Blog Voyage - Days 8-14

New to Blog Voyage? Here's the links to the key days 8-14...

Day 8 - Paris to Saint Mammès

Day 9 - Saint Mammès to Mont Bouy

Day 10 - Mont Bouy to Belleville sur Loir

Day 11 - Belleville sur Loir to Port de Marseilles lès Aubigany

Day 12 - Port de Marseilles lès Aubigany to Gannay-sur-Loire

Day 13 - Gannay-sur-Loire to Diggoin

Day 14 - Diggoin to Blanzy (Saône-et-Loire)

 

Day 8 - Paris to Saint Mammès

We got out of the marina and back onto the Seine by 8.30am, a commercial boat took precedent - hence the 30 minute delay. Within a few minutes we’re out of sight on Norte Dame and the banks of the Seine are heavily populated with industrial buildings, each with their own dock.

We make good time though, with both engines working fine and pushing a few knots over the speed limit.


By 11.00am the sun is out and the girls are sunbathing.

We need to drop them off somewhere about 3.00pm to catch their flights back - then get to Saint Mammès to fuel up, find an overnight berth and meet Ian.


One of the many locks on the Seine, just to give you a sense of perspective - you’ll understand why later!


The Seine just keeps getting prettier - fabulous houses and river boats line the banks (most with docks and ski boats), it’s so wide it almost feels like we’re on a lake.

Wake boarding skiing and sunbathing seem to be the order of this particularly fine Saturday.

This is so different from this time a week ago!


We arrive at Melun, time for lunch and then the girls will get an Uber to the airport. Kate’s only had since 8.00am to get her stuff ready - ironically she’s reading a book about getting your shit together - Kate’s the only person other than Clare Watson who I know who gets her sayings mixed up (with hilarious results) the classic this trip was, ‘I don’t want to blow smoke up my own trumpet!’

Which is why every one needs a Kate or Clare in their lives. We say cheerio to the girls before heading back to the boat and upstream.


So big locks mean big boats - we’d overtaken this guy earlier so we can get ahead of home before the next lock. As he stealthily enters the lock as it miraculously shrinks before our eyes - Josh questions my strategy as it inches alongside us.


As the lock opens were off - don’t want to experience that again!
Everywhere I can, I push the boundaries on speed - checking out the engines I take Quiet Storm up to 17knots, (there are other speedboats at this speed - and it is as wide as a lake) I want to put distance between us and the container ship.

An hour later and we approach our last lock of the day - it takes an age to open and if you’ve ever seen the film juggernaut then you’ll understand how we were feeling.

But you guessed it - he made the lock - no way he did that at 6 or 7 knots!
As we leave this final lock, we have to find fuel - it’s there - we pull up, the attendant looks like something out of a Zombies horror movie - he asks us to move forward to the other dock - a small ‘piece of Armco' protruding from the bank.


Guess what.... Yep the container ship pulls alongside at the main pump - completely blocking us in. what’s more, they’re there for the night. We are on the opposite side of the Seine to where we want to be - there’s a bridge and we can hear (we could see it until the container ship docked!) a festival with stage, stalls and lots of people. We finish filling and the container ship captain offers to ‘let us out’ or we can wait until he leaves at 7.00am - before he changes his mind our engines are started and we wait for his bow to swing out into the river and negotiating the small gap between the Armco, a pile dock and the wall of steel of the container ship we slip back out onto the Seine.

We double back towards the lock we’ve just left as we’ve seen the entrance to the Canal de Long - we have read there are berths and facilities but can’t see anywhere obvious - entering the Canal we tie out to a disused lock and get the boat ship shape for Ian’s arrival - at 6’4” - Ian has elected to sleep on the sun pad (let’s say it’s convenient for him ...)


Ian arrives and we head to a bar, then the festival (no where else is doing food) it’s free to enter but they ask for a donation. More beer required - so we can continue drinking in the food queue - two rounds later we have our food!


Back to Quiet Storm - more wine, a bottle of Old Man (Rioja), very nice followed by a brandy night cap - welcome aboard Ian Bray!


Day 9 - Saint Mammès to Mont Bouy

I wake early, before my 5.45 alarm, we set off at 6.00am sharp - the waterway is a lot different to the Seine - 6.15am the first of 18 locks in 50km on the Canal du Long - 6.30am Josh calls the number on the board and wakes the lock keeper who's on call - the locks open 7.00am comes his reply!.

7.00am, the lights change and the lock opens - a lock keeper waits for us. Once in and ready he tells Josh the rules of the road, presents us with a remote to open the locks (best we’ve achieved is about 500ms range).

Once in the lock you lift the blue pole to activate the cycle - to start we’re cautious - by lock 10 we’re a ‘pit stop crew’ and we push on trying to estimate our progress - very slow we average 5km per hour.


Low bridge - our air draft is 2.75m plus the radar and navigation light so about 3.3m. The bridges are 3.5 minimum (we check just in case - but we clear them with ease).


6kts is the speed limit - Quiet Storm wasn’t made for canals and 6kts creates quite a wake (we later discover this is 6Km's (4kts!).

Toilet duties!

We have a holding tank, so when we flush it doesn’t go into the river or canal, however to flush it does draw water from whatever we happen to be in. And we’re in a canal which obviously blocked the intake filter - let’s just say Josh was highly motivated to get it fixed - so in no time had it stripped, cleaned and back in working order - then for good measure, gave it a thorough testing!

Approaching another low bridge - relax, we made it!


We spot a great looking bar on the bank of the canal and decide to moor up 200m upstream just after passing through another lock.


The time in 1.58pm and after yesterday we get a march on to arrive before they close. The barmaid is barking (but in a good way) and they stay open all day until 1.00am.

We leave at three after a great lunch, a few beers and a conversation with the owner Pete, who is Scottish. He explains how they have lots of groups play and recently they had someone from Lynyrd Skynyrd play Sweet Home Alabama (one of my favourites). Back on the move again just after three (and making full use of their facilities).


There are so many pretty villages but this was Montargis.

Montargis is where we also experienced our first lady lock keeper (and it was manual).


We now are against the clock - having left the pretty place with the lady lock keeper we are against it to do x2 manned locks, then reach a flight of x4 automated locks - before the 7.00pm shutdown of the lock system (and a curfew for pleasure craft). We push the boundaries of the speed limit and we are told by the last lock keeper there are x4 locks ahead - and they are automated. We’ve handed in our ‘remote lock operator’ in to the lady lock keeper - so we’ll figure it out when we get there. We get there at 6.20pm - can we do it? 6.45pm the lock still hasn’t opened and we’re just resigning ourselves to a canal bank mooring for the night when the lock keeper shows up - stops, does something - leaves without speaking or even acknowledging us - what’s going on!!

We start to back up to the previously spotted mooring and the light turns green and the lock opens.

We go for it - nervous about what happens next - the lock opens once it’s cycle is finished and the next lock goes green - could we just do it (as the time hits 7.00pm) but all the locks keep opening and closing.

We make it through - phew - get the beers out!

8.5kms and we moor just in front of the next lock - in a place called Mont Bouy - I can't believe the fuel gauge hasn't moved since we filled up yesterday.  Josh and Ian get to sorting the electric and filling the water tanks. We explore the place, it’s 8.15pm - the place is closed. But we find the toilets.

Hmmmm - I suppose it’s better than the alternative.

Josh is on the phone ordering pizza to be delivered and the guy is getting frustrated - ever resourceful Josh runs to a French lady who greeted us on arrival - can you please translate? (See the Gazebo) She bins off the guy and calls another number - she says it’s sorted but it won’t be delivered until 10.00am - cool!

As I write this - the guy turns up 10.00pm on the dot with x3 pizzas, I’ll tell you what they were like tomorrow!

 

Day 10 - Mont Bouy to Belleville sur Loir

So we wake early (the pizzas from last night we’re fantastic by the way) and I go off to visit the facilities (just in case the toilet fairy visited in the night) -
Hmm? No toilet fairies but needs must. Wash my hands and off to the boulangerie - get croissants and bread, then back to the boat to sort the raw water filters - the Starboard engine is overheating again. After sorting the filters we think the impeller is damaged but the speeds we’ll be travelling we should be ok.

 

We’re off - the couple behind us on a converted French barge give up their slot to help us get underway. The guy even helps the lock keeper - what a nice gent!

 

As there were no facilities, we are starting to hum - Josh is the first to shower off at the back of the boat - I’ve spared the pictures of Ian and I! But Maggs will be sorry to see he’s changed from her favourite shirt to a more conservative white one!

The locks come thick and fast


We get to Rogny 11.55am, the lock is quiet - Josh gets off and uses the phone - we are told the lock is closed till 1.00pm for lunch. We moor up and get lunch too.


The town is quiet and we see the old lock system which gives us an idea of what lies ahead.

We return to the boat and wonder about the locks up - it’s knackering, lock after lock going up (24 locks 16 up and 8 down). Then at the top we are aware of the lakes around us - which are filled by pumps from the Loire.


The bridges are just as low.


Then we pass through Briare and over the Loire - we have a metre either side for 600m and we can’t believe there is no traffic system - nothing coming the other way - so we go for it!


After a slow start with all the locks, we make up time and push on through until 7.00pm (we’ve travelled 53 Km) - we make it just past the lock in Belleville sur Loir and moor up, relax with a drink before exploring the town.

We walk into town and find a bar called Le Diapason (the only place open). The place is nice and the food is great - we get some home made ‘alcoholic digestive’ and an impromptu performance from the owner, before setting back to the boat. We take a different route back - just like the journey there, we saw no people (the place is very pretty but in a ‘Stepford’ way) and we are attacked by mozzies (probably because we’re the only ones out). Back to the boat and a night cap - let’s see what tomorrow brings.

 

Day 11 - Belleville sur Loir to Port de Marseilles lès  Aubigany

I wake, check the time - 6.20am - my alarm is set for 6.55am. As I lay there wondering what type of day lies ahead - I hear Ian sorting out his bed. I pop my head up in the cockpit and there’s nobody there. We saw a boulangerie yesterday - it opens at 7.00am, he’s gone to get breakfast - good man!

 


Ian return and the morning sun and blue sky tell me it’s a topless day - both for the boat and me (I’ll spare you the pictures of me and Ian!).

 


As if by magic - when all the jobs are done (raw water strainers cleaned and put back, boat topped up with water, boat hoses down, table laid, coffee made) - Josh gets out of bed and joins us just in time for breakfast.

 


We have 7km to the next lock so set off at 8.00am sharp, before the breakfast pots are cleaned away - we can do them on the move - as we arrive at the lock we see two boats ahead of us, it’s 8.50am - they are waiting for the lock to open. I think about the Robert Cialdini book on persuasion and remember the photocopier queue experiment (they got people who tried pushing in with little success - but when a reason was given the people in the queue happily let the person join in front of them - worth a go I thought!)

Josh positions our boat against the first boat (2nd in the queue) and I speak with a German lady who speaks perfect English -  ‘We’re taking this boat to Lyon and have a long day ahead of us - would it be possible to go ahead of you?’

‘Sure’ came the reply - result - now I approach the boat in pole position, it has about 10 blokes onboard, football scarfs tied to the hand rails, same line again but this time the guy comes back with ‘the lock takes two boats...’

Hmm.. I respond with, ‘we’ll still be behind you and we won’t be able to overtake’.

‘Ok no problem’ came his response - and we push ahead of them - as we did the questions from the other guys onboard came thick and fast, directed at the guy who’d given us the nod - I’m not sure his colleagues were too impressed!


After the lock keeper's promptness to stop for lunch at 11.55am (not 12.00 noon as advertised) we weren’t too surprised when the lock keeper showed up at 9.05am - gave all three boats a look of distain before unhurriedly opening the lock - he wants all three boats in - this is going to be cozy!

 

We’re in pole position and as the lock opens we set off with the mission of getting to the next lock so far ahead of the other two boats we can stretch our lead further with each lock.

 


We arrive at the next lock, the lock keeper makes us tie up at the same position as the previous lock ...and says ‘There are two more boats coming....and there is a speed limit on the canal.’

 

The lock keeper telephones ahead so the next lock is waiting for you and as we waited 10 minutes for the other boats to arrive (plenty of time for the lock cycle) we assess the situation and decide to go with the flow, slow down and see what happens.

 


The journey to the next lock was a lot more sedate (passing through the Sancerre wine region - see the vineyards behind Ian) and we enjoyed the sun - as the lock came into view there was another boat waiting - result, we don’t have to wait for the German ladies - and when we went through the lock, the lock keeper asked if we wanted to go through the next lock before 12.00pm (when the canal lock keepers stop for an hour lunch break). YES! (We had written this off as an option – but it was now a possibility!).

We push on knowing we can’t speed but we don’t know how many boats might be waiting for us at the lock. Halfway and another hire boat emerges from a side inlet - it’s now between us and the Germany football fans.

 

We increase our speed a little and as we approach the lock these a boat just entering - it’s going our way - we enter the lock behind it and there’s no waiting for the other boats - the lock keeper finishes for lunch in 10 minutes - we exit the lock at 11.59am.

 

Probably the only victory for the English over Germany this World Cup – but it’s only half time! A leisurely 6km and we’ll be at the next lock but we can keep moving while the lock keepers have their lunch. We follow the other hire boat and eventually they wave us past (saving me the task of asking if we can queue jump!)

 

They stop for lunch and we continue through the next lock.

At the next lock is a plump red faced lady lock keeper, with a red face - she tells us there’s another boat coming - we tell her there isn’t - 20 minutes later she decides to go with our version (a lock cycle takes 10-15 minutes!). As we elevate in the lock the boat that waved us past and stopped for lunch appears - the lady lock keeper looks at me as if to say ‘I told you so’ (yes but wait long enough and there’ll always be a boat coming!).

 

The next lock keeper is on it, we’re straight in, he shuts the lock and we get told off again for speeding (remember each lock keeper telephones ahead to inform of the boats eta – yesterday when they weren’t so busy it wasn’t a problem, but today more tourist traffic so obviously it is – they want to optimise their efficiency – in other words manage the minimal changes possible).

 

The only commercial craft we've passed and he leaves minimal room for us to pass!

 

We’re doing our best to speed things up and at the last two locks (300m apart) we can get through before the 7.00pm shut down - we decide to call it a day, 9kms to the next lock - we can do that before 9.00am (Plus this place has got showers!!)

We moor up and walk across the bridge to the bar - get some provisions and have a beer. It’s 6.55pm, the Germans rise out of the lock in extra time - bloody hell will England ever beat them at anything!!

The Germans moor next to us, set up camp and as we return to our boat there’s a roar of laughter (from them) and resignation (from us).

 

They couldn’t be nicer guys - they chat and get us beers...

 

from their beer machine!
They invite us on their boat and we return the favour.

 

Here are the guys!!

Josh returns, the place next to the provisions shop sells the tokens for the showers - it’s shut - we shower off the back of the boat again and wonder what the night holds - could be messy (but we’re all knackered) or just noisy (as the Germans seem a boisterous bunch).

We plan to get up, repeat the process (cleaning the filters, etc, etc), we managed 55Km - bloody lock keepers!.

 

Time for bed and Ian drops down the last of the two tables, adds the remaining sunpad, and sets out his bedding for another night. Boating is just posh camping Carl Barton once told me.

Will let you know what happens tomorrow!

 

Day 12 - Port de Marseilles lès Aubigany to Gannay-sur-Loire

Ian returns from the boulangerie and, no surprise the Germans were there first.

We’ve got 9.5km before the first lock - we aim to be there at 9.00am.

 


We say hello to our new German friends and get on our way.

 


As we leave Port de Marseilles we note the beauty and start our breakfast on the move.

 


My timing is a little out so I give it some beans to get us there for 9.00am - ‘just around the corner after this bridge’ Josh tells me - I slow but note a car slowing as it drives over the bridge – I spot it’s the lock keeper (Busted!) We arrive at the lock and there are three boats waiting to travel in the opposite direction - fortunately the water is our level, so we go first.

 


Once through the lock Ian takes the helm and Josh mops the deck to get rid of the dew and spruce the boat up - he’s so happy in his work he signals he’s No1 deck hand (or at least that’s what I think he means).

 


We arrive at Giétin 10.00am - a double lock, there’s a boat coming down and we spot a cafe. Ian wants to check if ‘their facilities’ are up to scratch - and we are called for the lock before he returns - it’s a ‘mega’ lock.


When the sluices open its like being next to a waterfall.

 


As we ascend, there’s Ian with the coffees - Ian climbs aboard just before we enter the second chamber - as we rise we see the canal aqua duct taking us over the Loire for the second time in our journey through France. Josh calculates we’ll arrive at the next lock at 1.00pm (just as the lock keepers finish lunch!).

 

The Loire is the longest river in France and the 171st longest in the world.


We catch up with a boat ahead and he doesn’t spot us until he’s in the lock – as soon as we’re out of the lock on the other side he waves us past. We overtake, but with the knowledge the next lock will wait for him – so we pass and tootle along at the speed limit. The next lock we enter and wait for him, Josh helps the lock keeper to speed up the process – the locks open and the boat shoots forward instead of back - after some quick alterations and trying to figure out what the hell happened – we now know why the other guy let us go first! The same thing happens at the next few locks and as the hours tick by we wonder where we’ll make it to before 7.00pm.
We have another lock with a bridge over a river, seemed too small to be the Loire, but ahead I’d spotted another boat cast off (presumably having stopped for lunch) and I make it our mission to catch them before the next lock (as only two boats seem to be going through) miss it and we’ll be waiting for our friend.
We catch him but he turns into a marina before the next lock, we push on – if we make this lock for 5.00pm, there’s a chance we can stop at Gannay – it’s got showers and toilets – otherwise we’ll be on a canal tow path. The locks are all in our favour and we notice the lock keepers are a lot more chilled in the final hours of the day - they ask where you plan to stay – then call ahead to the next lock keepers. Some even encouraging us to speed to make it to the next lock in time for our destination.

 

We finally get through the last lock and as we exit, it’s 7.00pm – we check out the facilities (let’s not go there but they are better than the ones I previously photographed) and get chatting to a couple in a camper van – they’re heading back having retired Christmas and have been away since February. We contemplate where to go as the restaurant/bar is closed and the next town is 1km away – we open a beer or two… or three (plus a few bottles of wine) and I muster up something to eat from our provisions.

We did 73km's and a lot of locks!

Tomorrow morning the lock opens at 9.00am and it’s 3km away

 

 

 

Day 13 - Gannay-sur-Loire Diggoin

Thursday morning (summer solstice) starts with a thick head and a cold shower in the facilities, no visit to the boulangerie this morning (the nearest one is 1km by foot), so breakfast is cereal on the move - we set off at 8.00am to get to the lock early and tie up on the bank at 8.30am awaiting the lock keeper to start at 9.00am

There’s a boat which looked like it had been moored there the night (but going in the opposite direction) and it was flying the Ensign - Brits!

We get chatting to the couple, Vanessa and Spike who are originally from Hertfordshire and have been living on their boat ‘Adventurer’ for the last two years and travelling the World for the past twenty - really nice people - we chat for until the lock to opens and then say our goodbyes.
The lock opens prompt at 9.00am and the lock keeper seems cheerful - maybe I was wrong about the lock keepers?

 

At the next lock we go through swiftly but the following one we lose time as two boats come through hit in the opposite direction - however the dapper lock keeper and is funky house with ‘beach hut’ office puts a smile on our faces

 


Josh chose to shower off the boat gain, based upon the feedback on the facilities at Gannay-sur-Loire

 

Not sure if it was a regional trait but the lock keepers are definitely more miserable on this stretch - we think at this lock the older guy is telling his understudy not to be so cheerful.

 

3km from Diggoin we are the unwelcome interruption to a fishing match where all the participants are using roach poles and fishing off the opposite bank.

 


As we rise from the lock at Diggoin we see there’s another aqueduct crossing the Loire

 

The Loire is an impressive site and later we take the opposite view from the bank, where we eat – but more about that experience later!

One for the ladies!!

No, not Josh, see the guy on the boat behind him!

 


We’re over half way by distance and maybe two more days on the canals, then we’ll enter the river system again - and join the Saône – things should speed up again then – and we’ll be on our way to the Med.

 


We fuel up, both the boat and ourselves, with a few beers on the trip to the supermarket – the next phase of our route has lots of lock and it’s likely we’ll end up on a canal bank.

 

We walk into the town centre, we’ve been told by a fellow Brit boater of a good restaurant and that there’s a music festival on. Wherever we’ve been there’s a noticeable difference between the density of population in the UK and France.

 


We enjoy the atmosphere and different musicians as we walk through the town and arrive at the recommended venue, the setting is perfect and we look onto the aqueduct we crossed earlier in the day

 

It really is a stunning sight

 

Back to the restaurant – this is, without doubt, the rudest and most ignorant man we’ve met on our journey. I saw him put a plate of food down in front of a lady so hard, some of the fries fell in her lap. He really is sit-com material – the food was ok to be fair, apart from Ian’s ‘egg mayonnaise’ which had little imagination - but we left as soon as we’d eaten and before Josh punched him.

 


As we retrace our steps back to the boat the town just got prettier

 

We decided to join the audience from the comfort of a bar.

 


There seemed to be a lot of effort put in to the event, and a distinct lack of people compared to what we would expect in the UK. But the sounds and sights make an interesting walk back to the boat and we hit the sack having done another 50kms.

Lets see what tomorrow brings??

 

 

Day 14 - Diggoin to Blanzy (Saône-et-Loire)

Ian’s up and out early to get the croissants and when he returns we get the boat sorted, topped up with water.

 

We’re off - we figure 20 minutes to the lock and we’ll have breakfast. As we berth we see the lock is open but the traffic light system is on red - I get off the boat after making coffee and go to explore the lock 8.40am - it’s green!!

We’re on our way, but at the next lock we need the help of a group of cyclists - the pull cord to operate the lock is in an almost unreachable position for our boat (designed for the sea and not canals).

 

On leaving Diggoin we’re also leaving the Canal latéral à la Loire behind and entering the Canal du Centre - this has 26 locks going up, 35 going down over 112km - we want to do it in x2 days as Kathy and Maggie (Ian’s wife) are driving to meet up on Saturday - we’re banking on being at Chalon-sur-Saône by then.
We spot the next lock ahead and there’s a boat in it - as we get to about 1km the light goes red and the doors shut. I challenge myself to catch up before the next lock (another 3.5km ahead) and get busted by the lock keeper driving on the road parallel with the canal.


Around the next corner is the lock and as it comes into sight there are two boats ahead, not one. Both Dutch and travelling together - the lock is on red and there is a boat in it coming down - it’s a few minutes before 1.00pm and we’re wondering if the locks stay open or are switched off between 12.00 and 1.00pm - and will it take three boats? Josh checks the dimensions - the lock is 39m - yes, it’ll take all three of us.

The boat comes out, the light goes green and we are waved ahead by the smaller craft (and we now know why nobody wants the front slot!) so we're prepared and have two lines. We get inside the lock and it works like clockwork, we move on to the next lock ‘green light’ - we enter, tie up and await the rest of our convoy.

The Dutch signal to pull the cord - Josh pulls and nothing. Each person on every boat has a go - we conclude the French lock keepers break obviously impacts on automatic locks - we wait 95 minutes (not patiently but looking for any clue as to what to do or who to call).

Eventually a lock keeper shows and resets the lock in about 5 minutes. He then asked how far we are travelling, the Dutch say 1 more lock - we tell him until the locks close at 7.00pm - he shrugs and pulls a face - he’ll have the last laugh tonight!

The Dutch leave the convoy and Quiet Storm is free to plough ahead once more.

 

We make good time and are a really efficient team in the next few locks. Lock Oceans 11 reminds us of the film.

 


Oceans 10 no lights, it’s 5.00pm - what’s going on.


I walk to a restaurant opposite and there are a couple of older guys, I speak in school boy French and with a combination of hand gestures, pointing and expressions they understand and talk and point amongst themselves.

Josh had been on the phone to VNF (via the website) when the lock keeper had arrived previously - he put the number in my phone and I called it. The lady who answered guessed I was English and put me on to another lady - she explains that I’ve called VNF Paris and assures me she’ll help - but first I had to tell her where we were - reading the lock number and description didn’t do that (unbelievable but true) but being really helpful, she gave me a number which Josh punched in his phone and asked us to send a location pin. As Josh was doing this, the two guys at the restaurant were joined by a third who zipped off on a motorbike. However or whoever, we don’t know but the lock lights come on, we pull the cord and it kicks into action.


We navigate the next few locks and soon we’re at Montceau-les-Mine - it’s a big town and we run parallel with the street traffic then notice the road blocks our route - traffic lights tell us to stop - a couple of minutes and the traffic stops, the bridge lifts and we pass through.

200m ahead the same again - we pass the control tower wave politely to the operator and the process repeats.

To reveal a third bridge, this time a foot bridge - there are no pedestrians but we are kept waiting - a man walks onto the bridge and the warning bells sound - he starts to run. We think the operator is playing with us (or the pedestrian).


We pass through the town marina, it’s 6.00pm and we have an hour to get as far as we can. At the next lock there’s a blonde girl who activates the lock - and as we rise she asks in English - how far are we going - until the locks stop (a mistake we now know). She goes into the office, the lock keeper from earlier has shown up and she returns to say - that all the locks are now closed and we can stay there for the night.
We push on, the locks are automatic, surely we are good for another hour - we arrive at the lock and the lights are off. Josh suggests we should have told them the next village, 2km on the other of Ocean 8 (the lock we moored in the shadow of that night).


We moor up, get the beers out and the BBQ on - and discuss the French, the fact we don’t speak the language and imagine how pissed off that must make them!

We’ve done 52.5km - but not as far as we’d have liked - but not bad going considering.

Josh DJ’s the night playing the most obscure requests Ian and I can come up with - using his apple music he plays them all. We’re meeting Maggie and Kathy tomorrow - can’t say where yet though as there are so many locks on our next stretch of canal.

 

Read Blog Voyage - Days 15-21

 

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