We departed the Stella restaurant facility at 8:40 in the morning to begin a 5 ½ -hour journey southeast to the town of Grado, located off the coast of the Adriatic Sea. Red and green dolphins or poles mark the channel of each canal; sometimes poles are positioned on only one side of the canal.
Red and green poles identify the channel of each canal.
Cruising the Canals in Le Boat Magnifique 7
Intersecting canals are marked by three or more poles tied together in a pyramid with signage pointing to a village or major destination.
Signage points the way to major destinations.
Trees and farmland line some canals, while others are in open lagoon areas. The flat landscape of the lagoons, scattered with poles near and far can be somewhat disorienting, especially when the boat has no compass and no chart-plotter. You must rely on the canal maps, which are not always the most accurate. There is no depth sounder onboard the vessel for negotiating water depths of 2 to 5 feet, so it’s anyone’s guess as to the actual depth. Groundings are not uncommon among the numerous shallow areas during low tide. While canal boats are flat-bottom vessels with a shallow draft built to negotiate the rivers and canals of the area, sand and mud can shift into mounds in unexpected places. Wind and current can quickly sweep you over a mound, which we soon discovered in a shallow area along the Cialisia Canal.
Fortunately, we were able to back off the mud and continue on our way through the lagoon towards Grado. On the way, we passed numerous “fish houses,” adorable summer homes with thatched roofs located on many of the small islands in the open lagoon.
After negotiating some scenic canals, passing under large fishnets, and making our way through the channels of the expansive lagoon, we arrived at the lovely town of Grado on the Adriatic Sea.