Wednesday 6 June 2012 (Dad would have been 92 today)
It was a bit wet again this morning and we very nearly decided to stay another night here. Thing is: battery bank a bit low, fridge needs a good boost = shore power needed really. So we bit the bullet, slipped and proceeded at 0930. Fairly lightweight day for us, covering 13.4 kilometres and 4 locks today. Weather brightened up and we arrived alongside St Leger de Dheune at 1215. We have discovered that departing early and arriving early at places gives one the advantage over the holiday boaters. Getting into a rhythm now. Sun came out nice and bright, met up with an American couple from Colorado onboard their 1923 vintage barge. They have been cruising the waterways for 7 years and are now selling up the boat and moving on to other things. It seems this canal cruising thing catches you in a way that it takes some years to break out of it. 2 Dutch barges arrived and another steel Dutchman arrived after us (hence the desire to move on early and get to where we are headed before the crowds.) They are all heading in the opposite direction to us. Pretty town, decided to stay a second night already.
Overnight St Leger de Dheune 46 50.718N 004 37.968E
Tuesday 5 June 2012 Chagny
Absolutely bucketing down with rain, so we decided to stay another day. Weather cleared up so we did the shopping, had lunch and then wandered around the pretty little town for a couple of hours. Back onboard for dinner, Scrabble championship and bed.
Monday 4 June 2012 Chalon sur Saone to Chagny
Just as we were sorting out our ‘post petit-dejuener’ bits and pieces a hire boat from ‘Locaboat’ came alongside (or attempted to) in front of us. It seems the method for parking these boats is to approach your berth at any angle you like, then as soon as the bow gets half a canal’s width away from the jetty, you slam the engine astern. Odd method, but after a few minutes of hand signals and getting the ‘deer in the headlamps’ look off the face of the helmsman, we managed to park him without him hitting our beloved Wight Mistress. He was, in fact, now facing in the wrong direction but we felt that would be a good exercise for him once we were well clear. We pootled off up the canal, covered 11 locks and 15.5 kilometres to stop at Chagny by 1345. We had been advised of another halt a bit further on, but it was far too shallow for us, so we made a U turn and headed back to Chagny. Plenty of water, plenty of space. Enough excitement for one day, we got our books out and read. 2 enormous hotel barges arrived and parked the opposite side from us. On talking to the English crewman, we discovered these barges draw 1.5 metres (same as us) and they had come all way down the Canal du Centre. This means that they have dug us a lovely channel so we can get through.
Overnight Chagny. Position 46 54.160N 004 45.166E
Sunday 3 June 2012 Chalon sur Saone (on the Canal de Centre)
0440: what was that!?!?! Le tonner et l’eclaire = l’orage. A really loud and bright thunderstorm, right overhead, raged for about an hour. A quick dash around to ensure hatches battened down and then settled down for the rest of the dawn.
When we awoke the canal was about 1.5 – 2 inches higher than yesterday. This was partly the rain and partly a bit of leakage from the lock upstream perhaps.
Quiet day doing some maintenance and repair work. Went for a walk which was curtailed by the next downpour. Decided to stay another night.
Overnight Chalon sur Saone Position 46 48.674N 004 51.376E
Saturday 2 June 2012 Verdun sur le doubs to the first kilometer into le Canal de Centre, near Chalon sur Saone.
What a noisy place Verdun turned out to be!! We had a very pleasant afternoon walking around the tiny town, spotting some excellent ‘do-er uppers’ for Robert and Judith and having a ‘demi’ or 2 at a street-side café before returning to the boat and dinner. We had an excellent conversation in French with the manager in the Capitainerie prior to attacking the Office de tourisme next door.
On to the noisiness: a lovely quiet night was shattered at about 0500 this morning with a bunch of youths in the carpark above the marina. Lots of noisy cars with boom boxes and motorbikes (those 2 stroke things with the power of a hair dryer, the noise level of a jumbo and the irritation factor of an incessant mosquito.), coupled with copious shouting. Sleep for us was over. Funny, this noise ceased around 0800, probably because the little darlings were hungry, thirsty or needed their nappies changing.
Still, the halt was pleasant, tick in the box, find somewhere else next time.
Left Verdun at 0940, earlier than usual but for us it felt like mid-afternoon. Arrived at the entrance to the Canal du Centre at 1250 and very shortly after securing at the waiting berth, the eclusier came out and welcomed us, and in we went. A 10.7 metre rise on this, the first lock in the canal.
About 1000 metres along we found a nice flowery halt, with a L’Eclerc’ hypermarche within a stones throw and a bar at the top of the steps. Nevertheless, still a quiet halt and (so far) quieter than Verdun.
Lunch and then a handful of telephone conversations: Lesley to help with hooking up her new Mac computer and Tony/Carly to confirm their holiday arrangements. T and C and the Munchkins have our cottage for a week for a well earned holiday. We hope the weather is kind to them. Not heard back from Lesley, so hopefully all is well with the computer.
Off to L’Eclerc for a quick top up on groceries and back onboard to enjoy the afternoon breeze under our shade, protecting us from the beautiful, if rather hot, sunshine. Heaven!!
Overnight Chalon sur Saone
Position 46 48.674N 004 51.376E