Saturday 24th August
Last night we had a refreshing beer across the road from our hotel and wandered around the old town, stopping to walk through 2 cathedrals, Abbaye St Germain and St Etienne Cathedral which were both beautiful and wonderfully cool.
It’s over 30 again and my bites are bothering me (ok they are driving me mental but I think they are getting better).
Today we drove off to St Florentin. We thought we would check in with France Afloat before we went to the Intermache for supplies then dropped off the rental car.
Hmm it all got a bit complicated after that.
The boat people said our boat had burnt out the starter motor yesterday and so we would have to take a completely different boat. Bit of a shame as we wanted to try out the Euroclassic but that’s ok. The replacement boat was a very nice Linsson. Quite a bit smaller but there’s only 2 of us and the front cabin has a central berth which we like (although more on that later).
Also, they said, our one way cruise will now have to be a return one as they needed to boat next week back in St Florentin.
Bit disappointed about that but they thought we could still see most of the sights if we kept on the move.
So there was some major changes in our plans but on the positive side the English couple we dealt with are lovely and very accommodating.
Which comes to the other problem. The garage where we were to leave the rental car was closed for the weekend. Which is kind of annoying considering we asked Europcar in Dijon specifically if it would be open, in fact 3 times, and they were adamant it would be open.
Oh well it’s France. C’est normale!
So we left the car at the garage and the keys at France Afloat who promised to list it on EBay and we’d split the proceeds. Deal.
We had a quick bit of instruction and once around the marina and we were off in the direction of Brienon-sur-Armançon.
Our first lock had us floundering a bit, working out how to do the ropes with two of us instead of four as we had last year. After a while we sorted out who was doing what and which bollard was best to tie which rope onto etc.
We tied up for the night in Esnon after 5 locks and had a nice dinner on the deck.
The first night on the boat it started to rain, which is a lovely sound above your head during the night. The boat is very cosy, about 9.5 meters.
However during the night I got out of bed, forgot where I was and fell down 2 steps, cracking my head on a wooden step and my back on something and crumpled into a heap. Ouch!
Alan thought I must have done some serious damage. I certainly hurt myself but nothing was broken or bleeding so I was very lucky. We were tied up in the middle of almost nowhere so calling an ambulance would have been tricky.
Sunday 25th August
We got up this morning to rain which eased off so we headed down the Canal Bourgogne. We thought we would see if we could make Auxerre in one day. That would mean about 30kms and 12 locks. It depends a lot on whether the locks are set in our favour because it takes about 15 minutes to fill up.
It rained on and off during the day as we went through Migenne and then headed down the Yonne river. We put up the Bimini which helped us stay dry but in the locks I was on the forward ropes so no shelter up there.
We ended up tied up in a lock at lunch time as the lock keeper headed off for his lunch break. We kept going through Gurgy where we passed a tea dance on the river banks. A live band and lots of couples dancing. We waved and did a bit of a dance on the deck and everyone waved back and shouted to us to join in. It was tempting! But we carried on as the rain came back. Through Monêteau and we finally saw Auxerre, a couple of locks in front of us.
That’s went the rain really started to come down and also when we realised that the moorings at the Port de Plaisance were full. We motored all the way along the shore line in the driving rain and now cold as well and then turned back in an attempt to find a spot.
Alan saw a small gap between 2 larger boats and out of one came a very nice Englishman who donned his wet weather gear and caught our forward rope to tie up then helped us tie up the rear as well (I am sure there are technical terms for these which I promise to learn one day). With some skilful manoeuvring by Alan we squeezed into the very snug spot. Alan went to the Capitanerie and paid our mooring fees and then he connected us up to shore power. And finally we were out of the wet and cold weather.
We had a cup of tea to warm up and then headed over the pedestrian bridge to the restaurant we had dinner at when we were here on Friday night (when it was 30°). Now it was more like 14°.
We both slept really well that night.
Monday 26th August.
This morning it was still raining on and off but we headed out to have a chat to the other boatees around us, soaking up all the knowledge and advice we could on buying and owning a canal boat. This is essential info for us if we are serious about this venture.
There is quite a network of kiwis living this lifestyle and enjoying it which is great to see. A large group meet every year in Auckland in February to catch up and swap information. Such a good idea.
We walked over to the Leclerc supermarket (which is only 3 mins from the port), got some bread because the boulangerie was closed and later we took our washing over to the laverie automatic. There was a serious downpour at that point so we came back to the boat settled in for an afternoon of reading and discussing boats. And a few red wines of course.
It’s now nearly 8pm and I think the rain has stopped finally! Maybe.