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Canal du Midi 28 May 2016


1208 : 1010

Up early, and I fetched our croissants from the provision boat on the other side of Le Somail's ancient bridge. The boys from Le Somail (average age=65) were getting ready for a Fete, even though today is grey and wet. 

We pushed out after breakfast, and were pooteling – Emily's word – eastward at 8:25. Right away, we had to negotiate the twists and crowding of the Port de la Robine, a canal intersection complicated by the fact that the Canal passes over a river on its own bridge, the Pont-canal de Cesse. I was glad we were out before most of the boaters were awake.

On the long straight after the junction, Rochelle tried her hand, with some misgivings, at steering the boat.


1209 : 1005
<p>Pont-canal de Cesse over the River Cesse</p>

Pont-canal de Cesse over the River Cesse

1210 : 1003

The Canal winds through wheat fields and vineyards, and is crossed by rural roads and, here, a small highway, the D5, just outside Argeliers. Pooteling along at just over four kilometers per hour, everything goes by slowly – I would say, at a perfect pace. The speed limit on the Canal is 8km/hr, and the big plastic boats push the limit, stirring up a big wake, and calling into question our society's whole obsession with speed. Being able to focus on the lilies and tree trunks and grassy patches beside the canal is (at least so far) endlessly fascinating.  

Bridges are low and narrow, although our narrowboat makes it easy. Steering something 15 meters long and weighing 15 tonnes (it's Brit-made, dontchaknow) sounds fraught, but isn't.

1211 : 999

Here I am calculating how to make our first landing, at le Pont de Croisade, where we were hoping to have lunch at a highly recommended place ... that, disappointingly, turned out to be fully booked for Saturday lunch. There being no alternatives within easy range – we're 12 kilometers from the next likely spot, Capestang, where we mean to be for the Market and lunch tomorrow.

We do have a decent cellphone/wifi connection, and so I'm making my daily entry. We will probably cruise closer to Capestang this afternoon after we finish making the delicious chicken soup we began last evening – screw too-busy Bruno! we'll eat better on our boat.


1212 : 981

We made an awesome chicken soup from the bones and leftovers of a roasted chook we bought in Sète, then went for a little walk along the Canal. When we came back we saw this sign ...and that's our boat (not the big plastic skow, the narrow boat in the distance) moored on the north bank not too far from Bruno's place. 

Back to pooteling, another 10k to a spot just west of Capestang, exactly where we planned to roost. The vineyards and wheat fields stretch into the far distance – this is a fat, flat plain much like California's Central Valley. Good weather (except not today), plenty of water, workable soil. So let's grow the two most important things in life: bread and wine!

1213 : 966

Considerable grandeur along the way. Where did the house that went with those steps go? Now it's barns and warehouses of a winery.


1214 : 936

We roost – well, moor – about 4:30 along an unpopulated bit of canal. One can stop and drive stakes into the bank almost anywhere along the Canal.

Tomorrow – Sunday – there's a morning market in Capestang, about two kilometers on along the Canal. We'll pootle on down there for our lunch and to stock up for future meals.

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