CompetentJune 9 in France ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C
In an unbiased self-assessment of our Tub steering and navigation skills we rated ourselves as 'competent' and ready for today's new experiences. Full of breakfast and bravado, we headed towards our first 'up' lock. So far all locks have been 'down' locks i.e. the lock is full of water when we enter and The Tub is gently lowered down to the next level as the water is drained from the lock. All we had to do was keep The Tub steady with a guiding rope at the front and back.
For the rest of our journey all locks will be the opposite ... we pootle into the empty lock and The Tub will be raised up to the next level as the lock fills. We'd been warned about what to expect in the 'up' locks, especially the movement of the boat as the water surges in to fill the lock. Our Franglish instructions stressed the requirement to secure The Tub in the lock to avoid being whoosed backwards with the surge and then forwards as the water hits the rear lock gate. We were a little nervy as we approached the lock but forgot about the pending surges as we encountered an undisclosed challenge ... how do we secure the ropes to the bollards when they're 8 feet above our heads ?????
We added 'leaping from the roof of The Tub onto the top of a lock wall' to our rapidly expanding list of skills.
Once through the lock we turned left, leaving the Canal de Bourgogne and joining the River Yonne where our newly acquired steering competency came to the fore ... there were other boats, currents and bridges across the river with big yellow diamonds indicating which arch we needed to pass under. Pleased to report there were no collisions or close calls.
After a stint on the river, we bounced back into a deviation canal where Mr FitBody took one of the bikes off The Tub. He scooted along the tow path while the remaining Lemmonds manned (and wo-manned) The Tub. He met us at the next locks so we weren't one deck-hand down for roof-leaping and rope-tying duties.
We covered a reasonable distance today and got through 7 locks but it was slow-going when we had to wait for locks to operate for the oncoming traffic before it was our turn ... especially the larger locks on the River Yonne. At one lock we had enough waiting time to set up a banquet of snacks and have drinks on the upper deck ... we were happy to wait.Read more