Our first lock for the day was a double with an aquaduct passing over the la Baise river.
Quite a rise was required in order for the river to be safely crossed, hence the deep double lock system. A bit of surprise on the last few locks with the control systems now being to port rather than starboard.
A long stretch without nearby towns upon the canal where fields of sunflowers brightened the landscape.
No more ordered rows of flame trees, with the bushes forming thick overhanging thickets along the banks, and an occasional farm peeping through the occasional gaps.
Along the canal this day we motored through large basins that provided turning circles for larger boats, but with this also came shallower depths of 1.5 – 1.7m. To prevent touching bottom, Gratis was kept to the centre of the canal.
The further we proceeded inland the more boats there were moored upon the pontoons provided and river banks beyond. With tree roots and crumbling cement retainment, for Gratis who is that little deeper in draft, it was not possible to safely pull over in order to purchase a breakfast of French pastries or explore the pigeon houses just outside of Agen: a visit by car will take us there instead.
Just outside of Agen, Gratis found herself approaching a bridge with a bricked in archway (it appeared that at one stage provision had been made for the construction a yet another canal system heading southward). It was here that a 90° turn to port was required immediately upon rotating a lock’s automatic release line that set the process in motion. We had arrived at the commencement of the Agen Aqueduct: a series of 4 locks with a large lagoon between each – each lifting the boat approximately 2 metres – immediately followed by a narrow 580m bridge of 23 arches across the Garonne.
What a view as we crossed the Garonne.
Still a mighty waterway, although much shallower, it is one that still carries quite a current. Agen, homes encased by splashes of vivid flowers in a myriad of colours and an abundance of verdant bushes and trees.