Wednesday, 22 June 2011

St Gilles to Agde

Jun 11

The St Gilles ecluse had dropped us off the Petite Rhone on to the Canal Rhone a Sete heading west. Moorings remained sparse and we were still mixing it with commercials heading to and from Aigues Mortes and Sete.  Suddenly though we were getting our first taste of the Camargue wild life.  Our first sight of the wild horses.

We could have been on the Fens as rush cutters were busy at work

We ended up moored to the bank at Gallician near the Port - massed stakes as the commercials weren't taking much notice of the speed limits.  Our first hire boats for about a month sped through. We managed to find a Boulangerie and a Bar but the mosquitoes were both large and voracious so we were pleased to move on towards Aigues Mortes.  Aigues Mortes wasn't very Plaisancier friendly with minimal moorings for passers by so we pushed onwards after a little shopping.

Aigues Mortes
In the end we found a tatty wooden pontoon near the River Vidourie - very atmospheric but very isolated.

Camargue at sunset
For the first time since Cyprus we found sheep and goats co-pastured - I certainly wouldn't argue with those horns.

Then it was a long push on through little fishing villages to the west - Angie was busy checking out the birds - mostly old favourites like Stilts, Terns, Egrets, Herons and sundry gulls but also a new one,  the European Bee-Eater.

Then it was into Frontignan where we spent the night, after waiting for the lift bridge which only opens twice a day.

Frontignan Lift Bridge
We set off early through Sete to our first semi-maritime crossing on the Etang de Thau - luckily the wind was fairly subdued and the  GPS was working OK to keep us on track.

Leaving Sete
A fellow traveller
Nearly there
Made it - but where is the Canal du Midi?
We found the Canal entrance, fought our way through massed boat moorings and still on salt water pushed on to the first Midi lock, where we felt the Canal du Midi really started. The first 'oval' lock since our early days in Flanders, then to Agde where the three way 'round' lock is really peculiar eg Brugge Ring sluis.  After the flog from Avignon on the rivers and some not very pleasant canals our first views of the Midi looked good.

Canal du Midi nr Agde

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