August 24 Thursday
Daughter Georgie and her partner Chris arrived to visit us, travelling from Santorini to Auxonne via most modes of transport known to man including planes trains and automobiles. They arrived to a bit of a heatwave here as temperatures started to soar to 33°C. We stayed another night in Auxonne then cruised along the Saône River to St Jean de Losne, only an hour and a half south of Auxonne.
As usual SJdL was a very social stay. We watched the Bledisloe Cup rugby match (between NZ and Australia) on Saturday morning with the usual suspects and what a game it was! We won but the ABs were a mess. Heart stopping stuff! Drinks bought with the sweepstakes winnings were on the bar later that day.
August 27 Sunday. We were up early and back on the Saône by 8.30am, heading to the Canal du Rhône au Rhin entrance off the river. This waterway is the canalised part of the Doubs River, built at the end of the 18th to the mid 19th century (interrupted by the Revolution) to more easily allow the commercial floating of logs, tied up as rafts, to the Saône bypassing all the weirs. This gives access from the Rhine to the Rhône, hence the name.
The highest point is 340m above sea level with 73 locks on the Saône side and 39 on the other. We were only heading up a short distance and arrived in Dole once the locks opened after the lunch break.
Dole is, as always, beautiful. The cobblestone-clad, narrow and winding streets, the stunning Notre Dame Basilica, the pretty flower-boxes on the bridges. So attractive. Dole gets its name from an old French word for a bridge toll, and there is a little canal that runs through the town, Canal des Tanneurs, used as you can guess, by tanners back in the day. In fact the most famous Frenchman born here, Louis Pasteur, had a father who was a tanner. It’s a delight to visit and we enjoyed an lovely evening eating dinner on a restaurant terrace by the Canal des Tanneurs listening to a fabulous jazz quartet.
August 28th Monday. Another scorcher. 33° and no breeze. We did some shopping early then spent the rest of the day trying to cool off by spraying water on ourselves and standing in front of the fan. (At least that’s what I did!). The electricity for the whole quay was blown twice by the 15m Le Boat hire boat next to us, turning on all their aircon units. It happens all the time with those particular boats and I wish Le Boat told their customers to check the quay amperage before turning on all their electrics.
In the evening the kids paddled over to the little pizza place on the other side of the canal in our inflatable kayak and picked up supper. New pizza delivery method!
August 29 Tuesday. We headed up to Rochefort sur Nenon, an hour an a half further east, a lovely peaceful spot with cliffs on one side and a usually roaring weir on the other. The water level is very low at the moment and consequentially there is very little flow. We arrived just after a 18m barge with a Swiss and a Canadian on board but they kindly moved up and we hung off the end of the little quay.
Rochefort sur Nenon is such a pretty spot with a grassy bank and shady trees that the locals make good use of, even the local retirement village residents came down in the afternoon to enjoy the shade. The temperature rose again to 34°. We swam to cool off. The inflatable kayak saw some action too with Chris heading upstream in the evening. We tried to have a BBQ under the trees but the gas bottle started leaking so I cooked the sausages in a very hot galley. With no power for the fans it was a restless night.
August 30 Wednesday. Georgie got up at daybreak to walk along the cliff top path to see the sunrise and she took some beautiful photos. After breakfast they biked along the towpath while Alan and I sailed the boat back to Dole. The weather took a much cooler turn later with a thunder storm and pelting rain.
August 31 Thursday. It was cold and drizzly so we stayed inside most of the day which was a bit of a squeeze on our 11.5m boat. I think we have more unsettled weather for the next couple of days with cold overnight temperatures. Tomorrow we are hiring a car for a week so we can see take Georgie and Chris to see more sights, especially Beaune and Besançon. And we can drive them to the train station in a week’s time when they head home. We will cruise back to St Jean de Losne and catch up on maintenance and getting the boat ready for winter. We still have another month in France so there’s no hurry. Maybe we’ll squeeze in another sidetrip!
So that’s it for another week.
Here are the stats:
Auxonne to St Jean de Losne
St Jean de Losne to Dole
Engine hours: 5.9
Dole to Rochefort sur Nenon
Engine hours: 1.6
Rochefort to Dole
Engine hours: 2
Year to date:
Engine hours: 196.2