We very reluctantly left Dole on Friday the 18th. But after the first lock, which is still in town, we preceded to cruise up a gorgeous tree-lined canal, beautifully shading us from the already intense heat.
The VNF who control the waterways, have a number of Guard Locks that are used when the river is in flood and are left open when the levels are ok. They seem to have the majority in use and we have heard the river is in flood. Actually rumour has it that the canal is closed but it seems to be fine at this end. At least so far. The waterway goes all the way up to Germany so perhaps it’s worse up there.
We only cruised for a couple of hours and a few locks before we came to Rochefort-sur-Nenon. And no, it’s not THE Rochefort. Unfortunately. It’s more about the rock than the cheese. The 2 boat pontoon was free!
We had been followed all morning by a smaller boat and we both tied up into the pontoon in front of a line of shady trees and a sheer cliff face. The temperature by this stage were well into mid to late thirties so we tied up and immediately set ourselves up under the trees.
Later on we headed up the hill for a fabulous view of the river and then an equally fabulous beer in the village bar. Just as we arrived a large biking tour was just heading out so good timing for a table.There was also an épiciere (grocery store) where we picked up a baguette the next morning.
A weir opposite our mooring gushed with water all night but we both slept really well.
This morning we picked up our ubiquitous baguette and were back on the river by 9am. Again we had another boat follow us all morning. We went into locks with them, us in front which is not the best spot to be in a lock. We had a scare in one lock which was quite deep. We found the best way to tie up is for me to hook the stern line onto our long boat hook and drop that over a bollard. Then hand it to Alan who is keeping the boat in place. I then go to the bow and do the same with the boat hook. This particular lock was very deep and I couldn’t quite reach, even with the long boat hook so I asked Alan if we could swap as he is taller. The issues with being short! Anyway as we were about to swap so we could get a bow line on the boat behind started the automatic locking procedure without checking we were ready. Once it’s started you can’t really stop it so we had about 30 seconds to get a line on before the water started gushing out and we would have been slammed against the sides and the boat behind. In a bit of a panic I ran up the ladder and just managed to get the bow line around the bollard and back to Alan in time. I stayed up the top holding the stern line and all was fine. A near miss. I think it may have been a language issue. The people behind were very apologetic. Dramas!
Finally we made it to our next stop, Ranchot, where there is enough room on the quai for four boats. There were two already there so we and the boat behind (the people turned out to be Belgium) tied up. There is electricity and water here but the cost is only €8 per night and with the bad weather forecast we may stay a few days. After 3 days of stifling heat it seems now we are going to have a lot of rain and cooler temperatures.
Actually here comes the rain now…