Frontignan Canalside: 43°26’40.3″N 3°45’35.0″E
Lattes (Locaboat Marina): 43°34’21.2″N 3°53’57.9″E
Today would be our last day traveling on the boat. Technically, we have left the Canal du Midi & the Etang du Thau & are now traveling on five connecting bodies of water – four Etangs & finally north on the River Lez to the Locaboat Marina in Lattes.
SCREENSHOT ABOVE FROM GOOGLE MAPS SHOWING CANAL CHANNEL THROUGH THE ETANGS
Today was also another day where we discovered that there were several more interesting spots for us to moor the boat overnight that were not that far from where we stayed in Frontignan. Oh well, next time (wink, wink).
All of the sailboats moored along the canal walls made it very evident that we were close to the Mediterranean Sea.
PHOTO ABOVE – SAILBOATS MOORED ALONG THE CANAL WALLS JUST BEFORE THE ETANGS
The Etangs we were traveling through today were much shallower than the Etang de Thau. Now we were back to traveling in a canal channel that was dredged right through the Etangs waters. The banks on each side of the canal were substantially comprised of the dredged materials protected from erosion by kilometers of hand built cut-stone walls. The scale of this work is astonishing & it is hard to imagine this kind of project being undertaken by any government in this day & age.
PHOTO ABOVE – HAND LAID STONEWALLS PROTECTING THE CANAL BANKS
The shallow Etangs are a perfect habitat for a variety of bird species & we were especially excited to see large groups of pink flamingos feeding & resting in these waters. These beautiful birds were a familiar sight over the next several hours. I was wondering what a group of flamingos was called so I Googled it. Turns out the proper term is a “flamboyance” – very appropriate. Apparently flamingos get their pink colour as a result of eating so many shrimp. I wonder if I will eventually turn pinkish-grey because of all the Spam that I eat.
PHOTO ABOVE – PINK FLAMINGOS IN THE ETANG ADJACENT TO THE CANAL CHANNEL
We were about 1 hour into our canal journey when we came across a nature reserve that separates the Etang from the Mediterranean Sea. We tied up the boat at the designated mooring point & went exploring.
PHOTO ABOVE – BRUCE GETTING READY TO DO SOME LAND BASED BIRDING
PHOTO ABOVE – SOME OF THE MARSHLANDS IN THE NATURE RESERVE
There were lots of other species of birds as well as a flock of sheep that were kept there in a large fenced off area between the sea & the Etang.
PHOTO ABOVE – VISITORS INFORMATION SIGN AT MOORING SPACE
We went to get a look at the Mediterranean Sea only a 5 minute walk from where we were moored. The water looked so enticing that Cath & Barb had a swim at the beautiful beach there. Bruce & I stuck to staying on shore.
PHOTO ABOVE – THE NATURE RESERVE BEACH ON THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA
After a nice break at the reserve we got back underway towards our destination. The boat had to be returned to Locaboat by 9:00am the next morning but we decided to arrive in Lattes this afternoon & spend our last night on board while we were in the marina. That would make things a lot easier for the return process & for us to get all of our belongings sorted out & packed away.
The final lock that we had to go through was only about 1 km from the marina in Lattes. It only operated until 4:30pm but we got through in plenty of time.
PHOTO ABOVE – THE MARINA IN LATTES – THE JOURNEY HAS ENDED 🙁
After we arrived at the marina I checked in with the Locaboat staff & informed them that we would be staying on board overnight. We spent the rest of the afternoon doing laundry & cleaning up the boat. Not a very glamorous conclusion to our cruise but certainly a necessity.
Barb whipped up a delicious frittata & salad that matched perfectly with a bottle of wine we had picked up to celebrate our last night on board. Laundry & other mundane chores were forgotten & replaced with good food, good wine & many memories created with dear friends
Tomorrow we are on to the next phase of our adventures in France – exploring part of the country by car!