On a long day of motoring (we did not moor until 7 pm and hit the last last lock at closing time – 6:30 pm) we finished the Yonne portion of our adventure. The locks in the upper Yonne are huge and with quite a bit of commercial traffic. The big barges completely fill the locks so you have to wait if one is ahead. To put this in perspective, 20-30 boats our size could easily fit in one of the locks.
The commercial barges seem to act like independent truckers – they have living quarters (some even have cars on the back deck they can load and unload with the onboard crane). Interesting life!
The Yonne is lovely and we were completely alone for many hours yesterday. Unlike the Saône, however, there are few “nature” mooring opportunities and ones we saw were occupied by fisherfolk (after biking, fishing must be the most popular activity in France!) so you are restricted to mooring in towns. But they can be quite nice – our mooring in Montereau (where the Yonne joins the Seine) is just across from a great 12th century church.
And we can see the Seine from here! The traffic promises to be even more interesting (i.e. bigger barges) but we are only in it for 12 Km or so before turning south on the Canal du Loing.