A sleep in this morning and our lazy days of travel have commenced.
A change to the dinghy arrangement, a quick ‘house’ clean and we were off.
Boats are moored close together here and the stern mooring is placed dead centre. In reverse, our motion rapidly came to a dead stop. Believing the prop had caught in the line, ‘Oh damn!!!!!!’ was the response. Thankfully, a quick search brought the problem to light. With the Little G2 resting on the davits, this proved a perfect place for the mooring ball to jam. Forward went Bob, out came the mooring, then it was a process of jiggling and juggling between our mooring float and that of our neighbours.
Narrow weed covered waterways of vibrant greens, catfish a swimming, birds of prey searching. Just out of Castets – en – Dorthe, we passed a weed muncher attempting to rid the waterway of the green menace.
A learning curve for us as we learnt to deal with the lock systems. Red light ahead indicated the lock was closed. A twist of the pole hanging upon a wire over the canal, a yellow light signalling the lock was filling soon changed to green. Out puttered a yacht, in crawled Gratis at snail’s pace. Locks are narrow here and allow very little room for error for a boat of Gratis’ length. All went to plan as Big G’s mooring lines were neatly attached to yet another set of floating bollards.
The wind vane scraped upon low arched bridges – Bob later took it off.
With murky water and weed, the depth sounder wasn’t always accurate, eyes constantly watched the depths below as they ranged between 1.5 to just over 2 metres. Small pastures, bordering flowers and tree lined sides, a beauty photos really don’t do justice to: one really has to experience it.
Old lock keepers cottages adorned the locks.
whilst abodes large and small dotted the banks.
At times, barge names tickled our fancy.
Late afternoon and the small marina of Fontet was soon upon us. Radioing ahead, a mooring was available. Situated upon the starboard side of the canal, through the narrow – 5 metres max – opening inched Gratis into what was once a large quarry. The sound of children splashing in the shallows of the man – made lake greeted us in this still pool of water.
A matchstick museum, which we sadly missed – only open from 1400 – 1800 and the nearby town of La Réole (a good hour’s walk away) with its monuments, abbey decorated with wrought ironwork created by the master craftsman Blaise Charlut and delightful buildings apparently well worth a visit. At this time of year, although it doesn’t have the burning uv that Australia experiences, the sun is fierce and days hot (40+ a regular at the moment), making walking during the afternoon sun energy sapping.
A small paradise of vibrant colours, the water a mill pool of still reflections. Dragon flies flitted and birds sang, whilst a lone fisherman cast his line.
The cry of a hunter, and gentle splashes of fish a leaping lulled us to sleep in the evening’s warm heat.