Statistics for 2013

To be able to cruise the thousands of kilometers/miles of France’s waterways the series of ‘Fluviacarte’ is truly indispensable. This is the reverse side of one of the books from the series, showing a small diagrammatic map of all navigable waterways in France and the number of books available.

We are not interested (yet?) in the waterways that are not connected to the main system – notably the ones in the west of France. Apart from the numbers 5 and 32 (in reprint) we’ve got all Fluviacarte-books and are able to cruise from Maastricht, in the far south of The Netherlands, via the Mediterranean coast to Bordeaux on France’s west coast – and every (French) waterway in between. The resulting pile of books, all in French, English and German looks like this.

On the 2nd of April 2013 we left Moret-sur-Loing, south-east from Paris, heading towards the river Seine. Cruising eastward we reached Montereau, to bend to the south-east in Auxerre’s direction on the river Yonne. When arriving at Laroche-Migennes we entered the Canal de Bourgongne for a long journey eventually leading to Saint-Jean-de-Losne, where the canal ends into the river Saône. We reached Saint-Jean-de-Losne on the 18th of May, so after roughly 1,5 months, almost 350 kilometers (215 miles) and having negotiated 1 fairly long and pretty low tunnel and over 200 locks. (Oh, and we had a few days delay because of a closure of the canal after horrendous rainfall).

With fresh courage we started on the 19th of May on the river Saône, going upstream in north-eastern direction. It took us 12 eventful days to reach Corre, the end of the navigable part of the river. Eventful because of the river being in flood after heavy rainfall, obviously causing a strong current. One day we even experienced a ground speed of 0,0! Anyway, on the 31st of May we continued cruising on the Canal des Vosges, a relief after the wild and sometimes dangerous river. This beautiful canal kept us occupied for another 10 days, to reach Richardménil. Then there was the short Embranchement de Nancy, followed by a small part of the Canal de la Marne au Rhin (Est) (in German: Rhein-Marne-Kanal) to the west, on the 10th of June ending up in Nancy’s port – conveniently situated close to its centre. We left Nancy on the 14th of June, going east, destination Strasbourg. That beautiful city was ‘captured’ on the 19th of June. The 22nd of June we said goodbye to Strasbourg and cruised the same part of the Canal de la Marne au Rhin (Est) in the opposite direction towards Nancy, where we arrived this time on the 5th of July. In just a little over 1,5 month we covered a distance of more than 600 kilometers (285 miles), more than a handful tunnels, twice an inclined plane and some 335 locks. Sometimes on a leisurely pace, sometimes in overdrive because of visitors and schedules related to them. (We ourselves live virtually schedule-free.)

We enjoyed the lovely city of Nancy for 10(!) days because (1) we had had an ‘overdrive-period’ before we reached Nancy and (2) it was for free. On the 15th of July we finally left and travelled westward on the remaining part of the Canal de la Marne au Rhin (Est), followed by a part of the river Moselle, then a part of the Canal de la Marne au Rhin (ouest), rather soon leading to the Canal de la Meuse (where navigable the river Meuse itself) to the north-west. After some 2,5 weeks on the Canal de la Meuse, 5 days at Verdun included, we turned sharply at Pont-a-Bar almost to the south, onto the Canal des Ardennes. This canal changes nearly unnoticed into the Canal latéral a l´Aisne. At Barry-au-Bac a turn to the south-east was made and the Canal de l´Aisne à la Marne, Reims included, entered. At Condé-sur-Marne we headed south-east onto the Canal lateral à la Marne. This canal leads to Vitry-le-François, where the Canal entre Champagne et Bourgogne (formerly Canal de la Marne à la Saône) begins its long course of 224 kilometers (140 miles) mainly in the direction of the south. The river Saône was entered on the 18th of September. So this leg of our journey took us, comparatively speaking, ´only´ a few more days than 2 months, despite prolonged stops on the way – including a forced one of 13 days at Vitry-le-François. The distance covered was, looking at the circumstances, an astonishing 666 kilometers or so (415 miles), a few tunnels and more than 250 locks included. (This part of the journey was less relaxed than it should have been we have to admit.)

The day we entered the river Saône we kept going for another 2,5 hours (and 10 minutes). Downstream this time, going south/west. The next day, the 19th of September we continued and completed this part of the river already the next day, entering the Canal du Centre. This canal served as our ´habitat´ for about a fortnight before, on the 4th of October, we finally entered the Canal de Roanne à Digoin, leading towards our bespoke winter-mooring at the Port de Roanne. We arrived at our destination on Monday the 7th of October. This time the distance had only been 270 kilometers (some 165 miles), 77 locks being part of it, in a few days less than 3 weeks – a piece of cake we´d say for a change. For the coming months we´re in Roanne, north-west from Lyon, halfway between Lyon and Vichy.

Between the 2nd of April 2013 and the 7th of October 2013, somewhat more than half a year, we traveled almost 1.900 kilometers (1.180 miles) and negotiated roughly 875 locks. Some 10 tunnels had to be passed, sometimes short (a few hundred meters, 1/8 miles), sometimes long (4.820 meters, 3 miles). One inclined plane, down- and upstream (out of order a day after we passed it for the second time for a seemingly indefinite period of time). This aerial picture was made this week and too nice to ignore it. Apart from the next one it´s for the last time, promise! (Thanks to photographer Mrs. Katinka Hudman.)

When we left Moret-sur-Loing the engine had been running for 975,4 hours. After switching off the engine at Roanne that number had grown to 1.422,8. So during the period as described with the previous picture, the engine has been running for 447,4 hours. When we are moored for more than one day and there is no electricity from the shore we need to use our generator. At the start of the season the generator was on 402,3 hours and at the end on 553,9 hours. Subsequently our (silent) generator ran for 151,6 hours during the past summer season. We´re on the mains during the winter – it´s now the off-season for engine and generator. The last aerial picture here (honest!) because our ship is clearly visible. We are moored on the left hand side. In front of us is still room for another ship of 18 meters - yet to arrive (before the 10th of November, after which date the canal is closed for several month, due to maintenance). Next to our ship something white reflects in the water. Not a white shark we´re sure, but a convenient help for the untrained eye to identify the place we are moored for the winter. (Thanks to photographer Mrs. Katinka Hudman.)

The river Loire on Sunday the 27th of October. Still a sleeping lion… On the picture of the Loire and the Port de Roanne together –the one before the one before this one (are you still with us?)- shows a railway bridge in the foreground, then a road bridge, followed by a weir and finally another road bridge in the far distance. This picture is weekly made at the same spot just downstream of the weir. The island, every week visible on ‘our’ picture in the middle of the river, is just visible behind the weir on the aerial picture.