From Avignon to the Mediterranean


It was Friday the 13th  of June and we were setting out on our last leg towards the Mediterranean. Are we superstitious? No, not really, but you never know do you… We talked to a Swede on his way up the Rhône who told us that the last leg is like going downhill – you don´t hang about. On his way up he hadn´t reached two knots with his boat. He also told us some horror stories about the Mediterranean… so the butterflies were definitely there as we started our engine and saw Avignon disappearing behind us.



A little bit outside of Avignon we saw this castle which looks like a fairy tale castle. Unfortunately I don´t know the name of it.








The first thing we noticed almost straight away was how the countryside changed as we left Avignon. It looked barren and the vegetation was diminishing.








The river itself got larger and started to flow more and more. Now we were really skipping along! We even reached 11 knots! We have never traveled so fast in our boat! The Mistral was also picking up, but we had it in our backs. The water was still grey and murky.







We had one more big lock to get through, but had to wait for two hours before it was our turn. Four big barges, one after the other, came and had to go through an inspection in the lock as well before they were on their way. We just had to moor and wait.

 The area where the Rhône exits into the Mediterranean is flat and the countryside is marshland. We passed something that looked like salt works.



The lock in Port St. Louis differed only one foot in height, but was very tough to handle as the currents were very strong. On the quays there were loops made of rope. We definitely recommend you to moor properly with lines through these loops instead of trying to hold on just by hand. As we got out of the lock we made our way to the “Navy Service” straight away.







The Navy Service is situated about halfway along the canal towards the sea. We have been recommended by several people to go there when we were going to mast. They were telling us about a good service at a reasonable price. We moored and went into the office to book up. We were informed that the Friday was fully booked, but that there were free slots on Saturday. We wanted to do a bit of work on the mast ourselves first, so we booked a time for Monday. It was OK to stay moored where we were until then. It didn´t cost us anything: access to water and electricity, showers/toilets and even free internet (WIFI)  Not bad – and it was still Friday the 13th





When we were moored we heard a happy Swedish voice welcoming us! It was Karl-Olof who had just taken his mast down and was about to make his way up the Rhône. In the evening we exchanged experiences which were very useful. Here are Karl-Olof and Barbro on their way.






Even though we locked ourselves inside the boat early in the evenings we got attacked by mosquitoes, which were out in abundance here. We got good use of our “Xylocain” (Swedish anesthetic cream) which gave us some relief. Before we got into bed we were looking for the little blighters, but couldn´t find any.  Don´t you think that just as you are falling asleep you hear something whining around your ears!!!






Now we had a couple of days to work on the mast and get everything into place. It felt good not having to stress. It is best that everything is correct when the mast is in this position rather than finding fault when it is up. On the Monday it was time to mast.  The price was €80 for the first half hour and then an extra €40 for every quarter of an hour on top of that. We were very particular about having everything ready when it was time. The whole operation took 23 minutes! You are not allowed to this yourself; there were two men responsible – one on the crane and one on the boat. We were allowed to help of course. We moored again to fine adjust everything. (OBS! The water is green!)




Next came a very important moment for us: To hoist the flag of the Mediterranean Cruisers! Even though we have been members for a while it hasn´t felt right to hoist this flag until we had actually reached the Mediterranean. Now it proudly flies there. (The background is an industrial area)




After having spent four nights at the Navy Service we made tracks back to Port St.Louis to stock up with food, diesel and also get the sails on. Here we met an English couple, John and Amber, and their boat “Kings Ransom”. They were also on their way into the Med, but were going towards the Riviera.




Now it started to feel a bit more exotic with tall palm trees swaying in the wind and we were getting more excited thinking about entering the sea the next day.