marvel at something

Soundfile: Click here to listen to Jean-Marc read the following French:

Le bonheur pour une abeille ou un dauphin est d'exister, pour l'homme, de le savoir et de s'en émerveiller. The happiness of the bee and the dolphin is to exist. For man it is to know that and to wonder at it. --Jacques-Yves Cousteau

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

Cetaceans in La Ciotat 🐬

After Jean-Marc and I pulled into our driveway, I hopped out of the car and hurried past the fast-approaching chickens (whenever they see me they think "TREATS!"). I was heading straight into Mom's place, to curl up at the end of Jules' bed, beside Smokey, and share with them an unforgettable rencontre.

"Mom, you won't believe what Jean-Marc and I saw this morning! We were motoring through the bay of La Ciotat--advancing so slowly I could have swum faster than the boat! Oh, there must be a word for that kind of slow boating…" as I searched for a term Mom answered, as quick as a contestant on Family Feud:


"Trawling!" I said, impressed Mom knew the word. In return, I received an eye roll from Jules, who never ceases to be amazed at how I underestimate her knowledge in a particular area (like Mediterranean saltwater boat angling? Hmmm.)

La pêche à la traîne

That's it, he was trawling...or doing la pêche à la traîne, as he calls it, using his new fishing pole. And this time I was in charge of steering la barquette, via the long wooden lever, le gouvernail, on the back of the boat. I was aiming straight for Ile Verte, just as Jean-Marc instructed me to do...when something up ahead jumped out of the water!

The next time it leaped I clearly saw an aileron. Les requins ont les ailerons. Sharks have fins, I thought. Jean-Marc who was busy placing his leurre on his pole dropped his equipment when he realized we were in the rare company of les dauphins !

There were two and they were leaping out of the water par-ci par-là. Even swimming under our boat! Finally, the pair swam côte-à-côte,  porpoising along the sparkling surface of the sea. It was magical, rare and beautiful! Un vrai spectacle!

"Why didn't you dive in? Mom questioned, "The dolphins would have swum with you!"

Eh oui! Pourquoi je ne l'ai pas fait? All I can say is, bonne question! Maybe I was afraid that when they saw me, they'd think "TREATS!" 

I leave you with a video of the dolphins we saw. Wait until the very end, where you will see them jump out of the water at least three times. To view the video, click the center of the image below. If you can't view it here, see it on my Instagram page.


s'émerveiller = to be amazed, spellbound, struck 
la rencontre = encounter
la barquette = small boat, little boat
le gouvernail = rudder, tiller
Île Verte = The Green Island
un aileron = fin
le requin = shark
le leurre = bait, lure
le dauphin = dolphin
par-ci par-là = here and there
côte-à-côte = side by side
la bonne question = good question
Pourquoi je ne l'ai pas fait? = why didn't I do it?
The two dolphins we saw very near our boat. In the background, the hills near the seaside towns of Les Lecques and St Cyr-sur-Mer.

Max wakeboarding bay of la ciotat
Our son Max, wakeboarding in the Bay of La Ciotat.

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Thanks for sharing that, Kiristi, it was beautiful.

Lynn Risser

Lovely essay, great ending. Thanks.


Magnifique! Nature is so amazing.....or scourging to JM, Mother Nature is Awesome 😎he is right!


According to .....not scourging. Sorry hit “post” too early!

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks, Lynn!

Kristin Espinasse

No worries, Amber. Been there. 😂.

Suzanne Dunaway

What magical moments of your morning! I have always wanted to swim with dolphins!🐬🐬

Deborah Frost

Wonderful! Especially with the techno "soundtrack" on Instagram version-- very avant garde! : )


Beautiful! Magnifique!

 Cathia Gantz

You are chugging along in a little skiff, filled with excitement seeing dolphins. Yet you take a video shot that is as steady as if the camera/phone were on a tripod on granite. Amazing girl!

Chris Allin

Dear Kristi,
Sheer bliss ~ the soothing view, the deep blue sparkling water, possibly fresh caught fish for dinner and now playing with dolphins. Life has brought you to a most magnificent place...

Christine Webb-Curtis

What a gift! Thanks for sharing.

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristi,
I LOVE the video and the quote from Jacques Cousteau! Looks like a beautiful day to be out on the water!
Nature is so magical!
Bon weekend!

Kristin Espinasse


Linda Darsie

Decades ago my husband was in the bay off of Staten Island, NY, USA, where we lived at the time, in his 16' sailboat. He saw something floating in the water at some distance, so he sailed over to get a better look. Sailboats are very quiet, so he got about five feet away from it. It was an adult sea turtle, sunning itself on the surface! Its head was partially out of the water. It finally realized that something was nearby, opened its eyes, and all but "screamed" in surprise! It would've if it could've!!! Then it dove into the depths.... I wished that I had been out with him that day.

Ellen A.

Delightful! What more could one want out of life?


I love seeing dolphins - how fun for you! We see them a lot when we go to Destin, Florida. We also saw them in Cozumel, Mexico and paid to go swimming with them, they also pushed us along through the water with their noses. Thanks for sharing the video - lived the dolphins and seeing Jean with the boat! Cheers!


Great moment! Thanks for sharing....


Love the ocean - thank you for this post and video. Nancy


This video and post brought me much joy today. Merci mille fois.

Judith Dunn

.... what a wonderful story.... the dolphin video was fabulous, well done! You barquette will bring you to many more adventures! We all await them! Meanwhole, bon weekend! Judi


They say dolphins bring good luck. J'espere qu'ils portent de la bonne chance pour toi et ta famille, Kristi!

Janine Cortell

Out here in the Pacific Northwest we see Orcas and every time it is such a wonderful moment. The ocean is full of magnificent creatures. Thank you for sharing your dolphins with us. The video is beautiful.


Love dolphins. They are my water totem. We see them here in our bay playing in the waves sometimes.

Gail V

My very favorite part of this wonderful story was at the beginning. When you said you'd curl up at the end of your mom's bed with Smokey. That image brought such desire to my soul to be with those we love so much and are so comfortable with that we can totally relax in mind and body. Bless you.


Wow! What a great experience. Tu as de la chance!

Natalia Radula

Our dear Kristi,
This is nothing short of a kiss from heaven,and something so beautiful to give us the momentum to keep going on this long road to normalcy(whatever that might be now).
Such gorgeous nature is God's gift to you.We so appreciate sharing with us.What a splendid day.I am sure you put it in your special journal to remember in the future(mine,alas,has become rather lackadaisical).
Blessings always
Natalia. Xo

Kristin Espinasse


Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Teresa. I did not know that.

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Natalia. 💕 Wishing you and everybody here a lovely weekend. 


Bonjour, Kristin,
Ton œil 👁 pour le moment spécial m’étonne!
Et comme les autres ont dit, voue avez gagné de plus
et de plus votre techniques électroniques. Félicitations 🎉 !


What a lovely, uplifting post, Kristi! Thank you!


Bonjour Kristi! We met on the beach after your swim one day 2 years ago...I was traveling with my son and his family and staying in La Ciotat for a few days. You were very kind to walk with me to your local grocery.

I have sailed the seven seas with my dear departed husband and to sailors, a dolphin sighting is a sign of good luck. The beautiful creatures will follow and play with your boat...and, your Mother was right...they are very friendly and will swim with you if you join them in the water. Stay well, God will get us through this. He's bigger
Than the wretched covid! K.


So much love (with Jules) and wonder with (JM). A heart full day! Beautiful!! I’d say you are living a full and loving life. I’m happy for you!

Karen Cafarella



What a beautiful experience that must have been! I have yet to see dolphins where we live. Many others say that they see them often, but I haven't yet had that pleasure. Note to self: Make more time to head to the beach to marvel at its beauty, and you just might be rewarded in an unexpected way.

Kristin Espinasse

Good to hear from you, Kris. 💕

Kristin Espinasse


Paul Bowers

It's easy to love dolphins--they seem to have such a joie de vivre! It's hard to find anyone who doesn't like them. It reminds me of the silly show I used to watch when I was a kid--does anyone remember "Flipper?" (I just dated myself.) FYI you left out the "l" on dolphins in your blog title.

Kristin Espinasse

Hi Paul, Flipper! Bien sûr ! Je me souviens. And thanks for the missing l. On my way to fix it now.

Virginia A. Ward

Hi Kristi,
Great story. We live on the water in Florida where dolphins are a common sighting. However, I still get excited every single time I see them and will stop any activity to track them as they hide and reappear in the waters. Truly one of God’s gifts to us. So glad you saw them. We sure are missing France this year!
All the best! Virginia


Beautiful! Brings back memories of a time in the Sea of Cortez north of San Felipe when my sister and I had walked out and the sand flats to the water and when we were waist deep found ourselves surrounded by dolphins swimming around us in a circle. It was a truly magical moment I will never forget. It was as if the world had gone still and time stopped.


Hi Kristi,

I learned that trolling while fishing is putting out a line while the boat is moving slowly. My dad was a big fisherman and we would go fishing each summer in Northern Ontario, Canada, when I was a kid. I also learned when I went surf casting in the Gulf of Mexico with my dad that dolphin sightings are a indication that there must be fish out in the water as the dolphins are no doubt fishing themselves. Did JM catch anything?

I love your postings about the ocean. You are lucky to live so close to the water.



I bet Jules was saying “trawl” not “ troll”

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Leslie! Yes, that is what she said. Thanks for your help in spelling the word--off to update the post.

Jeanine Woods

Le film des dauphins est un cadeau que vous avez partagé avec nous. Merci, et maintenant nous pouvons s'en émerveiller. La nature est vraiment bon pour l'âme


K. J. Laramie

Dolphins, liberation, freedom...
An intimate, yet vast, view!
You continue to spoil us with your talent. Gorgeous video, great post! With much appreciation for your artistic eye and beautiful soul ...

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, K.J.! I am in a writing slump at the moment and your words are uplifting. 💕


The next time you are close to the dolphins, knock on the outside of the boat. Most likely the curious dolphins will swim over to check out the noise.

Robbie Lane

It was such a treat to see the dolphins, and Paul Bowers reminded me why I loved the sea so much, to start with, “Flipper” and “Sea Hunt.“ Recently saw two dolphins in the Sound, (ICW), while crossing the bridge from Emerald Isle over to Cape Cartaret/Swansboro, NC, Southern Outer Banks. Wind has been gale force. Lovely, but high 90s. Hope the European ban against the US will be lifted so we can come back to France. We don’t blame them one bit. We had planned that for this yr. Hope you’re having good luck with your continuing chapters, and the wine. Feel better soon from the tumble and much love to you and your Mom and the big lovely dog. Big Congrats to your hubby. Robbie Lane

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