Sunday 10th Sept. -
Pontailer to Lock 2 Canal Marne au Soane
And so we left the Soane behind and started the long climb to the Langres Tunnel on the canal. We had planned to overnight at Pontailler on the Soane. Unfortunatley, since our last visit 3 years ago, the stretch opposite the quay wall is designated 'waterski territory'. This was bad at Auxonne ( where Napoleon taught baby soldiers to hit other baby soldiers with their big balls - he was an artillery instructor at the barracks). The 'rock 'n roll' at Auxonne was enough to cause seasickness in those so inclined - at Pontailler it was much more dangerous. Every pass of a ski boat lifted us up onto the stone ledge at the base of the quay wall, just below the waterline. The lip of our narrowboat came down hard with a shudder and a graunching sound that had us throwing the ropes after a stop for a hasty indigestion-inducing lunch.
The last river lock was an episode in sheer idiocy from other boaters. As we exited going upstream, the boats waiting to enter the lock were hovering across our entrance turn into the canal. MWNN's signal on the horn accompanied by an 'I am turning left' hand sign cleared them out of the way but as I swung the tiller to make the turn, the boat behind us in our lock chose that precise moment to overtake us on our left - the crew waving cheerfully at my V sign.
As we are now cruising the 'here be dragons' stretch of canal that doesn't even have a bakers' shop for the next 5 days, the boat is stocked below the waterline, its lockers crammed with cans and jars of 'hard tack' and 'bake yer own' bread and the gas locker in the bows stuffed with cases of bottled water and beer.
Conserving water is cruicial - water is to be found next at Langres, 5 days away, so no showers or clothes washing for a few days. Diesel is further - emailing entries doesn't allow for LJ cut nor do I welcome away at Vitry le Francoise so we are carrying emergency diesel cans.
Needless to say, I've switched off email comments and apologise in advance for lengthy entries emails in anything other than plain text at connection speed of 9 kbs via the bluetooth phone.