Chateau Thierry to Lock Waiting Pontoon at Vandieres 3 at PK18
We did two automatic locks today and about 32 km. We didn’t see another boat under way until after we had secured alongside at Vandiere 3 Lock. We had a feeling they might have been aiming for the pontoon we arrived at 15 minutes earlier, so they have a few km to cover before their day of travel ends.
Strangest thing: across the river was a pair of chaps fishing. One of them caught an enormous pike and then promptly lost his grip and the mighty brochet leapt for freedom back in to the river. After that our gallant Frenchman took it out on the river by throwing a bicycle wheel tied to a length of rope into the river and dredging up weedy stuff. We thought he was trying to brain the naughty pike for escaping. If you, dear reader, have any idea why a Frenchman would throw a rope-secured bicycle wheel into the river and drag it out again, please do explain.
The berth we are on – a ponton attendant or waiting berth – is on the right hand side of the river and actually on an island. The other side of the island is where the wier is, and access on and off is only via the lock gates. On this, our private island, were a number of heavily loaded walnut trees, so we did our best to relieve them of their burden, coming away with a few bulging pockets etc. We noticed a large number of street lights to illuminate the lock area. Fortunately they were not used (possible cost-savings, after all, this is an unmanned lock.) As a result, being away from any populated area, there was virtually no light pollution and we had a beautiful night sky to look at.