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
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.
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