header photo

Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea

How do you get a ring off?

The odd thing about boating on the canal is that whenever you put something down, it’s there later.  We are used to boating where everything not tied down before you venture out of port will have slid to some far corner of the boat by the time you go looking for it.  On the canal the boat is so stable that you can leave an open bottle of wine on the counter till the following evening and it will not have moved an inch.

We started out in the morning on our bikes for the olive cooperative about 5 miles ride from the boat.  1.5 miles into the ride, Dave got a flat.  Bummer.  Alas we have no patch kit.  Double bummer.  So Dave jogs the whole 1.5 miles back to the boat, bike beside him. (Emmanuel – Dave’s ProClub trainer would be proud.)  Wow.  We would never have been able to do this before the 20/20 program.  I ride slowly behind Dave back to the boat.  Oddly enough, I seem to balance fine (it’s harder to balance going slow than normal speed) when my right leg is extended straight.  When my left leg is extended straight, I get very unstable.  So I practice the whole way back.  Tiffany would be proud of me though, we had to carry the bikes up and down some slopes and I did it no problem!

We then stopped at  Ventenac-en-Minervois to take pictures.  Then we stopped at Paraza for lunch.  We had Gazpacho and Cassoulet.  The restaurant stayed open late for us and spoke English. Ok, where is the French rudeness we were warned about?  Hmmm.  I swear my Cassoulet is better than this.  Interesting.

Back on the boat, Dave tries to fix his flat tire.  Two patches later it still isn’t holding air.

We visited another winery.  I rang the bell before reading the sign saying they were closed for the French siesta (which we never did figure out what it was called in French).  But they answered the door anyway. They were in the middle of bottling the wine and invited us to watch.  A fascinating process.  They have a big semi –truck that has all the bottling equipment.  It obviously drives from winery to winery bottling wines for the small vintners.  On one end of the truck was a hose into which the winery connected their hose from the wine vats.  At the other end came fully corked bottles which then went into a labeler, to get labeled.  Then two girls packed the bottles into boxes.  Next a machine taped the boxes shut on both top and bottom.  And finally, a guy was loading the boxes onto a pallet.  Note to self:  Next year we should come back in September for the harvest!

After watching for a while, the owner took us into the winery to taste the wines and we bought three bottles.  It was at this point I sent an email back to Evan (friend in the US with a French girlfriend) asking how we ship wine home and that we would share the spoils if he could figure it out.  What we later discovered through our investigations is that you can either (1) ship via DHL for €10 per bottle, or you can find an importer in the US that already carries the wine, or is willing to.

Today we headed into our first lock.  Dave gives me instructions, “Don’t let the boat move backwards because it will slam into the boat behind us.”  The gig here is that I will get off the boat and man the lines in the lock as the lock keeper just works the lock itself.  Note that this is different than what we are accustomed to in the Seattle locks where the lock keepers man all the lines and tell you what to do.  However, the net result of Dave’s instructions was that I was yanking on the rope way to hard.  If I yank on the bow too hard, then that has the effect of swinging the stern (the line Dave is manning) out.  So now Dave has to pull hard, which means I am pulling harder… you get the idea.  But by the third lock we had it down pat.  On the bow line, I would just let it do its thing, and just reel in the lines as the boat rose (we were in upward locks).  The rush of incoming water at the front of the lock tended to push the bow of our boat into the side of the lock anyway, so if I did nothing, then the boat was perfect. 

We stopped for the night at La Redorte.  We parked the boat and tied it to some tree roots.  I was leaning way off the swim platform and looping the rope around the tree roots.  I was leaning way off – which no way could I have done before I was in shape.

That night, Dave killed 6 flies with the deadly kitchen towel “snap”.  Wow – no more flies in the cabin!

At dinner I yet again tried out my French, “deux salad, une pizza, carafe de rouge, glacee de citron”.  The waiter says (barely keeping the annoyance out of his voice), “Madame, you can speak English!”  Great.  I have so butchered the French language that he would rather I speak English!  The ultimate of insults I suppose.  Yet again we are amazed by the tomatoes though - the sauce on the pizza is amazing!

The water arrives to take our dessert order.  Wait a minute!  I already ordered dessert. This is the second time I ordered dessert with the entrée and the waiter returned to take the dessert order again.  Hmmmm…. Maybe this is another faux pas?

At some point during dinner, Dave is talking about how loose his wedding ring is now that he has lost all the weight.  Afraid he will lose it, I suggest putting it on his right hand instead of his left, which he does.  Alas it will be there for the remainder of the trip as no amount of pulling, greasy lotion, or even long soaks in ice water will get it off again.

Go Back