A catch up blog- We have lost track of each other.

Over the last few weeks we have changed our plans and moved the boat quite a long way and I realise you might have lost track of us and not know where we are or what we are doing.

Narrow locks only 1.3 meters wider than the boat- a tight fit

Narrow locks only 1.3 meters wider than the boat- a tight fit

Two months ago we had decided that we would sell the boat in September, buy a car and caravan and complete the second half of our Gap Year by road! However, when we did the research on living in a caravan for the winter, it proved not such a good idea (very few sites are open during winter and we would have less than half of the space we have on the boat). So we decided to hold onto the boat for the winter and live on it in France.

We have to make a trip to Ireland in October so that I can have my knee looked at again by the consultant. We will take Nuala’s car back to France with us. That will give us car transport in France (if you remember I sold my car, my motorbike and my fish tank as part of financing this Gap Year).

After looking around and thanks to some great advice from Peter and Denni Pringle we decided on Chalon sur Soane as the best winter mooring option. It is as far South as we can get to keep warm and it is a big town with lots of facilities.

Low bridges so we have to take down the canopy and crawl through

Low bridges so we have to take down the canopy and crawl through

This decision was made in Koblenz at the junction of the Rhine and Moselle so it involved a journey of 715 km 158 locks 2 tunnels and travelling on The Moselle, Canal du Marne au Rhin, Canal des Vosges,  La Petite Saone and Saone River to reach our winter destination at Chalon!(See the map of the route). On this Gap Year, we are never ones to shirk a challenge or a new experience so after planning the route on our navigation software to make sure it was possible, we set off for Chalon.

Misty morning -sometimes there is so much fog we have to wait until it clears - sign winter coming

Misty morning -sometimes there is so much fog we have to wait until it clears – sign winter coming

As you will remember from our previous blog, we met a lock keeper who visits Ireland regularly and thanks to him we found out that the Canal des Vosges was due to shut in two days due to lack of water. By cruising for 10 hours per day and getting through 86 locks in three days we managed to get past the summit and start down the other side of the canal. We missed the dead line by two locks ( because we got delayed by the only commercial barge on the system and one lock failed to work).

Our route the past couple of weeks

Our route the past couple of weeks

Fortunately, the VNF staff took pity on us and held the system open until we got past the critical point which was lock 18. We were the last boat to get through this year and I had to push through the mud to get over the top (I had this image in my head that the VNF staff were running a lottery on us to see if we could make it!) – So now you will understand why there have been no blogs for a few days!

La Petite Saone

La Petite Saone- look how low the water leve is

Now we are on the Petite Saone at Port sur Saone tonight and only 185 km and 20 locks from our destination. We should be there on Tuesday unless we get another hold up like today when an automatic lock would not work and when we rang the VNF number we got an answering machine saying they would not be there from 12.30 to 15.30pm. We reversed the boat for two kilometres and retried the entry process. Luckily it worked.

The weather is wonderful, sunshine all day, so we are quite blessed for our last week of cruising.

 

C'est la Vie

C’est la Vie- see how little room to spare

 

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4 Responses to A catch up blog- We have lost track of each other.

  1. pauline says:

    Superb pic of misty morning – lucky guys migrating South as winter closes in ! pauline

    Like

  2. Deni pringle says:

    Hi guys,

    Glad to hear aok an think Chaplin a great choice for you, we wintered there an enjoyed it very much especially if you have a car with you,

    Don’t forget you are in the heart of the burgundy wine region, make sure you visit the villages of mersault, puligny Montrachet an corton Charlemagne, they are the most famous wines in the world !!!! The food market in Chalfont on a Saturday morn is a must as is a trip to Lyon an whilst there visit Paul bocusse les halles food market, it’s fab !!!

    Any info you want on the area please ask as we are very familiar from driving thri it many many times over the years on our commute from the south due to not flying,

    Love to you both, d an p xxxx

    Like

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