I’ll admit it: I had set out that morning to swim at the Calanque d’En-Vau, not the Calanque de Port Pin. In my mind, Port Pin was only to be a brief staging post on the way to the more celebrated destination. But then I got walking, and the mercury was rising––my visit coincided with France’s worst heatwave––and Port Pin was virtually deserted, and the green water just looked so cool and inviting that I was overcome by an irresistible urge to strip off and swim.
And I am so glad that I did. Port Pin may not boast such spectacular, steep cliffs as En-Vau but, for bathing, it is more leafy and secluded, less crowded, and generally a more intimate experience.
The place is named after the many pine trees, which provide welcome shade along the rocky banks of the inlet and that dapple the clear waters with their ever-changing pattern of shadows. And it is beneath one of these trees where I find a private place to change into my swimsuit, favouring the natural pine-needles and stones beneath my feet in preference to the man-made stone terraces––or restanques––at the extremity of the calanque, which exude a slightly too public, “look at me” vibe.
I have forgotten to pack flip-flops in my daypack, and so I am forced to endure the discomfort of a short walk across sharp shingle to the water’s edge; torture to sensitive souls/soles, like me.
However, once in the water, the bed is sandy; the water is refreshingly cool; and I disperse a small shoal of five decent-sized fish with my first stroke. Along the entire length of the calanque I am rarely out of my depth, and I just lie on my back and float lazily, enjoying the view provided by the narrow fjord: blue sky; green trees; and silver-grey rock, only too glad to be semi-sheltered from the intense ferocity of the mid-morning sun.
Oh, and I did I mention that I saw a wild boar? No? Well, it sounds like someone jolly well needs to read my last post: When Warning Signs are Not a Bore.
© E. C. Glendenny
E. C. Glendenny only wishes she had packed flip-flops.