All the way to Vivier
Tom Fenton and Faith Ressmeyer
Tue 23 Sep 2014 16:37
We got an early start this morning. Tom sensed that the high winds of the night were abating and we took off without breakfast from our refuge at L'Ardoise. It was chilly all day with the wind against us still, but we chugged along at just over 3.5 knots coming to rest in the small and shallow harbour of what looks to be a lovely town - I can see a church and a castle or fortress up the hill amidst the limestone crags and there are bluffs and caves on the other side of the canal.
The feature of the day was passing through, well, up, the lock at Bollene. We entered the cavern that is the lock enclosure, threw our ropes around the floating bollard, and rose 22m accompanied by the growling and howling of water gushing and metal scraping against metal. It's the highest lock in Europe - it was also pretty quick. From waiting pontoon on one side to thankful get-out at the other end just under an hour.
We'll probably save sightseeing in Vivier for our trip downstream next year. We have to make tracks tomorrow and plan to leave at first light. Because guess what? More northerlies are on their way.