LOCATION: Near Beziers, France on the Canal du Midi
WEATHER: Rain and overcast. High 79
It rained pretty hard during the night – both outside and inside! About 5:00 AM, the ceiling above George’s head sprang a serious leak. He woke up cursing. The mattress and sheets were sopping wet. I brought in the kitchen dishpan to collect the water…..It filled it up! He went to sleep in the galley while I tried to finish sleeping with the plonk-plonk-plonk (not a light drip-drip-drip) sound of the water splashing in the pan.
We had to move our suitcases that we store on the floor out so they would not get wet. What a mess!
One couple got up early and bought some freshly-baked croissants and a baguette. The aroma was out of this world. I splurged and had a croissant with morning coffee.
Drama soon followed. A boat facing us, coming the other way, started shouting in French….”Slow down!” We were already going slowly so were confused. Then they pointed to an object near our boat and shouted “Dog!” in French. Sure enough, a little dog was in the water, caught up in the brambles that line the canal. He was almost drowned. We were able to maneuver the boat and picked him up with his collar using our boat hook. One lady leaned way over the side of the boat and cut the bramble with a pair of scissors. I wrapped him up with towels to dry him off, calm him down, and to warm him up. He was shaking like a leaf!
We decided to drop him off at the next lock and ask the lock-keeper to call the owner, as he had a tag on with a phone number. But, as I was patting him down, and as we were cruising along, I saw an old man running on the towpath. He did not look like a jogger. Sure enough, it was the owner. Someone in another boat going the other way told him we had rescued the dog, and he came to collect it.
He was so grateful. We are glad it had a happy ending. But boy….did that dog stink!
Next up as a real challenge – 7 locks in a row called “The Staircase”. From the top down, it looks like a roller coaster.
Due to the difficulty in getting through them, the locks are only open a brief window for boats going upstream and another window for those going downstream. We missed the first window, so had to wait for 3 hours. The enterprising tourism office knows that boaters have to wait, so they offer a tourist train that goes into the nearby town of Beziers’.
Some of our group took advantage of the break and had a nice lunch in the lock’s restaurant, overlooking the city of Beziers’.
Once we got the ok from the lock-keeper to go, we had a real audience watching us.
We moored in a town, jumped off, and bought some groceries. Then, we continued on. We moored for the night at a grassy point along the way. There is no one around us, with absolute quiet.
DINNER: I made couscous with mushrooms, onions, and garlic. We warmed up chicken cordon bleu, and served it all with a nice salad. We sat upstairs on the deck and enjoyed a nice dinner.