A Travellerspoint blog

The Canal

It's our fourth day on the Canal du Midi and so far it's been fun and interesting. 
The first day was all about learning the boat and learning the lock system. Because of the direction we've chosen, The first dozen locks were up stream, which means you enter an empty lock and are raised to the next level. This means a bit more turbulence and rope work. 
From then on it's all downhill locks - 80 all up. We have our systems all sorted and I think I'm finally getting better at throwing ropes.  Often we share a lock with one or two other boats. Jim spends half the time in the locks helping novice drivers tie up and let go. For many it's the first time they've handled a boat, so we see a lot of interesting maneuvers. All boats have fenders permanently out, and rubber bumpers all round, which is a very good thing.
The actual sailing up the canal is just beautiful, under the famous plane trees. It's still quite hot - 30 degrees today, and no swimming in the canal, unless you feel like taking a dip in the toilets contents of all the boats. This has been a surprising thing - we thought they'd have closed systems.
Today we've pulled up at the first big city stop, Carcassonne, and berthed the boat Mediterranean style.
One thing I have learned is that I'm a better sailor than I've given myself credit for. After 7 years with Jim, something must have rubbed off.
As we go along we keep meeting up with different groups, and Jim is becoming everyone's best friend because of all the assistance he gives.
Jim is off up town, while I have a laze under the umbrella and write notes.

Posted by kazandjim 10:27

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