Tuesday 19 June (how easy it is to lose track of the days)
Today was lock free – all 45 km of it – and uneventful. It is just so calming to watch the landscape unfold at walking pace. On the way we passed through the Capestang Pont which is the lowest on the canal system in France.
Shortly after was the Malpas Tunnel, one way and 160 metres long.
We cruised through several pretty little villages like Poilhes, Capestang, Argeliers, Le Somail (the junction with the canal going to Narbonne), Ventenac, and Paraza. Argeliers was the place we picked up the Mere Maria, but there was no sign either of her or her owners. Perhaps she’s undergoing repairs to weld the aft stanchions back on …
At Ventenac we paused while Alan went into the local cellar and bought six bottles of a lovely rose we’d enjoyed last time we passed through with the owners of the Mere Maria. I distinguished myself by slipping into the canal up to my knees while mooring and had to have a thorough shower before going on.
It must be foaling season because we passed several horses with their foals alongside.
Then it was over the Pont Canal Repudre, an aquaduct built by Riquet (the visionary designer and builder of the Canal du Midi). Finished in 1676, it was the first canal bridge built in France and reputedly only the second in the world.
We pulled up for the night at Roubia, and were soon followed by a hotel boat which squeezed its way through the narrow gap under the bridge. And just for the record, I steered through my first few bridges today.
Now we’re drinking a glass of another nice rose and eating a fresh goats cheese from the local epicerie. Coincidentally, the wine is called ‘Les pieds dans l’eau’! Tomorrow we face four sets of locks on the way to Homps, so hope we sleep well in preparation.