Friday, 16 August 2013

Villeneuve to the Petite Rhone

Aug 13

Villeneuve les Beziers is a nice little town, every weekend was different music groups in the town square but despite the labels they sounded the same (loud).  Bastille Day was impressive with a massive Son et Lumiere show (fireworks, lasers etc) but but very jingoistic compared to others we have attended (Marine le Pen country)? It must have cost the Commune a fortune.

However, with the plane trees ripped out it was hot and became fairly boring - primarily waiting for things to happen.  With another UK trip Angie managed to get the NHS to confirm they would operate on her - but not when -  'it is urgent so in a few months' - hate to think what non urgent is - a year - before you die - maybe? Our carpenter was running late and not very interested once he realised he wasn't going to make a big profit (should have listened to a prior warning from 'Merlot').

Peter was also unimpressed as one of the solar panels packed up - cooked by the heat at a guess.

Villeneuve les Beziers

After three weeks we gave up on the carpenter and headed east to Portiragnes to get some shelter from the sun and put in a few days resealing windows etc before a threatened storm. Angie stocked up on melons and grapes which seem to have become our staple diet. Moving on we stopped at Vias for a cuppa with 'Gladys' (Eric and Lisa) and Balestra (Barry) then on to the Ronde ecluse again, after which we traversed the River Herault for a short stretch.

The Canal du Midi is there somewhere
River Herault
Angie went into 'bird spotting mode as we moved east

We shared our final Midi mooring with 'Dunvegan' - Steve was making his second attempt to get up the Rhone.

Eastern entrance to Midi
From this point I could have copied some of the photos from our trip south in 2011 but tried for some variation. The Etang de Thau seemed a bit choppier than last time.

Etang de Thau
Mussel frames
Sete marina
We headed straight into Frontignan and moored for the night - - Dunvegan passed through and was never seen again :) so hope they made it. We moored next to the jousting area by coincidence and as the town was celebrating a Saint's Day we had a grandstand view.

Parade of the Saint effigy to the church.
Then it was the long run along the Rhone au Sete through the Camargue

Lots of little fishing villages
but a lot of ''your turn to helm' stretches as well
We diverted onto the River Lez to fuel up (diesel and food) at a new Carrefour (last fuel stop for xxx kms) - first sensible supermarche ever with a pontoon 6m from the pumps, so jerricanning 360 litres of diesel didn't strain Peter too much.

At the River La Vidourie junction found a nice little greenbank mooring and we met our first proper 'commercial' for two years

La Vidourie junction
Not a lot of boat traffic but the usual wildlife kept Angie quiet

Egrets everywhere
Bulls with egrets
Camargue horses

Egret tree
Buzzard in action
We finally pulled into St Gilles ecluse and found a little wooden pontoon to overnight on off the commercial channel. Big mossies and at dusk we had shoals off fish on the surface (eating mossies - no idea what type of fish). After seeing the size of the carp, catfish and pike down south (and pike taking ducklings) Angie doesn't dangle fingers or toes in the water any more and Peter gets to clear the weedhatch.

fish shoal
All set for the Rhone,but when Peter checked the flow rates they had doubled in two days (lot of rain up North). Much dithering about delaying the trip, but at 6am the next morning the rate had started to fall so action this day and through the St Gilles ecluse at 7am onto the Petite Rhone

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