The Foudroyant

After a long trip in a small wagon car across the salt marshes to Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône, we came to a rusty old trawler listing to one side, called the Foudroyant. After a short conversation with the captain about the terms of my crossing, my father fled, surrounded by a cloud of mosquitoes. I was assigned an iron cabin on the aft deck. I hung my suitcase and bicycle from metal rings attached to the ceiling. There were rats everywhere and it was a good idea if I wanted to protect the leather saddle and tires. Two days later, the Foudroyant, loaded with sea salt and wine, headed for the open sea. The captain had had me sign a paper releasing the Chalutier Malouin company from all liability in case of… We hugged the Spanish Coast, passed through the Strait of Gibraltar in a storm, and then broke down for 48 hours. The ship’s engineer, with admirable foresight, had laid in a stack of bronze and copper bars, and spent his time running from one end of the boat to the other with bits of machinery he had to repair by hand.

The Foudroyant. Credit: Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône, sketch, June 1948
The Foudroyant. Credit: Sketch, June 1948
The Spanish Coast. Credit: Sketch, June 1948