Tuesday, 13th September. Chalon sur Saône is a superb mooring for provisioning. We picked new sheets, pillows etc plus some groceries. It was hot with a southerly wind off the desert. No swimming in Chalon though. Too many boats!
Chalon Port de Plaisance mooring fee is high. €21 per night. We only stayed one night.
The next day we headed off upriver. There were lots of boat traffic for a change, particularly hire boats. We had to wait at the Ecuelles lock for a hotel barge to come down then we followed a small boat in. That’s when the drama started. The small boat motored to the front of the large lock and we came in and stopped towards the back and even from where we were we could hear the Monsieur yelling at Madam. She was holding a rope in one hand and a boat hook in the other. But she seemed not to know what to do with them. Helpfully, Monsieur screamed instructions to her. She was standing about two metres away so that could have helped her confidence I’m sure. We could hear everything and I’m pretty sure the eclusier up in his tower could hear too. Even more bellowing continued and by now they still didn’t have a rope on and the massive lock doors were closing. More panic ensued until finally Monsieur put the rope around a bollard inset into the wall of the 3.2m high lock. The wash was pretty bad too so it was lucky they did. Madam appeared to be sitting on the floor of the boat by this stage, probably mumbling and gently rocking herself. Finally the lock was full and all they had to do was cast off. But unfortunately Madam dropped their boat hook into the water. Monsieur was apoplectic. More screaming from him and then he took off out of the lock. As we tried to contain our mirth Alan noticed to wooden boat hook was floating in the middle of the lock, still ahead of us, so we thought we’d try and rescue it. With careful manoeuvring of the boat and my outstretched arm holding our boat hook we managed to hook the thing and bring it on board. Then we caught up with the little boat and I waved it around to get his attention. Monsieur was thrilled and so we got nice and close and I passed it over to Madam. She seemed rather frazzled and waved her arms around and Monsieur thanked us profusely. And off we rode into the sunset. I mean up the river but feeling rather pleased with ourselves.
Later we pulled into Seurre and they arrived a while later but they didn’t come over. Personally I think he should be ashamed of himself and we were expecting to see Madam with a packed suitcase stomping off towards the nearest railway station but no, all appeared calm so maybe that’s the way they always communicate. It was certainly entertaining!
Later on a big Le Boat Verizon (15m) pulled along side us with Americans from the Bahamas onboard. If you remember the last two times we’ve been to Seurre one of these boats had blown the power supply and everyone lost power all night so, after helping them tie up, Alan explained that if they turned on their aircon this was sure to happen again. They really liked their aircon so they kindly moved off to another quay where they appeared to have their generator running. Not sure if that was because they’d blown up the power supply there or not.There were two hotel barges tied up at Seurre, one with two Kiwis who live in Boston. We are everywhere! We followed their barge into the Seurre lock the next morning and followed them all the way up to St Jean de Losne via the very tedious 10km deviation. An enormous commercial suddenly appeared unexpectedly out of Pagny commercial port just as a cruiser was overtaking the hotel barge which must have given the cruiser crew a fright. They managed to nip in in front of the hotel barge in the nick of time before the massive commercial plowed past. Fun and games.
Once at St Jean de Losne we tied up at the fuel pontoon, intending to fill up but after 57l (€68) it cut off for some unknown reason so that was that. We cast off and headed around to Blanquarts to moor. Saturday we joined the local Kiwi contingent at a bar to watch the All Blacks beat the South Africans and later the sweepstake winner put the money on the bar and everyone trooped back to enjoy a few vins. Our plan was to stay in St JdL until Sunday when we would take some friends on a little jaunt for a few days, up to Dole on the Canal du Rhône au Rhin. However the weather has taken a turn for the worse, going from hot and sunny to cold and very wet, so maybe we’ll wait a day or two and hope for a return to our Indian Summer!
Chalon sur Saône to Seurre 5 hrs, 45 kms, 1 lock
Seurre to St Jean de Losne 2.6 hrs, 18kms, 1 lock