​Cruise August 27- September 1

27/8 August
Daze off.

It’s so relaxed here, and with no rush to get back we gonna stop here for a couple of days. I got on with some minor repairs, fix some poppers that have had their terminal pop on the back door canvass cover, etc. We were going to repair the canvas for the cockpit, the seams have stretched and need waterproofing, but Vee thinks it’ll be a lot easier if we have a park or picnic bench to work on, instead, while Vanessa hems some of the curtains,  I pick sloes for sloe gin.

And we love you too Adventurer

29 August
An easy ten klick, eight lock trip along to Plombières-les-Dijon, the lockie knew what he was about and took us all the way. There is a huge park with a lake in Dijon, expectation being that it would be very similar to Auxerre and we can moor up and spend a few daze chilling before heading across the plains and home. The reality we found with a cycle reconnaissance ride is that the canal here is too shallow for mooring alongside the park and chock full of weeds. Also, from our six klick recon along the canal, we decide that Dijon is too big, noisy, smelly and has more than a passing resemblance to a shithole for two people that have been in rural France for the last three months. We don’t want to go back yet, but we also don’t want to stay away for the sake of it, so we went for a beer and a conflab. We asked for Leffe and got Jupiler, (yuk), and the waitress short changed us, so we decided then and there to go straight through Dijon tomorrow and head for home.
1204.8 engine hours.

191.4 trip hours.

3.1 hours today.

8 locks 10 km.

Total 360 locks 645 km.

pk 207 Plombières-les-Dijon on the Canal de Bourgogne.
30 August
We’d been told by various cruisers along our way that Dijon is currently a nightmare for weed, being the only way home for us, (without turning around and going back the way we came), we have to go through with the expectation that whatever work is being done will be finished by the time we pass through. Oh poor naive children. I’m not talking weed happily growing on the bottom of the canal, it may have been but whatever work was (half) done means that that weed is now on the surface, so much that lock gates are hard to close, which is a problem, cause water. Not so far back the locks had rakes that they use to clear flotsam out of the water, not here where it is really needed. I know that being close to a city means stuff needs to be locked up, but at one lock the lockies asked me if I had a rake onboard (?¿!), we used some boathooks instead. At one lock, which just so happened to be right outside a VNF depot, where they store all their toys, we had to wait quite a while for them to clear away so the gates would close. To avoid any propeller damage I was jumping off the boat as soon as I could and pulling Adventurer into the lock, then pulling her out via boathook on escape ladders and lock gates until we are out of the weed before spinning the prop. Nightmare! The fact that this stuff is allowed to build up RIGHT OUTSIDE THE VNF DEPOT speaks volumes of a company that wants the money, but doesn’t want to work for it. Ooh love/hate relationship with the VNF.

Trying to clear the weed so the gates can close.

We moored, I cycled several klicks for some much needed supplies and some chicken for a much needed jalfrezi. (See, I did that without mentioning how expensive the chicken was)!
1209.9 engine hours.

196.5 trip hours.

5.1 hours today.

12 locks 13 km.

Total 372 locks 658 km.

pk 220 Ouges on the Canal de Bourgogne.

31 August
Yesterday we cleared through Dijon, we didn’t play tourist, which is unfortunate but hey ho, I was more upset at not going back to that bar. Now we’re on the plains, the canal betwixt Dijon and St-Jean is a twenty five klick straight line (near enough) of flat land, even the map book says it’s boring, the only thing to say is that thankfully, we left the weed behind, (I don’t think I’ve ever spoken so disparagingly of “weed” before). Because there’s not much to see or do in this stretch, it was always going to be our calm down bit before home.
1212.7 engine hours.

199.3 trip hours.

2.8 hours today.

7 locks 7 km.

Total 379 locks 665 km.

pk 227 lock 68 just north of Longecourt on the Canal de Bourgogne.

Colour

1 September
Last day. I don’t really know what to say, unfortunately I’m writing this four days later, there was just so much to do on returning. Anticlimax? For you and me both, nah, it was a great last days cruise, no lockie shenanigans, in fact we had the same brilliant lady from yesterday, she took us nigh on all the way from Dijon to St-Jean. We decided not to go all the way in to St-Jean, instead we have moored a klick out where it’s quiet, there’re very little passers by, the kids can finally (after forty eight hours stationary) come and go as they please with the cat flap now unlocked. 

Circumnavigation of the Bourgogne.

That’s it, I am out of words, I’ll be writing something in a week or so time, summary or summery, I don’t know. There is one more thing to say….
IT’S BEEN AWESOME!
1215.9 engine hours.

202.5 trip hours.

3.2 hours today.

7 locks 13 km.

Total 386 locks 678 km.

pk 240 just north of St-Usage on the Canal de Bourgogne.
All Stop! Thank you for reading.

Home, we’ll do that last klick when the time comes.

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Cruise August 22-26

22 August

Not much to say, cruise was fine, we moored at a little out of the way place, unfortunately the “road” that should have been a cycle path is actually a road, but with only five cars passing all afternoon it wasn’t so bad. We also had to moor in full sun as in Vandanesse we managed (deliberately), almost full shade, so the solar cells had a day off too, so now our soc (state of charge) is below 80%, nothing to worry about, but if it clouds over, it could be. We bought a duff coconut, I always shake them, if they have liquid inside the chances of them being okay is better, but this one was off, annoying at €2 a pop, coconuts are so good to munch while cruising along.

August?¿!

1191.4 engine hours.
178 trip hours.
2.7 hours today.
9 locks 7 km.
Total 328 locks 608 km.
pk 170 Crugey on the Canal de Bourgogne.

23 August

One of those mornings, but if it hadn’t have been we wouldn’t have moored in such a super spot. We arrived at the first lock at nine o’clock, but the lock keepers didn’t, they rolled in at twenty past but didn’t look to be setting the lock up for us, a few minutes later we saw a hotel barge on the other side, so we temporarily moored Adventurer and waited. By the time the hotel had passed us and we cleared the lock it was quarter to ten, one klick and one lock in one hour, what can I say, our speed is becoming legendary. Everyone, even the boats we’re playing leapfrog with, (Canard Perdu, Kaya and a Kiwi boat that doesn’t appear to be named), that aren’t early starters, started early today, so we get into a convoy. Around ten thirty all three boats in front are temporarily roped to the bank?¿!  Yer man (I’m crap with names), on the duck comes back to us and tells us that a hotel barge, the Saroche, has broken down IN the next lock and we are going to have a wait as there’s another hotel waiting to come through the other side. We figure that calling it a day is best as by now lunchtime is fast approaching and it’ll be after one before we clear this next lock. After the Pouilly tunnel we started seeing canal side adverts for a “shopicerie”, open all day with no interruptions, meaning they don’t close for lunch. Very likely, actually almost certainly it’ll be expensive as we’re in the “no supermarket” zone of about sixty klicks along the canal. Every ad we see promises the shop is wonderful, lots of products and open, we’re a few hundred metres from it, so I decide to check it out, maybe get some bread and top up our supplies. It’s shut! It turns out that it closes on Thursday but that fact was never mentioned in the adverts. Meanwhile, the broken barge in the lock has been pulled out and the other barge is coming up. The Kiwis in front move over to the other side of the canal and we realise it’s going to be a bit tight for the oncoming barge to pass us by, we’re not on the corner but these things are huge, so we move too. We’re told that despite it being very close to lunch, the lockie will put the four waiting boats through, two then two even though this will delay his lunch, what a guy! On the other side of the lock is a beautiful area, perfect for the kids, so we moor up.

Great place for the kids.

I mentioned the rug that Squeaky sleeps on, the “crow’s nest” on the roof of Adventurer a couple of posts ago, but didn’t get around to explaining said rug. You may find this odd, you may find this disgusting. During the winter with the neighbours cats, the “terrorists” in full swing, Squeaky was sometimes caught short and unfortunately used the rug to relieve herself, (unbeknown to us, you may think that’s not possible, but she’s a diddy cat, diddy puddle, and in the winter with the tarp over the boat and everything closed because it’s so cold, the boat does take on a certain aroma, which we disguised with incense sticks), only pee thank goodness, but nonetheless when we took it up in spring, it was quite fragrant. We never got around to washing the rug, another chore to do while working, not very warm to dry it and prepping the boat for our cruise. It got put onto the roof for another day, which never arrived. Disgusted?? Well don’t be, cause we think that, while on our cruise and to the cats the environment is always different, our boat has that fragrance that we can’t smell, (it’s been rained on numerous times), but the cats can and that is why they always come back to the boat, it’s a worthy theory. And the bicycle tyres? I never knew which bin to throw them in, but we then found a use for them protecting the hull of the boat when there is a really low quay without having to re-tie all the fenders, or a stone protrudes a little too much on a bank, besides, now the “crow’s nest” is complete, Squeaks loves it, that rug is all hers now after all.

The rug.

Hmm, I seem to write a lot about the Squeaks, probably because she’s younger and more outgoing than Heidi and Lara. While moored here, Squeaky went off on a jaunt, we let her as she always comes back, if she is too long away all we have to do is rattle her bowl and she comes running. When she came back this time, she stank, to high heaven. She’d found a pile of something a sheep had left behind and decided that it was something she liked, and rolled in it, pee-yew. I’m still walking the kids once, more often twice a day to tucker them out, I love it and they do too, although more often than not it is just me and Lara. I’ve been wondering about this and have realised that Heidi and Squeaky know that how far we walk away from the boat means we have that same distance back, whereas Lara hasn’t cottoned on to this and just keeps walking, I have to physically pick her up, turn her 180° and start walking her home or she’ll walk until she’s had enough and then lay down and look at me as if to say, “I’m done now human, carry me”.

1194.5 engine hours.
181.1 trip hours.
3.2 hours today.
6 locks 7 km.
Total 334 locks 615 km.
pk 177 between locks 23 & 24 on the Canal de Bourgogne.

Cold weather, warm canal.

24 August

Oh My Goodness! We have had a super morning cruising. Credit where it’s due, the two lockies who travelled with us for ten klicks and nine locks were superb, professional and just plain brilliant. The first lock was ready for us, and then one went ahead to prepare the next while the other stayed and finished seeing us through the current lock. I was nearly in tears with joy, it makes such a difference, not just because it speeds things up, (we’re not in a rush, but trying to hold Adventurer in the middle of a canal while waiting for a lock to fill up is a pain, especially when a, there’s a breeze and b,  it could so easily have been ready for us), but also because it is such a pleasure to cruise. I wish we’d have had some beer onboard to give them to say merci beaucoup chaps, job well done. I am ecstatic, my faith is restored, I want these two to see us all the way back to St-Jean.

We’re so happy we treated ourselves to a meal out in Gissey where we’re moored for the night. While walking back we saw an advert for fresh, home grown veg from someone’s garden. Yay, he was open. We stocked up with proper, unadulterated chemical free salad and veg for a fraction of what they would cost in the shops, especially as in France, and most likely other countries, you put “bio” in front and, like “artisan” and “marine”, the price goes off the chart. Life is good. We got some free advice too, I was going to steal into a field and (ahem) pilfer some corn cobs, but yer man told me all the corn in this area is grown for cattle and pigs, that would have been disappointing being no where near as sweet or moist, bah.

1197.6 engine hours.
184.2 trip hours.
3.1 hours today.
9 locks 10 km.
Total 343 locks 625 km.
pk 187 Gissey-sur-Ouche on the Canal de Bourgogne.

Attempts at photographing a heron in flight.

25 August

How’d you learn that dance? Slow, slow, quick quick, slow. That’s the story of the cruise so far, with only 48 kilometres back to our temporary home base we’ve slowed to a snail pace, and we’ll probably come to a standstill in the next few daze, probably??? definitely!!! We had un petit cruise of six klicks today into Pont de Pany, a village where, when our map book was written had both a bakers and a restaurant/bar, sadly they’ve both gone on permanent vacation. We visited the tourist information centre, because they’re there and always helpful, we were given a big, brilliant, in depth book all about the region we’ve just spent the last three and a half months touring, typical, I daren’t look too much in case I see something I’ll be gutted to have missed, but there’s still Dijon, the capital of the Bourgogne, (and that microbrewery bar that I visited when I came up here oh so long ago to view boats; sightseeing at its best). (This book is really good, it’s called the Best of Burgundy, by petit fute, retails at 6.95€, but we got ours for free being a “sample”, thank you, it tells you all the history of the various places before going on to describe in excruciating detail about restaurants. The translation isn’t brilliant, but hey ho, it is readable). Anyway, nothing to see here except a ruined Château in the hills, in other words a pile of rubble, interesting? not. So I cycled along to the first supermarket in forever and got some beer to make a drizzly and quite frankly, cold (14°/58° in August???) Saturday arvo a bit more cheerful.

We had a great cruise this morning, one lockie was with us and the Kiwis for the six klicks, even the fact that the Kiwis preferred to race off at top speed, (actually leaving the lock at cruising speed, something the lockie didn’t seem to pleased about), didn’t phase us as by the time we arrived at the next lock, the lockie had only just got the lock ready, while the Kiwis had been hanging around waiting. When we stopped they carried on and when I cycled ahead they were nowhere to be seen, ta ta Kiwis.

1200.0 engine hours.
186.6 trip hours.
2.4 hours today.
5 locks 6 km.
Total 348 locks 631 km.
pk 193 Pont de Pany on the Canal de Bourgogne.

Super mural on the side of Pont de Pany VNF depot.

26 August

What the blue blazes is this??? We woke to 6°/41° with heavy mist, ’twas cold I tell you, Vee put her jeans on. I wasn’t even sure if we’d be able to cruise today but this was two hours before we were due to head off. Er hello? This is August, where’d all the lovely weather go to? I spent a good few minutes trying to coax the kids out of bed for their walk, (far easier said than done), them cats are not stupid.

Easy cruise today just going four klicks to Fleury, (slow, slow, quick quick, slow). As soon as we moored we were on our bikes to the supermarket again, (the sun is out now and after the cold start to the day, it is now glorious), yesterday I saw a bottle of Belgian beer that sounded rather special but didn’t want to carry it then, (headwind and drizzly). Apples at just 1.50 a kilo and something to give the squash we were given some pzazz, (lardons and mushrooms). We found a great spot for the kids so we’re taking tomorrow, Monday off, yay. That’s it for now, I need to find some WiFi to put this post up, which (hopefully) will mean a visit to a pub.

Oh. Yum.

1201.7 engine hours.
188.3 trip hours.
1.7 hours today.
4 locks 4 km.
Total 352 locks 635 km.
pk 197 Fleury-sur-Ouche on the Canal de Bourgogne.

PS. I gotta mention this, no opinions. You’ll find the vast majority of wheely rubbish bins locked in France, I suppose that’s kind’ve fair as the owner is paying to have that rubbish taken away. Then you see a rubbish bin in the street with a notice saying not to put rubbish in this bin, unless you are a client of the owner of said bin?¿!I

Good grief Charlie Brown