Canal du Midi – Holiday Report – Sunday & Monday

Holiday report Canal du Midi, from Carnon Plage (Montpellier) to Homps (single voyage): 140 km, 17 locks, 25 operational engine hours, 4 persons on board + mascot dog Ella (team Holidayboat.net-Vakantieboot.nl)

midi-3Next morning we stopped over there to lay in forgotten provisions.
Just in time as it was on a Sunday and the local dwarf size supermarket closed at 12 hours 30.
It was a feast for the eyes to see how quickly All Hands On Deck Ryanne and Ferry learnt the handling of the ropes.
Quite a relief for Greet who was not keen on ropes, hard embankments and lively water.

The weather was hot and we walked 1500 metres over the connecting dike and along the road that lead to the beach and the sea marina of Frontignan Plage.
A bath resort similar to many at the Languedoc coast, mostly low new weekend houses, apartments, restaurants and shops.
The beach itself consisted out of sand and rocks and we had a pleasant swim in crystal clear water.

Very salty to Ferry’s opinion, after having taken an unintended sip.
Marcot doggy Ella took a dive into the Mediterranean to fetch a stick that she decided to bury into a self-dug hole in the beach.

Our bathing gear dried in no time while wearing it under the burning sun and we had a lunch on the terrace of a typical almost-on-the-beach restaurant.
Boiled Mussels (Moules Marinières), salad in spicy dressing and a lot of French fries and mayonnaise for the deck crew.
I regaled myself on a decanter of local rosé wine.

midi-4Later in the afternoon we navigated by Sète to the Étang de Thau, 6 x 14 kms. large. Here are the largest oyster-banks of Southern France.
Here sometimes the wind can blow mercilessly but this day we had real Sunday weather and Ferry and Greet took over the wheel.
Our daily e-mail had to be handled, just like as in the office but this time by laptop computer and gprs mobile phone/modem.

On the Internet I happened to come across a nice website on the area we visited: http://www.home.zonnet.nl/Mouringh.Marga/Midi2001/Midi1_eng.htm

We navigated up to the entrance of Marseillan harbour Marseillan and drifted about for a while.

As it appeared to be too busy over there we decided to sped the night at les Onglous, just south of the small lighthouse. We paid a small harbour fee and took in water.

midi-5Now we had entered the Canal du Midi…..Paul Riquet started in 1681 with this life-work to connect the Mediterranean with the Atlantic Ocean.

Next morning we navigated a short distance and stopped in the Canal near Marseillan Plage.
It was only a half hours walk to the beach by a busy road and we had to keep a short line on Ella.

The village is not very authentic but luckily consist out of low buildings. The atmosphere is cosy. (we knew Marseillan Plage already form earlier vacations)
For fans of mussels and other seafood there are payable restaurants and clothes are cheap. A well known tailor is Mr.Philppe Rutovic, a vigorous septuagenarian who already has a boutique “Gazoline” for many years at l’Airette 51, at the village’s entrance.
He still is a real tailor and in winter the shop is closed as then he makes his new collection for the following season. Greet succeeded with a nice bikini and Ryanne too left the shop with a full shopping-bag.

midi-6The beach was reasonably quiet and we took a glorious dive into the Mediterranean Sea.
Back aboard we navigated to Agde. We met the fist locks and the most impressive was the round Agde lock, very near to one of our rental bases. In Vias we went shopping and we had to carry everything for one kilometre…o how we missed a bicycle with luggage carrier! This village has a large amusement park but when we navigated along everything seemed to be peace and quiet.

Late in the afternoon we put our landing/pens into the grass of les Poilhés. We cooked aboard and after a cosy evening we blissfully entered our berths

These berths were much more comfortable than we expected when we saw the twin mattresses that were thinner than we were used to.
Yet every morning we were perfectly fit, without cramps or pain in the back.