Tom Fenton and Faith Ressmeyer
Thu 18 Sep 2014 18:38
We left Arles, appropriately enough, in rain, under grey skies, but no wind, and almost at once it was Clare we were going to have a very different day. Yesterday, we made an average of 5 knots against a 3.5 kn current, thanks to the strong following wind. This morning we were down to 1.3 knots (a knot is a nautical mile per hour) from Arles to Beaucaire. Someone had opened some gigantic sluice gate, and the river was full of trees, reeds, and all sorts of floating rubbish (we counted four footballs), weed, muddy water, all of which slowed us down. But mainly it was the stream. Several large cargo barges passed us, and we passed our first Viking River Cruises vessel moored while the happy passengers were having lunch.
The lock at Beaucaire was a new experience for Faith, and she was understandably nervous. The lock raises you more than 11 metres. So when we entered we were in a dank and gloomy cavern, which you could imagine turning into a hell hole:
Then they fill the lock and you rise and the difference is this
But the great thing was, after the huge barrage and weir at Baucaire the current reduced and we made a much speed, about 4.3 kn, and arrived at Avignon well before sunset.
The approach to Avignon is suitably impressive, and it seems to be a very pleasant town.
Sur le pont d'Avignon.
We are rafted up to another British boat on the visitors pontoon. Little things delight us, like the promise of showers tomorrow before we continue up the Rhone.