Wednesday 19 June 2019

Migennes (back on the Yonne)

Moored on the outside at Migennes boatyard for the next week

Although the sun was out when we awoke on Tuesday, we had cloud cover by the time we set off at 9.30.  Saying that though, it was very warm and another day in the low 30s despite the cloud cover.

After about four kilometres we were approaching Migennes.  When we left here in March, we had thought it quite a drab quiet town with some industry.  Of course, now it’s summer, it looks completely different and is busy, but without the sun when we went through it didn’t really look its best in pictures.

Industry as we approached Migennes
A couple of boats were coming out of the first lock when we arrived so there wasn’t a problem, for once, about whether or not the message had got through to the éclusier that we were on our way.

Straight stretch before the port
The town had put on a fine display of plant pots on the bridges and along the streets and even around the lock in the centre of town.

The port was jam packed with hire boats when we were last here as it was before the hire season, but today there were only a few boats not rented out.

The lock in the centre of town marks the northern end of the Canal de Bourgogne and drops boats onto the River Yonne.  As there is a river on one side, the drop is variable but the éclusier told us it was five metres today.  We can remember seeing this lock when we took a walk around Migennes and being full of trepidation about going through such a deep lock.  As we had dropped 11 metres to get onto the River Saône from the Canal du Centre a month ago we wondered what we had been worried about 😉

Leaving the last lock on the Canal de Bourgogne
We were soon on the River Yonne, which was very calm, and turned left towards Simon Evan’s boatyard where we had been dropped in the water all those weeks ago.

Back on the River Yonne
As soon as we were on the river, I rang Simon to check where we should moor.  He gave us a temporary mooring on the outside of three other boats while we sort ourselves out for the next couple of days.  We will then move it on Wednesday evening to a more permanent position whilst we are back in the UK.

As we were mooring up, I could hear Karen talking to a couple of people and it turned out to be Ian & Lisette on Catharina Elisabeth.  We were moored next to them before setting off at the start of the season and had conversed by email off and on over the last few weeks.  They have been coming over from Australia for the last six summers to cruise on their boat and had arrived for this season last weekend.  It was good to finally meet them in the flesh and, as we have to traipse over their boat to get on and off ours, we will be bumping into them a lot over the next day or so. Oh, and Lisette is mad keen on lavoirs!

Ian & Lisette washing down Catharina Elisabeth
Everyone in the yard seemed to be busy working on or cleaning their boats ready for extended cruises but we did have a quick cuppa with Ian & Lisette before lunch.  As we haven’t been inside a Dutch barge before nor they a narrowboat we will be closing that gap tomorrow, no doubt with some wine to celebrate.  During the day we also chatted quite a bit with the other couple in the picture who were protecting themselves from the sun but I’m afraid I don’t recall their names.

The clouds all but disappeared over lunch and it became even hotter, but we had jobs to do.  Poor old Buddy, being nervous, found it difficult getting onto the quayside.  As we are a low boat, he has to get on our roof first which he really hates but once on the barge next to us he was soon getting across the three larger boats to reach dry land.

One of the first jobs was to make sure the car was Ok, which it was, so we took a trip down to Grand Frais near Auxerre as we promised Sue & Paul, who will be looking after Buddy for the next week, that we would get them some halloumi.  It seems Grand Frais (= French Waitrose) is the only supermarket that stocks it over here.  While we were out, we also got a French gas bottle (yes, the fixings are different to UK ones) and filled up our jerry cans with diesel.

It was hot work carrying the jerry cans and full gas bottle across to the boat when we got back but we did it without any mishap.  And some other good news, the gas adaptor I had purchased in the UK worked on the French gas bottle 😊.  It always amazes us how long gas bottles last (up to three months) considering we do all our cooking using gas apart from barbeques of course.

Evening at Migennes
It was lovely being on the river, but we were rather wishing there would be a breeze to cool us down.  Of course, we’re now not sure what sort of clothes to pack for the UK as, if the weather is the same it will be like last year’s heatwave when we were in Yorkshire.

After Tuesday’s seven kilometres down two locks we are back where we started from having covered a circular route around Burgundy covering 663 kilometres through 389 locks.  Apart from feeling very nervous when we cruised in extremely windy weather on the River Saône we have enjoyed every minute of it and would do it all again.  It was our fault that we cruised on that windy day so even those nerves could have been avoided. 

Our journey started by heading south to Auxerre on the River Yonne where we picked up the Canal du Nivernais and continued south to Decize.  After a short stint on the River Loire we continued south east to Digoin on the Canal Latéral à la Loire.  Then we joined the Canal du Centre heading north east to Châlon-sur-Saône.  That was when we joined the River Saône up to St-Jean-de-Losne where we joined the last canal, the Bourgogne to head back north(ish) to Migennes.

We have seen some beautiful countryside in a part of France neither of us really knew before.  We have met some lovely people, both boaters and non, and realise now that the trepidation of how we would be accepted as Brits was totally unfounded.  Without exception we have been made to feel at home and many French people have told us we are more than welcome over here and should stay.

So that’s the end of our first epic adventure which we would highly recommend and would love to repeat.  The next one will be a lot shorter as we are only going down the Yonne and then the Seine into Paris, but it will be quite different.

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