header photo

Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea

Longest day of the year. Why would we ever go home?

Dave woke at 4am listening to the birds, the rooster, and the ducks all making quite a racket.  With my earplugs I can sleep through a war and am still sound asleep till 10am.

We walked back into town to visit the winery.  After some more practice of my French, “Non Blanc, non Rose, Oui Rouge” we found the wines soft and fabulous.  We bought two bottles and the total came to €6.50.  Cripes.  How do we ship wine home?  That’s a friggin’ steal!  She could have charged us 4x and we wouldn’t have blinked.  Way better than the €9 per bottle from the supermarket the day before!

Off we go the next point where there is an ancient town archeological dig.  Along the Canal Du Midi, there are a couple of ways to secure the boat.  You can tie to a dock in town, tie to a tree alongside the canal, tie to a tree root that sticks into the water, or you can drive a stake into the grass and tie your line to it.  It is rude to tie a line to a tree that is on the other side of the path alongside the canal.  You could behead a biker by mistake.  So we choose to try out the stake method.  Off we go to the museum.

It is the oldest dig in Europe.  There is a museum that is what we expected to see in Greece two years ago when we were there.  Lots of pottery, beads, iron works spanning from the 5th century BC forwards.  Well worth the 2 mile hike up the hill and back.  But when we return to the boat, alas we find the stern of the boat came loose from its stake, which had completely pulled loose from the ground.  Fortunately some boat passing by (likely completely blocked by our boat floating sideways in the canal) had retied the boat, so it was safe and sound.

The Canal Du Midi starts high on the hills.  Weird because you look down across the plains and French countryside.  Normally when we are on a boat on the water, we are on the low point of the local landscape, not the top.  To say the view is spectacular is an understatement.  The canal is lined with trees that provide shade much of the way.  In the distance you can see towns, most with a castle of some kind as the highest structure.  We toodle along at 4.4 knots (maximum speed for the canal), drinking red wine and munching on the regional cheese, salami, and baguette for a snack.

There is some kind of cricket in the trees.  They make the most incredible racket.  Sometimes so loud you have to raise your voice to be heard over it.

There are grade school age children on barges in large numbers on huge canal barges.  Summer camp maybe?

The boat has no holding tanks.  Everything goes overboard into the canal.  Yuck!  I hope no one falls overboard!  But the water must move along to the sea as there is no foul smell.  We heard later there were sometimes mosquitos, but we haven’t seen any.  Note to self:  Check when the mosquitos show up.  Are they in the fall when we are thinking we might come next time?  Maybe June is too early for them?

Driving the boat is strange.  Had not thought about it prior to getting here, but Dave says it is like driving around in a marina.  You can’t stop steering at any time.  While this might seem obvious, most boat charters, once you reach the open water, are much more casual in regards to steering the boat.  Dave can look around to make sure there is no traffic, set the direction, go below and make coffee and go back to the pilot seat.  But on the canal, I have to either steer for Dave or fetch what he might need as he can’t leave the wheel.  This is not a big deal, just different then the chartering we have done in the past.

We tried feeding the ducks some stale leftover French bread.  Oddly these ducks don’t fight over it the way they do back home.  Apparently French ducks are polite.

The boat is very nice.  Though there is no real kitchen.  No oven, just a microwave.  Good thing I am not planning to cook!  But good enough for snacks.  And it has the most important equipment – a wine bottle opener!

At dinner that night in Le Somail, the waitress spoke English.  Darn.  Can’t try out my French.  Even the menu is in English.  Salad was “ancient” tomatoes, salt, and olive oil.  I’ll bet they mean “heirloom” tomatoes.  Yep.  Sure enough they were delicious.  This is a trend we noticed throughout the trip.  While the Italians might be known for their use of tomatoes, the French tomatoes are to die for.  Dave and I argued about the tomato that is very dark brown in color.  Dave thinks it is marinated.  I say no way – it’s just the color of the tomato.  So there is a farmer’s market in Bellevue that sells heirloom tomatoes, and we must try the dark brown one back home to see for sure.

Dinner was grilled duck, lamb, potatoes, and a grilled peach.  The highlight was some sort of pork sausage.  Very dark, almost black, very soft, but with a very unique flavor.  “Dessert” was a cheese plate.  Wow.  If we had goat cheese like that, no one would ever bother with cream cheese.  And the wine?  Mmmmm.  I made Dave take a picture of the label.  I wonder if we could get someone to import it for us?

Tiffany (my ProClub trainer) would be proud of me.  On the way back from dinner we had to climb over a wall to get back to the boat.  On the far side of the wall, I had to do a “dip” (lowering myself by my arms to the ground) and did it with no trouble!

Today is the longest day of the year.  Its 9:30pm and it is still light out.  By 10:30pm there was lightning and thunder.  Were we anywhere else in the world, Dave would be up on deck all night worried about dragging the anchor.  But hard to drag an anchor when you are tied to a tree!  We stayed up for an hour watching the lightning strike in the distance.  I would count seconds, but alas all the thunder proved the storm was several miles away in the hills.

Tomorrow, we are off to see an olive grove on our bikes.

Go Back