Wednesday, 19 July 2017

The River Saône to the Canal du Centre: Tournus to Fragnes via Gigny-sur-Saône.



40 kilometers, 2 locks

Monday 17 July 2017. Tournus to Gigny-sur-Saône – 11 kilometers, 1 lock, 1 hour 40 minutes.

Aiming to get to Gigny-sur-Saône by 11h00 we set off from Tournus at nine thirty and trundled upstream to the big Ormes lock where we waited for it to finish filling, take in one cruiser and empty before we could take our turn which we duly did, sharing with another Dutch cruiser, a ‘bikes and barging’ touring peniche and a British Piper barge.

The 'bikes and barging' peniche catching us.

Entering...

...exiting.


We did absolutely nothing in Gigny as, well, there is nothing to do in the marina which is an old lock, it was Monday so anything would be closed and it was far too hot to unload bikes and ride the one and a half kilometres into the village to see what there was to see (and we might have missed out on a pretty Chateau)

Gigny-sur-Saone - marina top left of picture.

but the comings and goings in the marina were interesting.

Powered by sail and a small solar bank. Hydraulically folding outriggers.



You are greeted on arrival by a grimly humorous (equals German comedy) German proprietress who directs each boat to its place (day stoppers on the ‘difficult side) and assists with tying up – and don’t dare move from where you are put. Once the Danish yacht in front of us left (they draw 1,8 meters and cannot leave the Saône as none of the adjoining waterways have enough water at the moment – they are intending to sit and wait for rain in St Jean De Losne) we were moved forward and a cruiser moved in behind us. We wondered why the lady partner was doing all the running around but we gathered later that the male partner was paralysed and was seated on a wheelchair attached to a rail running down the hatch into the boat. He used this ‘monorail’ to move between the deck and the saloon and by the sound of it, the rail extended to the aft cabin too. Very brave of them to take on waterway cruising with such an incapacity but it just shows, if you want to do anything badly enough you can, whatever the circumstances.

After that it was hire-boat in, hire-boat out. Cruiser in, stay. Hire-boat in, hire-boat out. Hire-boat in, hire-boat out. Hire-boat in, stay. Cruiser in, stay. Goodnight.

Tuesday 18 July 2017. Gigny-sur-Saône to Fragnes – 29 kilometers, 1 lock, 4 hours, 30 minutes.

Just because I felt like it and because it was such a beautiful morning, by six fifteen I had unplugged, untied and was reversing out of the lock and then, with a gentle following breeze, Elle took us along the beautiful Saône

We have seen a couple of these little boats with the odd 'crane' on the stern.

until about eight when Lynn surfaced and shortly thereafter we were at Chalon-sur-Saône where we detoured through the packed port passing a couple of familiar boats and then it was out the other side, another kilometre or two and a sharp turn to port took us into the Canal du Centre, arriving at the lock exactly at opening time nine o’clock – where two big hire-boats were waiting. The lock emptied, the one hirer moved into position blocking the way out for the two boats coming out of the lock. Some words were exchanged and eventually, with bow thrusters thrusting and rubbing strakes bumping the hirers were swallowed by the ten meter rise lock.






Eventually it broiled itself empty



and we went it accompanied by an out-of-service little peniche, probably ex-Locaboat.

It no time at all we were moored up at the delightful port at Fragnes,



The peniche which accompanied us through the deep lock is in front of us.

We are the last boat on the extreme right


the bikes were unloaded and we rode the seven kilometres into Chalon-sur-Saône where, while relaxing over a cold beer in the steaming weather, an ashtray full of cigar dust and ash (and Lynn reckons some of the lit cigar) blew into my eyes; ten minutes later it felt as though my eyeballs had been dipped in acid as we struggled back to Elle stopping every couple of minutes to administer eye moisturiser which had been purchased from a local optometrist. A couple of hours and pain killers and lots of proper eyedrops later I could see well enough to set up the Weber and to enjoy a late afternoon braai. This was followed by a thunderstorm with plenty of noise and wind but hardly any rain.


We will try and explore Chalon again tomorrow.

The only picture taken during our aborted trip to Chalon.

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