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December 27, 2011

Canal des Deux Mers: Argens-Minervois to Homps

Cruising the Canal du Midi (color IR)

Canal du Midi

To this point we had been making good progress crossing France on the Canal des Deux Mers.  We were ahead of schedule.  Nevertheless the strong winds of the prior day had been traumatic.  And now at Locaboat’s base in Argens-Minervois, the Herault required service, minor repairs, and a checkout run.  Thus the next leg of our cruise was delayed.

The Herault sits moored restaurant side in Homps

Over the night, the weather changed dramatically.  The winds that plagued us the prior day had passed.  This day dawned as idyllic a day as can be had on the Canal du Midi in the south of France.  And it is hard to get more idyllic than that anywhere.

Being ahead of schedule, the trying prior day, and the delay for service all justified a short day of cruising.  Indeed, this day we did only motor for 2 hours.  But that was not our intent when we turned the Herault back out onto the Canal du Midi just after lunch.  Our day’s cruise came to an early conclusion because of something entirely different and totally unexpected.  Our day on the water stopped because of pamplemousse and rosé.  It didn’t hurt that this concoction was being served at a particularly pleasant canal side bar in Homps.

After the essentially level 54-kilometer long pound ends at the Argens lock, the Canal du Midi climbs regularly.  Heading west from the Locaboat base we cleared three locks, including to doubles, before we reached Homps, a small commune of less than 700 people.  We reduced our speed to minimize our wake and crept into the canal side village.  A perfect mooring spot appeared on the left.  This boat slot was directly in front of a bar and restaurant in the middle of town.  It was just too inviting to pass; we pulled to shore and tied up.

Stepping off the Herault and hopping over a low fence put us quickly at seats under the shade of a tree in the outdoor canal-side café.   Our table was not more than ten feet from our boat.  When a couple of recovering canal travelers at an adjacent table introduced us to pampelmousse and rosé, a refreshing cocktail made of pink grapefruit juice and rosé wine, we were destined to stay the night.  Making reservations for dinner just confirmed it.  Just why would we considering leaving anyway?

Inside the lower chamber of a double lock (color IR)


Day 9

Start:  Argens-Minervois

Finish:  Homps

Travel time*:  1.9 hours

Cruising time**: 1.9 hours

Distance traveled:  5 kilometers

Lock chambers transited:  5

Weather:  A nice day.

At the end of the day, our trip across France was 23% complete based on cruising time and 22% complete based on distance covered.  We had passed through 40 of the 246 locks (16%) of the locks that we would cross.

* The time between the start of the day and the end of the day.

** As measured by the hour meter on our boat.  When the motor is running we were either moving or standing by to move (like in a lock).

1 Comment »

  1. […] our spontaneous stop the previous day in Homps, our two-night stay in Trebes was premeditated.  Remaining more than one night in Trebes had been […]

    Pingback by Canal des Deux Mers: Homps to Trebes « Another Header — January 5, 2012 @ 9:06 pm

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