Fun with Jackie and David

We picked up Jackie, David and Emory at Pont d’Oche on Friday afternoon and will be depositing them in Dijon this afternoon where we plan to pick up Richard Wylie. We’ve had a lovely visit – Emory is a bast. And David turned out to be a natural any the helm freeing me up to do Capainy stuff… like nap.

David at the helm, in the rain!

Yesterday was our first rain day. We stopped for lunch in Gissey-sur-Oche after telling the lock keeper we would be at the next lock at 1:30. 1:30 found us in a lovely little restaurant eating dessert and waiting out the rain when the lock keeper, in full rain gear, dripping wet, showed up looking for us! 2:30 we promised. And it was still raining. This was our first section in the rain and it is definitely not as much fun as when the sun is out.


We arrived in Fleurey-su-Oche around 6:00 and decided to eat on the boat rather than get even wetter. Leftover pizza and chocolate (and wine, of course). Hoping for sun today!

Fleurey Anchorage
Bray Sur Somme moored in  Fleurey-Sur-Somme

And we saw our first snake, spotted by eagle-eye Jackie. Not sure what kind.

French snake, looking for a baguette.

Barging with the big boys

Some excitement today. After returning  from our hike up the hill to the castle at Chateauneuf we found our boat, which we had staked out quite nicely (we thought) had been re-staked. We suspected we had come loose and a passing Good Samaritan had re-staked us, using one of our umbrella stands because we clearly had lost one of our stakes. Fortunately we had a spare.

Chateauneuf 2
View of Chateauneuf as we hiked up.
Mooring Chateauneuf
Our nicely (we thought) moored boat.

A few hours later, as we were cleaning the boat in anticipation of Jackie, David and Emory joining us tomorrow – we looked up to see a large hotel barge (it filled the windows – it was huge!) passing by. It lifted our boat at least a foot – maybe two – and we  pulled out both stakes floating us sideways across the canal before we could react. Roberta jumped to the helm and started the engine while I gingerly retrieved our lines (and stakes – we did not lose either) and we re-moored. So now we know how it happens but don’t have a good solution for avoiding it in the future. At least we don’t have to worry about it happening at night – the locks are closed so no boat traffic.

On a completely unrelated topic – one of our Facebook friends, Ken Ellis,  posted a link to a story about a little crushed man behind the remains of St. Thomas Aquinas in the Church of the Jacobins. Today, at the church in Chateauneuf we saw something similar- not sure what it means.

Virgin 1
Statue of the Virgin in the church in Chateauneuf
Virgin 2
Squished man under the Virgin’s foot!

Going underground. In a boat!

The French are casual about canal boating, which I completely agree with because it requires little skill to steer (though, a bit more to do it well). However, someone died in the Pouilly Tunnel few years back so they are more careful. We showed up at the VNF office (Voie Nautical France) at 9 a.m. and, after answering a few questions, were issued a handheld VHF and a form.

Tunnel Docs
Docs and handheld VHF
The tunnel is approximately 50 feet below where I am standing.

We were instructed (in french) to call when we entered and exited the tunnel. Then we headed back to the boat to put on our life vests (required in the tunnel) and write our last will and testaments…

It was a little scary – we have never sailed underground before. For 3.3 Km which, at 5 Km/Hr, is about 45 minutes. When the boat touched the tunnel sides is was not the well fendered-up hull, but the aluminum railing, which makes a horrible screeching noise. I am particularly proud we only touched twice, with less than a foot of clearance on either side of the boat.

Tunnel 2
Heading into the tunnel …”Ici Bray Sur Somme, on entre le tunnel”
Tunnel 3
View from under the street!
Tunnel 1
Sailing underground! Tons of room. Tons.

After 45 minutes we saw, thankfully, the sun again and it was “Ici Bray Sur Somme, ici Bray Sur Somme, On sorts le tunnel” and a very nice “Merci, monsieur, bonne journey!”  Whew!

Back to gorgeous Burgundian countryside.