Migennes - Joigny

Sunday the 24th of May we arrived at Migennes. We did not move for almost a week. Therefore on Saturday the 30th we were still at the same place. There’s not a lot to tell about Migennes - at least that’s what we think, to be honest. The reason for being there was an engine that ran irregularly sometimes. In short, it ran irregular at irregular intervals. One doesn’t want that, especially when cruising on rivers, which is what we do now and will be doing for the foreseeable future. At present Yonne, followed by Seine, Loing, Seine again, Oise and Aisne, later on during this season Meuse, Sambre and Escault. In between some connecting canals of course. We tried to find an engineer, succeeded in Migennes, but this breed of people is very popular with boaters, so we had to wait. Finally, on the Thursday, we were helped out. At least that’s what we hoped for - an uninterrupted trial-run restored our confidence. Tomorrow we hope to re-enter the river Yonne for a short cruise to Joigny.

When thinking about a subject for the next blog it came as a godsend when two commercial boats ascended from the river and moored, abreast, in front of us. ‘Tempo’ and ‘Vesta’ by name, both from Douai (Dowaai in Flemisch/Dutch), although it is clearly visible that the latter started its career in Germany. It’s an exception seeing commercials on the Canal de Bourgogne; only pleasure- and hotel boats cruise this canal. Soon it became clear that they would only stay in this basin to receive a new cargo.

Pas de deux

Admittedly the circumstances were not that challenging but we always admire the way the professional skippers handle their boats. Both single-handed, by the way!

Here they are pictured in front of us, fully at ease after having turned 180 degrees next to us in the wide basin. We seem to be of comparable size to them. Be sure that’s an optical illusion! One of them just fits in a canal-lock, whereas the lock’s capacity can easy accommodate two ships like ours at one time.

A day later a conveyor-belt was installed and the process of grain-loading could begin. The large tip-up truck started unloading by opening its full breath. Consequently most of its load ended up next to the belt. It is really a pity that we are unable to reproduce the conversation that was caused by this messing about.

Another method of loading the boat was directly put down the load from the special designed truck into the boat’s hold. Really effective, though less voluminous than the truck that is entirely visible with the next picture.

An overall picture of the scene. Note ‘Tempo’ being deeper in the water than its neighbour, caused by now partly being loaded.

‘Tempo’ is fully laden and moving back to make room for ‘Vesta’. That is to say, less deep than possible - see the gunnel, still being fairly ‘high’ above the water-line. We suspect the depth of the basin does not allow for more – or, simpler, the maximum height for replacing the cover on top of the load is reached. To be precisely we might be dealing here with the volumetric mass density.


This video shows both boats changing places. Again, the conditions are not that bad, but we’re in the way and ‘Tempo’ is pretty heavy. He did it smoothly – asking us ‘ça va …?’. We did not understand the second part but did not feel in danger at all.

It’s now ‘Vesta’s turn to be loaded; she’s almost in position and the experiences with the first load will make it a slightly easier job this time.

It’s again a ‘millimeter-job’ to breast up while handling a heavy boat single-handed. He did it flawlessly.

Port de Migennes - more than hire- and pleasure-boats

This video is an overall impression of the scene. Meanwhile the spilled grain is cleared away and the large truck unloads using a narrow opening in the back, thus deposing the grain not outside the square ‘funnel’ at the beginning of the belt. It’s a smooth operation now. (And difficult to get a steady picture when zooming in while walking.)

Already visible with the 7th picture is an impressive –and silent- generator, providing the electricity for the conveyor-belt. ‘Vesta’ in turn is now close to being laden to the maximum.

A picture of the finishing activities. Brooms and shovels are at hand to collect the grain that has been spilled on the ground.

Finishing the job

A last video to end ‘the load-story’ with. The lorry-driver takes the last grain out of the lorry-container. Both skippers are ‘topping off’ the load, after which the covers can be placed to protect the grain against undesirable stuff falling from the sky or splattering around. It’s also visible that ‘Tempo’ is already completely covered. Job almost done.

Sunday the 31st of May, today, we planned to finally leave Migennes at 1:00PM and agreed with the lock keeper about this time of departure. After returning from his lunch-break the lock keeper helped a boat ascending first, so we entered the deep lock not earlier than 1:24PM. Sometimes it helps to remember oneself about being retired! So why get slightly upset about a broken agreement or some delay? Just fight the stiff breeze for half an hour, remain resigned, smile and do not ask yourself why the hell he wrote the agreement down in his notebook that morning… Anyway, after a distance of just 9 kilometers (some 5,5 miles) and three locks in total, most of it on the lovely river Yonne, we moored at Joigny at 3:20PM. We are seen here on the right bank, just downstream of Joigny’s bridge with the town and vineyards visible in the background. The wine that’s created here is Bourgogne Côte Saint-Jacques. See https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bourgogne_c%C3%B4te_saint-jacques or http://www.vins-bourgogne.fr/nos-vins-nos-terroirs/tous-les-bourgognes/bourgogne-cote-saint-jacques,2378,9172.html?&args=Y29tcF9pZD0xMzg2JmFjdGlvbj12aWV3RmljaGUmaWQ9MjM1Jnw%3D, if you want to know more about this wine (the latter also in English). Bye for now.