May 2009 Cruising the Canal du Midi

Cruising from Carcassonne to Villeneuve les Beziers

Captain John

Captain John back in Carcassonne awaited my return, he was so pleased to see me back again. John enjoyed being on his own for a week, entertained well by our friends in the port, thoroughly looked after. It was so nice to be back in his waiting arms.

A new hat (a present to John this month from Denise). John enjoyed getting the boat ship shape for our forth coming cruise to the Mediterranean and some beach days.

Our friends, Linda & Alwyn joined us on the first part of our journey. A visit to old cite of Carcassonne first, though it was a very windy day.

We enjoyed lovely weather for our cruise. The Canal du Midi, was not too busy not as many hire boats as usual for this time of year one lock keeper said.

Alwyn, Linda, John & myself in the cite of Carcassonne (windy cite)

It was a pleasure sharing part of our journey with Alwyn & Linda, especially The Canal du Midi - a wonder of the engineering world they thought. We enjoyed shade from the distinctive lines of plane trees which we needed for the hot weather this month.

We were unable to go very far in the boat during their four day stay, we cruised from Carcassonne to Marseillette, good to have excellent crew members aboard, they soon picked up the rope skills needed. John cycled back for our car, so we could visit the surrounding country side.

Cruising and visiting places

We enjoyed a feast of a week together, some good walks in the countryside too. We continued to cruise on when Alwyn & Linda left us. We did managed to pack in much during their stay with us.

Our next visitors to join us were Ken & Betty - enjoyed walking our plank here in Marseillette

Ken & Betty & family joined us on the next stage of our journey, we cruised to Homps port with them & daughter in-law Denise and her son Grant, we had a wonderful sunny day for our lunch & cruise. It was so nice to catch up with them. They are here in their holiday home for only three weeks this time - hopefully they will be back again soon.

We stayed in Homps port for a few days meeting up again with Carole & Chris 'Kimasut'. John & I enjoyed some time on the man made beach near port. This is a lovely port to stay in and visit more of the Languedoc area which we did.

Homps beach - fun walks, but the water was not quite warm enough for me to swim!

Homps beach

John enjoyed some good cycling routes from here, I caught up with house hold chores enjoyed putting the boat back into ship shape before continuing our cruise. The Canal du Midi is like a fine wine you take it in slowly, taste and sample every village as you cruise discover as much as you can along the way.

Restaurant Lo Cagarol - birthday meal in the shaded terrace in Aigne village, Minervois

Restaurant Lo Cagarol in AigneRestaurant Lo Cagarol, 34210 Aigne

A meal out with Fiona & Earl celebrating Fiona's birthday in a very pretty village called Aigne. Aigne is a circular mediaeval village centred around l'Escargot (The snail) a narrow street in the shape of a spiral with a sole entrance, (we have not come across only one entrance before).

The eleventh century paris church of St.Martin, with it's unique nave, is at the heart of "The snail" a historical monument with a richly decorated bell. It was very late when we explored the village. I would enjoy coming back here again. Fiona & Earl drove back to Marseillette and we drove back to our boat which was moored in Capestang port.

Beate hand made me a wonderful table cloth and 6 colour full napkins, it was such a wonderful present to received, we enjoyed lunch out with her & Alan then dinner on board the Moet in the port of Colombiers.

Argeliers mooring on the Canal du MidiArgeliers mooring with Chris & Carole

Mooring with Alan & Beate in ColombiersMooring with Alan & Beate in Colombiers

Sunrise on the Canal du Midi

Sunrise on the Canal du Midi

Our sunrise cruise into Beziers was most enjoyed, a 57km stretch with no locks.

Our cruising was never far from meeting up with friends on the Canal du Midi, sharing meal's together in different ports, or a drive out together, to visit the market of the day and stock up on supplies. We were following Kimasut and spent a fair amount of time together in different ports. They are cruising on to Allemand boat yard on the River Herault with Elizabeth & Richard on Larabesc.

The old Roman dream to link the Garonne river and the Mediterranean. A man from Beziers, Pierre-Paul Riquet, who achieved just this in the 17th century.

We enjoyed cruising from Carcassonne to Villeneuve-les-Beziers 109 km we moored in some good ports. When we need time out it was tie to a tree and re-charge our own body batteries, and enjoy the wonderful wild life here on the canal, especially early morning.

We enjoyed introducing many new friends to the magical world of the Canal du Midi this month

Canal du Midi

This canal is an extraordinary work of art, covering 240km from Toulouse to Sete.

It took over 14 years and 12,000 workers to transport 7 million cubic meters of soil and create 350 bridges, dams, locks and tunnels! It is a titanic, almost supernatural, piece of work by Pierre-Paul Riquet, sadly he died just before the canal opened how sad I thought. Canal du Midi History

When we passed through the small tunnel of Malpas a hotel barge greeted us on the bend, coming straight for us, but captain John with his new hat avoided a crash thankfully. Next we went down more than 20 meters via the 7 locks at Fonseranes.

The 7 locks at Fonseranes in Beziers on the Canal du Midi

The 7 locks at Fonseranes

Fonseranes sign

It was a very busy day indeed at the top of Beziers flight of locks, many boats already waiting. John & I had set off before sunrise to gain a good place in the queue. This was a very hot day indeed. It was lunch time by the time we arrived in the main Beziers port, we just stopped for lunch filled with water and carried on. We cruised on to Villeneuve-les-Beziers.

Iain & Kaz dream of a new business 'Noble Marine' in their home town of Moissac is now official

Hotel de Ville in Moissac

Kaz and IanNoble Marine Moissac Port de Plaisance

Good Luck the Mayor makes a toast

The Mayor of Moissac makes a toast

John & I drove to Moissac to support Iain & Kaz & Noble Marine - their new business venture in Moissac port. This could not have happened to a nicer couple. The Mayor in his speech said as much to both of them, they have bought much to this town and the port has grown well with them on board.

John & I were privileged to be invited to join them on this special day, the flower shop in Moissac was busy as well wishes sent flowers to Iain & Kaz.

We enjoyed celebrating in the port later with good friends - Good Luck Iain & Kaz we wish you both every success. We drove around 250km back to Villeneuve-les-Beziers.

Port of Villeneuve les Beziers, a festival every weekend here in June perhaps we stay on!

The Canal du Midi at Villeneuve les Beziers

Our daughter Louise arrives soon from Canada. We need to stock up on wine & Cheese. Louise is so looking forward to spending time in this village with it's easy access to the Med coast beaches + time to explore them.