August 2010 Cruising the River Baise

Philip and Michele having fun and cooling down in the heat of August.

We enjoyed introducing our family to some of our friends, Tina invited us all for a meal then Maria and Howell invited us for BBQ celebrating moving into their new home.

We spent a great deal of time driving this month, from Malause port were our boat is moored. Philip and Michele thought about buying a house or possibly a boat, we had such fun in their search, especially talking about what they wish to do when they finish work, an exciting time we shared together. We really enjoyed having them aboard and being able to discuss our plans for our renovation project. Philip and Michele will retire within the next five years or sooner if they can.

Iain and Kaz are selling Resa, Michele and Philip visited several times they loved this boat

Philip and Michele walked the 13 km back from Moissac to Malause to discuss their plans - (we drove), walking in the heat of the day, so ready for a beer and to eat when they arrived back on board, oh my poor feet Michele shouted. A lovely evening for a BBQ.

Philip and Michele bought us tickets for the Valence-d'Agen Saturday evening show

We decided we must fit in a cruise, after Philip and Michele put in an offer on a boat, we all waited patiently for the reply - NO it was not enough money sadly they had no more to offer.

Michele and Philip may go to Holland in search of a boat, no rush for them right now - just a little too early to buy for their retirement, through they did fall in love with Resa, wishing they had enough funds to retire earlier.

We all thoroughly enjoyed our cruise from Malause to Valence-Agen - we moored in the wild, and enjoyed the peace, enjoying the short walk home after the show, though we forgot our torches and it was touch and go if we found the boat.

Over 2.000 seats were at the side of the canal - the stage was on both sides of the canal

This very unique show at the side of the canal, with over 450 cast members mostly local villages. I am not sure how many animal's appeared in the show, but we meet most of them at some point, either before, during or after the show. This year the Lighting effects and fireworks were truly amazing, they really brought the show all together. I especially loved the tunnel of lights, enhancing the performance enormously. We really loved this year's show, more so I think as we were sitting in the audience, instead of on a boat in the port.

Michele and myself join some of the cast at the end of the show

This years show was a roaring success and many more dates were added, we were left with a glow, a good job now we had to find the boat, we forgot the torches. Moet was moored further up stream, we returned at 12.30am.

Our mooring in the town of Agen

Following morning we cruised on to the town of Agen for three nights. We had one more ride back in the car to see the boat Resa and our house. We invited friends Maria, Howell, John and Nick to join us for dinner in Agen, we had a lovely evening all together.

All too soon it was time to drive Philip and Michele back to Carcassonne, having had a fab and very busy week indeed.

John and I continued cruising the following day, our next stop over was Buzet. We met up with Rosie and David for the fish and chips evening.

This photograph of Canal Garonne viaduct over the river Baise was taken by Rosie.

This ariel view of the canal Garonne and the river Baise - shows you the point the canal crossed over the river a nice little mooring here Pont canal - for a good view of boats crossing over.

The weather was very kind to us, though the day we arrived on the river the heavens opened and down came the rain. Our return on the river was not much different, as the day we set off to return our first lock at Abbaye de Flaran, the rain came down again, we were soaked to the skin, but it was a warm rain, thankfully it last just an hour, so we continued on.

The river Baise runs from Garonne canal at Buzet to Valance-sur-Baise (end of the navigation for boats). Our river cruise was around 60 km's

Our cruise on Baise River

the mooring stops we made during our trip

Electronic machine use a card in locks on river Baise

An electronic card was given to us when we entered the river Baise on entering the double lock at Buzet. We used this card in all the locks except for lock 20 at PK 5 near the end of the river, two lock keepers work this double lock for you, just sound your horn when you approach the lock, no place to moor your boat at this lock.

The locks are very easy to use, though some fill fairly quickly. We cruised this river in 2005 with our son and daughter, cruising that year only as far as Condom. We were thrilled to reach the end this month in spite of lack of water, River Baise is a very muddy river especially this time of year.

Lavardac moorings - river Baise cruise

We had time to explore more of this wonderful region of Gers. Visiting night markets, restaurants, and some very good fete's indeed, especially the one in Nerac port, the live music on stage with front row seats on our boat. We enjoyed the company of Rosie and David when we were staying in Vianne, we all visited Lavardac, enjoyed buying some odds and ends for our new house at the bric a brac sale, we were spectators in the competition to see who could open the most bottles of wine - this went on most of the afternoon and all evening... we think all the bottles were filled with water not wine.

June, July and August are always amazing in France - music and dancing where ever you go.

River Baise with family and friends.

Maria and Howell and family joined us in Condom for lunch and a lovely cruise. Arriving back in Condom for dinner, a lovely day sharing this peaceful river, we had lots of fun. Maria prefers the rivers to the canal's.

This river is still as I re-call it in 2005 Kingfisher alley, the birds just followed the boat, catching fish, wonderful to see them just hover in front of boat, then dive for their supper.

I never tire of the wild life and thankfully we did see some on this short cruise today. The family enjoyed learning new boat skill's. Renting a boat is Maria and Howell's daughter dream all her friends agreed.

Condom Port - cruising with friends from Wales and Liverpool

Good mooring on river Baise for our visit to Abbaye de Flaran

We stayed in most of the ports on this river lots of room i.e. Valance-sur-Baise, Condom, Moncrabeau, Nerac, Vianne, Lavardac and Buzet (our secret little mooring on the river). The river was so very quiet with just a few hire boats around the first few days. Baise was very low, around a half to a metre down on normal levels. They do not allow boats with more than a metre draft onto this river, as they could have problems with this shallow river especially near the end. Nerac port was the busiest port, especially the night of the festival, we were just lucky to be in the port moored up (with the best mooring for our stage view).

Abbaye de Flaran founded in 1151 by the monks of Escaladieu, has a little mooring on the Baise.

Just a couple km's from Valance-sur-Baise is this wonderful Abbey a historic Monument, just nestled away. The lock keeper gave us all the information re-visiting this little gem of a place. John and I enjoyed a good few hours here exploring.

The Portrait paintings on show were outstanding, all by very famous artists from around the world, with just one guard on duty. Ken Paine had four rooms of his work on till September. It was the best 5 euros we have spent. Sadly not one place to get a coffee or ice cream to enjoy the gardens, this was the middle of August. We did managed a nice cool beer for John and ice cream in the port after our walk back from the Abbaye.

Valance-sur-Baise port - end of our cruise on the river Baise - The best port on this river.

This exceptional village and port at Valance-sur-Baise was our little haven of tranquility. We thoroughly enjoyed mooring here in a very hot hot spell. Washer/dryer, showers were free to use.

See August 2006 for our first trip on the river baise.

Our friends Maria and Howell have found on the internet a bargain Mediterranean cruise, they have invited us to join them, we said yes why not we leave next week. 7 nights full board for £285 should have been £2.000 we will drive to Barcelona together to pick up the Costa pacifica music ship.

Happy cruising to all our friends.