Up until now we had really had a wonderful time in France but amazing as it may sound it had all been the support act. The main event was meeting up with good friends John, Anne, Charles and Suzanne in Narbonne and taking possession of a fantastic Mystique cruiser from Le Boat so we could travel west along the Canal du Midi to Carcassonne and back to Trebes.
The others came in on the train during the morning and early afternoon. So once the paperwork was filled in at the Le Boat office we had lunch and visited a supermarket to purchase a few supplies. There were several boats going out so it took a while but we finally departed with a Le Boat staff member, Nick, giving us a rundown on driving the boat, using the generator and a general tour of the onboard facilities.
He guided us up to the first lock where we all were involved with the process which over the next week we became quite expert at. A couple disembarked carefully, then ropes were thrown so that the boat could be tied up. The first locks on the Canal de Robine and the Canal du Junction had automatic locks; all you had to do was enter the lock and press the green button on this small greyish control tower.
Then water came in, gently at first then in a flood. The boat rose up and when we had equalised our level the lock gate opened and, after dropping Nick off, on we went. I drove to the next lock where we had the required red and green light showing so in I drove and we repeated the process. After that John had a drive to the next lock where we all tried a different task. The next section Anne drove with assistance from John. It was a beautiful afternoon and very relaxing.
Our aim was to reach Sallèle D’Aude. However time moved on and we thought we were going to not make it, but finally just before 7:00 pm we arrived at a lock at the start of the town. I talked to the lock keeper and he said it was fine to come through.
After tying up we organised a few drinks whilst Charles, John and I prepared to barbecue. It was a really lovely little town and the other boats moored along the canal made a lovely scene.
Sadly the barbecue didn’t work so we ended up cooking and eating indoors. Once dinner was ready we celebrated with a glass of champagne courtesy of Suzanne and Charles.
Our amazing cruise along the Canal du Midi had started well.