It’s the day after Bastille Day and time to leave Auxonne. We headed downstream and south.
The marina in Auxonne, Port Royal, was a lovely spot to spend the holiday weekend. And very social. Last night the Capitanerie put on a BBQ and everyone gathered to enjoy a casual dinner, wine or two and the feux d’artifice (fire works).
Photos of fireworks never work, do they. I thought I’d try the special feature on my camera but, as we say in NZ, yeah, nah.
Anyway we had planned to cruise down the Petite Saône for only 12 Km’s until we reached The Spot. The Spot was that perfect wild mooring we found on the way up and apparently we weren’t the only ones who knew about it. In fact we met a couple on their boat, Iron Maiden, who had christened it The Spot and apparently we had stolen it from them last time. So it was no surprise to find another boat parked there this morning. Very disappointed. But we had a look around, poking our bow into a few other possibilities. Me jumping off, pulling my shoulder, wrenching my knee, getting bitten by ants, to no avail. All too shallow.
So on to Plan B. Head up the Canal Rhône au Rhin. We waited patiently for the light to go green and headed into the lock. I put the ropes onto my boat hook and a lock keeper transferred it to his boat hook and put it over the bollards that was quite a way up, maybe 3 metres. After we had risen up to the top of the lock the lock keeper called us into his office where we had to show our VNF vignette (a bit like a car registration, showing we have paid for a year fees on the canals). Then he handed us a remote, like a tv remote, which allows us to control the locks ourselves on this canal.
He was quite a character with good English and a quirky sense of humour. He explained how the remote worked, we said yes, ok, no problem. Then he gave it to us and tested us on how it worked. Ummm, I obviously wasn’t listening. Forgot the essential “turn it on” bit.
Anyway, he then ‘suggested’ we take down the high metal frame on our boat that holds the lights as the bridges on this canal are quite low. We really need to get this changed on the boat because it takes ages to remove and clutters the deck when it’s down.
Finally we were away down the canal, the second lock just around the corner from the first.
We know it’s scary because the lock keeper told us it is forbidden to stop in that area,for about two Km’s and also because there are signs everywhere advising boaters that if we hear a siren we should leave the area immediately or go into our cabin and close the doors and windows. And leave immediately. There’s some scary scary chemicals being made in those factories!
Although two years ago we cruised around a corner on the Canal Lateral a la Loire to find a nuclear power station. So there you go. Nothing’s perfect. C’est normale, as the French say.
Finally at 6.30 we made it to a mooring in the village of Choisey. This was one of the oldest villages in the area, is built at the bottom of a hill that used to be planted with vines and has been around since the Gallo Roman era. There’s a couple of chateaux, Chateau de Menthon, an 18thC classified historic monument, and also another chateau with an English park to see tomorrow.There’s only one other boat here and the evening is beautiful.
A hot air balloon just slowly drifted across the sky and the swallows (I think they are swallows) are darting up and down the canal, swooping and scooping up insects on the surface of the water. There is a lone swan looking for bread and the frogs are about to start their evening chorus. And boy they can make a lot of noise. Tomorrow we head to Dole, a beautiful town that we visited by car last year and we are really looking forward to cruising into the middle of it via the canal instead of by car. Church bells just chimed 10pm and we are both knackered so off to bed!