The middle of nowhere (pk51) – Sète – Canal du Midi, ecluse 65 Bagnas
36 km, 0 locks
We figured that we can make the 8.30 bridge opening in Frontignan when we set of with the first light of dawn at 7.00. Thus the alarm goes of really early.
The storm is only a faint memory. But the sky is still pitch black with clouds. And at the time we can finally see anything it is almost 8.00. Still we give it a try, maybe we are lucky.
Nobody around but an early fisherman checking his fish traps.
We notice how lucky we have been yesterday. Most of the canal bank on this stretch is reinforced with huge rocks. Have we been blown against these, the night would have been at least uncomfortable, if not worse.
Plus there is one acute bend just before Frontignan. Had we gotten that far, we would have had no chance to make it. Plus more rocks. Turn to the right between the green and red marker.
As we arrive at Frontignan we can just see the bridge keeper drive of in his car. Damn.
At least time for a good breakfast. Off to the baker, fresh bread and all the trimmings. The bridge will only open at 16.00, so we have a lot of time at our hands. With the train station right next to the moorings we decide to take the train to Sète, in an attempt to finally make it to the sea.
The train ride is only five minutes. But when we arrive at Sète, it is torrential rain, monsoon. So we wait to pass it by. The telly in the waiting hall tells us that 13 people were killed last night, when the river Aude rose by seven (!) meters within a timespan of one hour only.
The rain won’t stop, so we make dash across two roundabouts and a bridge to the Brasserie across the bridge. We decide to have a light lunch here and wait out the rain. And a good decision it is. By the time we are fed and watered, most of the rain is gone and we are ready to explore the town.
Séte is almost like Venice, minus the million of tourists. Boats and canals everywhere, right in the middle of the city.
We make our way along the canals to the sea front. And find the Med still in a sour mood.
Back to the station, just to find out, that the 3 o’clock train is cancelled. But the 2 o’clock train is two hours late and would bring it to Frontignan just 5 minutes before bridge opening time. Alas I have no trust on a train being two hours late already. Another of our plans is threatened to fail. But, hurray, there is also a bus. But the bus station is almost at the sea front, so back on the road in the drizzle…
But, this plan finally works out, we make it in time and finally are through the bridge.
The surroundings of Frontignan are rather industrial.
And then, finally, the Etang de Thau.
Thankfully the wind has not fully died a away, but is at a rather benign force 3. Crossing the lake is rather straight forward, just follow the line of markers. The only real problem: In case you loose control over your boat you might get blow straight into the oyster beds. Not an opportunity to make new friend.
Nice views back at Sète.
With the last light disappearing we reach the ecluse Bagnas, the first lock of the midi. We hammer in our mooring pins, cook dinner and hope for the best for tomorrow.