Today is the day. We have been in Auxerre for three weeks and its been great, especially the jazz bands we have seen at Cantinallegra on the quay opposite us.
But we are finally heading off. The water and diesel tanks are full as are the cupboards. It’s time to cast off that spring line, turn around and head downstream on the Yonne river. Destination Gurgy. Let the games begin…
Actually they already have. The generator light wouldn’t go out when we started the motor. So of course we did the single most used fix of any technical issue known to man. We turned it off and turned it back on again. Voilà. We’re off.
When I say ‘off’ I mean we motored for one minute and came up the the first lock door. Closed. Ten minutes later and the eclusier (lock keeper) strolls up and opens the gates for us. They are electric so he just uses a panel to open and close the doors and sluice gates. So in we go and tie up. The gates stay open and the eclusier disappears into his office. Hmmm. So we turn off the engine and relax.
We thought perhaps there was another boat coming but after another ten minutes the eclusier closes the gates and starts the locking process so who knows. The VNF do a pretty good job so I’m not going to guess what that was about. And we are off again. Forty minutes into our journey and we have come about a kilometre. This is slow travel, people!
Another lock and two eclusiers arrive but are working very slowly. Alan wonders if they are on a ‘go-slow’. We have been going for an hour and have traveled about two and a half kms. I guess it will take us a while to get back into slow travel mode. It’s good for us. And so nice to be back out on the river. Gurgy is ten kms downstream from Auxerre and five locks. These river locks are long and wide so take a while to fill and empty.
Speaking of locks here comes number three. No dramas. There are five boats waiting to come the other way, some hire boats and a narrow boat. Very cute. Lock number four and we pass through Monéteau which looks like a nice town and an enticing mooring under some trees but we carry on. In 2013 we came through Monéteau and there was a dance going on along the waterfront. People called to us to stop and have a dance but instead we did a little salsa on the deck to applause. Nice moment.
Lock number five has a sloping side with floating pontoons. Very easy as they float down with the boat. Nice eclusier who asks where we are staying tonight, Gurgy, and that he will call the lock after Gurgy and tell them we want to lock through tomorrow morning. Very helpful. We also tell him we are heading for the Canal Bourgogne so he knows we are turning off the Yonne at Migennes.
The weather today is a mix of cloudy and sun. The wind while we are moving is cool, just how I like it.
Once we reach Gurgy we tie up and buy a jeton (token) for €5 which gives us 12 hours of power. If we wanted water 800litres is also €5. The actual mooring is brand new with a lovely wooden quay beside a camping car park. The village has a small supermarket, a boulangerie, hairdressers (of course), bar and pharmacy. There is a restaurant that we heard is good also.
We offload the bikes and ride through the village, have a look at the church which is unfortunately locked as it looks unusual with a very plain exterior, apparently originally built in the tenth century.
We ride down beside the river to see a 400 year old black poplar and a salmon hatchery (I think that’s what it is, my translation my be a bit dodgy) then head back for a refreshing Peniché (shandy we call them) and a few wines on the deck with a lovely kiwi couple on a Locaboat hire boat. The quay is now full with eight boats, four of them hire boats. The sun is out and the temperature is 28° on the deck. Has summer finally arrived??