Wednesday, 1 June 2011

River Saone

Jun 11

We actually left St Jean de Losne on 30 May only a few days ahead of schedule - seriously impressive given our usual rate of travel on the canals - perhaps the sun is slowing us down.  Our first 70 days of cruising this year have averaged out at €2 a day for mooring fees though I guess the Saone/Rhine costs will redress that fairly rapidly. Given the amount that La Capitaine spends in shops and restaurants more towns should provide free moorings/elec/water.

St Jean
A gentle stroll down river to Seurre where Kes' friend at the Capitainerie let us moor overnight on the 'pump out' pontoon (again). 'Marianne' (Alan) whom we last met at the Strasbourg DBA rally offered us a beer - he seems to spend most of his time replacing kit on his aged peniche.

Phoenix which was headed for the Canal du Centre accompanied us the next day but may have wished they had stayed in Seurre as the weather was miserable - grey, rainy and windy.  Much more boat traffic than on the canals and the commercials all seemed to be determined to drift in our direction.  Judging by Roger's bow wave he was in best destroyer mode.

At Chalon sur Saone we found a tatty commercial quay for the night.  The 5 metre ladder to the top with Kes over one shoulder made me realise he has grown a bit since Flanders - but he seemed to appreciate my efforts on his behalf.  The next day started calm, but the forecast Mistral built up over the morning - luckily we had tucked ourselves into the disused ecluse at Gigny before we got the full force - 30 kms with gusts up to 60 kms - perhaps not the real deal but quite enough for us.

The Saone can be quite boring in bits and we pushed on past Tournus.

noticing en passant that the hotel boats were getting bigger.

Then into Pont de Vaux down a little 3.3 km canal where we were meeting Howie and Liz on 'Pronkjewail'.

Pont de Vaux Port
A different scale to the Saone
After a pleasant meal reminiscing over past acquaintances and ancient Salibury squash battles we moved on south on the Saturday -  Liz had kindly (and unexpectedly) replenished our Branston pickle so we were all set for the Rhone.

It must be June as all the young wildlife is growing fast.

A good hatch
Help Mum 'I'm stuck'
Next Macon where we got a mooring amongst the hotel boats

Macon cathedral
and we think we have problems manoeuvring with a 17m barge.

Then on southwards - we have had a steady headwind for a few days which has eliminated the advantage of going with the current.  We are getting more white Egrets now we are further south and an advantage of being on a big river is the chance to get wildlife photos without running into the scenery by accident. .

We are seeing more hotel boats than plaisanciers - we might push on a bit faster before the holiday rush hour starts (Howie can do Pont de Vaux to Arles in three days which makes us feel like dawdlers).

The hotel boats are coming through at night now - very pretty all lit up - but they don't half shake up the moorings just as you are deep into beauty sleep (which I definitely need).  even if they are only half full there are a lot of tourists flush with cash.

Our last stop before Lyon (about 30kms south) is at Trevoux - then it is on to the Rhone which will make the Saone look quiet at a guess.

The Saone from Trevoux
Trevoux Church (pick a Saint)

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