We set off from Pontailler-sur-Soane about 9:45 AM. There are places along the way, clearly marked on the chart, where the curves are so tight for the long barges that the circulation path moves boats to the left side of the channel. Our first encounter was near Pontailler-sur-Soane. But since we didn’t encounter another boat or barge it was of no consequence. We encountered flocks of swans, lovely white cows grazing along the bank, kayaks, and scores and scores of fishermen and fisherwomen. Navigating is fairly easy, the channel is well marked, there are plenty of directional signs, and, because it is October, there are only a few other tourists out here. We passed through one deviation, a place where a canal has been cut to avoid a particular portion of the river that was simply beautiful. Along each side was a row of trees, just beginning to turn yellow. It was very much similar to the Canal du Midi, only wide enough for two boats and bordered on each side by a tow path now used as a bike and walking trail We stopped in Auxonne for a walk-about after lunch aboard, but most everything was closed; so, we decided to leave the quay and head downstream. We made it as far as St Jean-de-Losne, 37 kilometers and three automatic locks for the day’s total. By now Shoe is an expert at turning the signal hanging in the middle of the river. We passed one wayward tourist at the last lock who had wrapped a line around his propeller and the VNF (Voies Navigable Francais) folks had arrived in dive gear to unwrap it. We passed the cutoff to the Canal du Rhone au Rhine and seriously considered absconding with the boat and heading for the Danube.After we enjoyed a cold beer, we set off to pay for a “jeton” for water.
The place on the sign no longer sold them, so we headed on to the VNF office – who doesn’t sell them, but directed us to a small bar across the street from the church around the corner. All, of course communicated en Francais. Since the fee included electricity and we don’t have a shore power hookup, Pat elected to forgo the jeton – much to the dismay of Mike and Shoe who were afraid we’d run out of water – even though the only water we have used so far is to wash dishes. We’ll get water tomorrow after we’ve all had showers.
Carol finally bought a postcard fro her aunt; and we went to a TABAC and bought two “timbres” for carte postale aux Etats-Unis. 88-centimes.
Back to the boat where Mike made Potato-Leek soup and we all showered….