After the run in with Iron Lady, we moored at Auxonne. When I say
'we' I mean 'Rosy', 'King David' and 'Pensax'. The mooring was pretty
full, so we moored 3 abreast. Auxonne is an ancient town on the
River Soanne, and well worth a wander round. The river is 'multi-user',
which means that there is a water-ski club opposite the moorings - which
means noisy whizzy outboard engines, and lots of involuntary bouncing
up and down in Rosy.
The next day we cruised down to St Jean de Losne - a real boaty place..
The Canal de Bourgogne joins the Soanne and the Soanne leads to the Med,
so at St Jean there are canally boat, sea boats, yachts, peniches - all
sorts. I got moored next to a 50 year old wooden sea-going launch
in immaculate condition. Flush decks, neat wheelhouse. All
white paint and oiled teak. I again moored with 'King David'.
They get up at 7am, and they are ready to cruise at 9am. It takes
them an hour to get themselves and the boat ready, plus an hour's morning
Bible study. The next day, they and Pensax said farewell, and I
cruised down to Verdun sur Soanne (NOT the Verdun of WW1 fame).
Verdun is another ancient town with its own dish - pochouse. It's
bits of river fish (eels, etc.) stewed in a grey sauce that has vinegar
in it (amongst other things), and served with fried slices of 2 day old
baguette. The coffee was very good.
I moored with 'Kinnel' - an ex-Cornish crab fishing boat. The owner
is heading to Turkey, which is cheap place to buy land and live (at the
moment). 'Kinnel'? It CAN'T be, I thought. But it can.
And is!! (If you're lost, try the Chinese version - Fu Kinnel).
I left early the next day. 7.30 am. Engine going, and warmed
up. Cast off. Avoid crunching the other boats as we swing
round and head for the big bridge.
Hello? Where's that girt great bridge gone? The far river
bank has disappeared. Hello?!!! Where's the NEAR bank going?!!!
It's disappearing, too. So there we are. In the middle of
the river. With thick mist!! Can't see. Can't hear.
Visibility about 3 or 4 boat lengths. Fishing method here is to
paddle a small rowing boat out into the river, anchor and fish.
So these kept hoving into view. I spent a very tense 2 hours, and
at very slow speed, before I found a mooring, and stopped for an hour
until the sun had burned the mist off.
Then On!! On!! to Chalon-sur-Soanne, where I moored behind
'Galileo' - a Dutch barge that we knew from last winter in Ghent.
Rick is an American with Syrian parents who is married to Stephanie who
is 100% Oz. A bubbly evening!!
Chalon is yet another old town. The moorings are a bit pricey, so
you can't stay long, but I took time to see the Photography Museum (Niepce,
an early photographer was born in Chalon).
Then more trouble with the elements. I had to retrace our route
by a couple of kilometres to go back up the Soanne, and to turn onto the
Canal de Centre. As I left the Chalon moorings, and HUGE black cloud
came along. As I turned into the canal, it rained. A really
hard storm. Really, really hard. Visibility was cut right
down. It kept going for 15 or 20 minutes, slackened slightly as
I went through the first lock (a 10m one!! Going up!!) and then
stopped. So did we, to dry off and change out of sodden clothing.
The last couple of days have been climbing up the Canal de Centre through
some 35 locks, several of them being over 5m deep. We're now 'resting'
on the summit level.
Resting was in quotes as I'm moored with some of the most talkative Brits
in the world as in "We're going home in September from the 9 'til
the 15th or 16th depending on how Sandra's mum is feeling as she had the
'flu very badly last week and the new doctor who has just taken over the
surgery nearest to her house ...." etc. Another one is just
as talkative, but has the added disadvantage of having a severe case of
BO. When we first met, I thought it might be me, so I did a little
bit of loosening up to get at those hard to reach places, and had a little
sniff, and I'm pretty sure it's not me but him.
That just about brings us up to date. No room for some exciting
developments on the fishing front, I fear. Can you hide your disappointment
until the next instalment from Rosy?