Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Vermenton Embranchement & Canal du Nivernais: Vermenton to Auxerre – Closing Cruise

Tuesday 26 September 2017. 21 kilometers, 13 locks, 8 hours.

Going 'downhill' is always relaxing and for the first part down the Embranchment we had it all to ourselves

Vermenton Embranchement

Crevant port - not a great mooring wall.

and then just after Crevant we joined up with an Australian crewed Le Boat, one of the newer ‘Vision’ models which I had read have problems with the electronics. And sure enough, approaching a lock, the boat suddenly did a right angled turn and went into full forward and then into full reverse until they hit the bank where they managed to turn off the electrics. This happened once again before we left then just before Escolives-Sainte-Camille and must have been very scary for a person who had never driven a boat and who was on his second day out but he handled the situation very well indeed.

The Vision is on the right and five minutes later it  did the 90 degree turn.

At Vaux we were joined by the tourist boat Hirondelle 2 and locked through with them to Auxerre

Sharing a lock with Hirondelle

where we tied up on the wall for the night and sat out the rain until morning when we moved across to the Aquarelle marina where Elle will spend the winter. We have decided against going on the hard and will brest up - after a discussion with port manager Mike about security we are satisfied that no harm will come to Elle over the winter months.

Taking a break.

With final winterising done on the Thursday we moved our luggage over to the nearby Ibis hotel where we had booked a room for our final night and then wandered over the bridge ending up for sundowners at the restaurant Le Quai which is opposite our wall-side mooring place;

Elle from Le Quai

by six o’clock we were starving and as I had not yet managed a ‘Boeuf Bourguignon’ meal on this trip, we ordered for service as soon as the restaurant opened at six thirty. And what a delight it was! A huge portion of absolutely delicious (a tad salty however), rich, dark Burgundy stew accompanied by a couple of glasses of very good Irancy red really made for a fitting foodie end to our 2017 summer cruise.

The Irancy red was on its way.

Friday morning we went exploring Auxerre and Lynn has revised her opinion of the town – we now both agree that it is beautiful, interesting, buzzy and well worth spending a good few days in.

The military hospital.

The Abbey of Saint-Germain now home to the city's museum.

The Cathedral of St Etienne

Stunning stone masonry.

Some of the finest stained glass windows in France.

Our hotel room with a view.

Then it was off to the station for the three hour (which turned out to be five hours because our TGV fast train broke down and we had to catch an all-stations SNCF slow coach) ride to Paris and then half an hour to Charles De Gaulle and finally the eighteen hour Emirates experience to Durban.

Season summary: Over 151 days we traveled 1,220 kilometers, locked through 504 locks, two lifting basins, passed through 11 tunnels, and operated 4 lifting bridges. Water usage was about 10,000 liters and we used 950 liters of fuel doing 236 engine hours at 4 liters per hour (two liters per hour per engine) or 1.28 kilometers per liter.

We also consumed some wine…

Roll on 2018!