Saturday, 6 May 2017

Canal du Bourgogne St Jean de Losne to Dijon

Friday 5th May
25.5km/19 locks/8hrs and 30 mins
St Jean de Losne to PK 217.5 on the Canal du Bourgone

We’d moved back onto the quay at St Jean d Losne on Wednesday as the mooring we had in the port was only really supposed to be for the weekend. It’s lovely being back on the river.  On Thursday evening we were joined by 4 boats of various sizes that we knew from Roanne. 

A beautiful evening moored on the Quay at St Jean de Losne
On Friday we woke up to a very, very foggy morning.  It luckily cleared enough for us to feel safe to travel the small distance to the lock to take us up back into the port and onto the Canal du Bourgogne.  We’d booked the lock for 9am and we were out by 9.10am.  A good start as we had decided we’d like to try and get to Dijon in one day.  The weather forecast was for a beautiful sunny day but the forecast for tomorrow was for rain.

This was clearer than it had been

The quay with the fog clearing

We were glad to be getting off the river, the visibility was very poor

Marie and Guy on Sinfonia setting off for their travels 

Guy taking a photo of me taking a photo of him!

We had a great trip because of the weather, once the fog had cleared but the section of canal near to Dijon is suffering from weed and this slowed down our progress somewhat.  It was like going through a thick soup, and at times with weed wrapped around the propeller we found stopping in the locks rather a challenge.  At 6.10pm we got to two locks away form Dijon and our lock keeper said that he could take us no further.  He said he lived in St Jean de Losne and had to travel back on the moped.  The locks are supposed to close at 7pm.  So we tied up at not such a pretty mooring, a port full of barges, and next to what looks like a cement works in a commercial area and the port was full of weed.  But the welcome we had from barges that were moored there permanently was lovely.  They knew Marie and Guy off Sinfonia another Piper barge (who we’d seen this morning).  So rather than being moored up  in beautiful Dijon, where we’d hoped for a nice dinner in the city, in the sunshine, we sat on the back deck and we opened a bottle of Cremant du Bourgogne and relaxed as the sun went down; realising that we would probably been too tired to go out for dinner tonight anyway!!

It turned out to be a beautiful day

The canal is dead straight from St Jean to Dijon and can be accused of being boring but the sunshine
and the colours of the rape seed fields helped make it very attractive

It was so weedy in some parts, it really made Rangali feel very sluggish

A weed muncher!  We hope that it will help with the weed problem by the time we return in about a weeks time
We had to wait for this to come down in the lock before we could enter

This lot was wrapped around our prop

Saturday 6th May
PK217.5 to Dijon
3km/2 locks/1 hour

We woke up to grey skies, but luckily still dry.  We hadn’t booked the next lock so weren’t in too much of a rush, but we were ready to move off around 8.45am.  Luckily there was a nearby VNF office and Kev went off to see if we could book the next lock, only to find they were expecting us at 9am, so perfect.  We set off and we were moored up in Dijon by 10.15am.

We showered and went in search of lunch and found a very nice place called Le Bistro de L’Admiral.  It didn’t look much from the outside but I’d read it had great reviews on Trip Advisor and we had a very nice set 2 course lunch for 14.50 euros each.  It started to drizzle while we were having lunch, so we had a quick walk around old Dijon, and then made our way back to the port.  We then went to do a little shopping at the nearby supermarket to find it had closed and a new store had opened up about 500m further away.  Its great shopping by foot as you can only buy what you can carry. So no impulse purchases!  By the time we got back to Rangali, it had started to really rain so we have spent a relaxing afternoon reading, etc.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

The end of the Canal du Centre/River Soane to St Jean de Losne

Monday 24th April
Fragnes to St Jean de Losne
68km/3 locks/7hrs 50mins

After a relaxing day on Sunday, we departed Fragnes Monday morning at 8.30am.  A hire boat left just in front of us. We both had to wait at the big lock 34b for a hotel boat to come through and we were out of the lock by 9.40am.

It was so lovely being on the River Soane; it looked like glass it was so smooth.  We wanted to try and stop at Suerre overnight.  We had tried to pre-book but we were told they weren’t that busy so were not taking bookings.  When we arrived at Suerre we couldn’t get onto the main visitor pontoon as it was full so we carried on.  The reason we wanted to stop was that we felt it was better to arrive at St Jean de Losne late morning rather than late afternoon as it gets busy there on the quay.  But we needn’t have worried because as it is still early in the season there was plenty of space for us when we arrived at 4.20pm.

It was a long, but very easy day, and we now know we wont be cruising for at least a week so we can chill.

Waiting for Deborah hotel barge to exit the lock

Going down! 11m deep, give or take

Exiting lock 34b

Beautiful River Soane

Hotel barge Jeanine

This mummy is going to have her hands full, they swam past us on the river.
The babies almost ran across the water to keep up with mum!

One of the two commercial locks we went through
We've been through them before so know that they are pretty easy

You have to change the position of the rope as you go up

Arriving at St Jean de Losne, its so nice to see space for us on the quay,
on the left just after the bridge

This monster turned around before the bridge and backed up to its mooring
We were pleased we didn't know it was behind us on the river, it would have been travelling much fast than us.
It arrived about 2 hours after us 

This hotel boat had to wait for a smaller hotel boat to move off the mooring

On Wednesday, Richard and Julia (Piper barge Ettie) arrived from Dijon.  They had a long days cruising in not very good weather conditions and they just managed to get through the last lock before they closed at 7pm.  I’d cooked a beef bourguignon, which suited the miserable weather perfectly. We had a lovely evening catching up and drinking a little too much vino!

We moved Rangali and Ettie on Friday to moor up where the Piper Rally was going to be held.  It looked fantastic to see 9 Piper barges and 1 Piper narrow boats all moored up in one place.  For the past week we have had some very sociable days and evenings with old and new friends.  

Saturday and Sunday was very busy with prospective Piper Barge owners viewing the various Piper barges.  On Friday evening Pipers organized a BBQ and on Saturday we all were taken out for dinner and we had a fabulous meal.

The locks were closed on Monday May 1st due to it being a holiday, so no barges moved until Tuesday.

Three Pipers all in a row
Rangali and Ettie moored alongside each other, they are sisters with about one month in between in age
We loved having Richard and Julia moored alongside us,
but I'm not so sure they liked having to clamber around our boat to get to shore.
They are earlier risers than us and they very kindly bought us our baguette and croissants each day...we miss you Richard and Julia!!!

Some expert mooring by Bella Fortuna

On Sunday lunchtime there was a bit of a drama in the port.  To allow all the Piper barges to moor up in the port, five boats, barges of various sizes, including a hotel barge, and a commercial barge, were moved to the opposite bank, they were all tethered together alongside each other.  

I was down in the salon showing the boat to a prospective buyer, Richard, Julia and Kev were having a coffee on the back deck.  They suddenly noticed that ALL 5 barges had started to drift away from their mooring on one large lump.  It had become very windy, with strong gusts, and the wind turned the group of barges 180 degrees and they were slowly headed, bow first, towards the Piper gathering.  Richard and Kevin ran to alert Simon Piper as he would know who to call for assistance.  Simon then proceeded to use Monchique, his barge, as a tug to try and push the group of loose barges away to prevent damage to the moored up Piper barges. It was quite a stressful thing to watch, but luckily he was successful and then about 20 minutes later a pusher tug from the port arrived and managed to take the five barges back to their original position tie them up securely, albeit now facing the opposite way round!

(Photo courtesy of Richard and Julia Ettie)
Simon Piper on Monchique (turquoise barge) trying to stop the progress of the loose barges heading towards the
Piper narrow boat and brand new Piper barge Octavian

(Photo courtesy of Richard and Julia Ettie)
Fenders in hand to stop any damage, the bow of this
unmanned commercial barge missed Octavian by inches
and the hotel barge in the background only just missed the narrow boat

Kev was given a rope to hold that was attached to the rogue group of barges
He's on the left in a light red top.  He looks very nonchalant but he told me afterwards the rope was very degraded so couldn't tug too hard, it snapped later.

Monchique (turquoise barge on the left) still trying to stop a disaster happening

At last the pusher tug arrived 

All peaceful at last.
Another hotel barge has arrived to join the other boats that were loose earlier.
We are hoping they are all tied up securely now.

One of our very enjoyable get togethers over the weekend
Richard and Julia off Ettie and Stuart and Christine off Hilda May and of course Kev!

 We are now moored back on the Quay at St Jean de Losne.  It rained heavily this morning, so we are staying put and we will be setting off tomorrow to continue our travels.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Canal du Centre -Paray Le Monial/Blanzy/St Ledger sur Dheune/Santenay/Fragnes

Tuesday 18th April
40.5km/8 hours/16 locks (no stop for lunch)
Paray le Monial PK 102 to Blanzy PK 61.5

We had an epic day today, a really long, tiring day but we were pleased to find a space for us at Blanzy.  The boulangerie we normally go to at Blanzy had closed down but there was another one over the bridge.  We bought a baguette, plus some chocolate mousse cakes, and they were delicious.

I'm pleased I had a warm hat and gloves to wear, it was freezing!

I love the Herons that we see along the way

Wednesday 19th April
Blanzy PK 61.5 to St Ledger-sur-Dheune PK33
32km/26 locks/7.5hrs (no stop for lunch)

When we woke up this morning there was ice on the the roof.  It was a lovely sunny day again but there was a very strong, cold wind that persisted throughout the day.

It was a lot of locks to do in one day, we had a lock keeper with us for some of them.  We had 7 locks going up and then 19 locks going down.  Some of the down locks are deep ones, 5m, but are easy as they have floating bollards.

We were really tired when we got to St Ledger but we were pleased to find mooring near the hire boat centre, a very nice mooring.

Thursday 20th April 
St Ledger PK 33 to Santenay PK25.5
8km/4 locks/2hrs

It was quite noisy when we were in bed during the night with the shlip shlopping of the water against the bow of Rangali, due to the wind whipping up the water.

It was another very cold day, and really windy which made getting into the locks a bit tricky and really cold.  So we were really pleased to be having a short days travel, as it was way too cold.

We really like the mooring at Santenay, so we stayed two nights.

Our view from the galley window...perfect!
We walked into Santenay for lunch at Le Terroir, highly recommended 

So many wine growers in Santenay

Still one of our favourite moorings even though we can't get a tv signal

Saturday 22nd April
SantenayPK25.3 to Fragnes PK8
27km/11 locks/4hrs 20mins

We left our mooring at 8.20am and got to the first lock just after 9am.  As we were in the shade, and it got cold again last night, the wheelhouse was freezing first thing.  Luckily it soon warmed up once we got going.

Remigny a small town between Santenay and Chagnuy
it over looks all the vineyards on the hill, a really beautiful spot
There was a small cruiser already in the first lock and it was going down but the lock keeper must have told them that they would have to share the rest of the locks with us because they were waiting for us at the next lock.  Our lock keeper took us al the way to Fragnes, he was so helpful with the ropes, pulling the blue cord to activate the lock, etc.  He was so smiley too, which makes such a difference.

We felt sorry for this cruiser as it had to wait for us at each lock
Floating bollads - One of these caught me out a few days ago.  Just when the lock had almost finished emptying, my rope got caught, by mistake, on the t piece on my centre bollard and as the floating bollards float pretty high at the bottom of the lock we had to cut the rope to free it up, luckily Kev could cut it right near the end, so the rope is still useable 

Rully Chateau in the distance

There was lots of space at Fragnes and we decided to stay for two nights.  Unfortunately the restaurant was closed until 2nd May.  It was closed two years ago in August when were last here, we're not very lucky.

Fragnes, a very nice mooring with a very friendly Captainaire