Ecluse de Sablons

Tom Fenton and Faith Ressmeyer
Fri 26 Sep 2014 18:41
45 18.575N 4 47.795E
In the last three days we made it from Viviers to Valance, sat out a northerly for a day, and then managed to reach Sablons, which means we may reach Lyons and leave the Rhone tomorrow.

First some photos of the day Faith described in the last entry. Here we are in the depths of Bollene lock, the deepest in Europe.

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And here we are from the same position after the water level was raised.

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Valence has a good port for pleasure boats with the best showers I have used for a long time. You probably cannot imagine how wonderful a good shower is after several days afloat or, as this morning, after a very cold night. For autumn is with us now. As each day goes by, and as we move further north, the trees are increasingly showing their autumn tints. And yesterday morning, for the first time for two and a half years, we had condensation on the inside of the cabin windows. In the Med we are well used to dew on the outside of the boat. We use it as free water to clean the deck and cockpit with. But we have not seen condensation inside the cabin since somewhere just south of La Coruña, where it was unseasonably cold in 2012.

This morning I dressed before getting out of bed. And in three layers.

But things are definitely improving. We are now within reach of Lyons, and we are going to make it after all. I mean to Dunkirk. I lost confidence at Avignon, but now i have it back. The landscape has improved. From Tournon, the home of one of the biggest vineyard operations on the Rhone, we have been through gorgeous gorges, and the hillsides are covered with terraced vineyards. Picturesque towns give way to picturesque villages. We went under what may be the first suspension bridge, built in 1825.

We nearly stopped at Andancette, where there is a very inviting pontoon and the intriguing prospect of a Museum of Armenian culture, but it would have left us with too long a journey to Lyons for tomorrow. So we came on to the lock at Sablons, and now we are on the pontoon upstream of the lock, where we have moored for the night. So close to the lock any commercial traffic is necessarily going slowly so there is no wash from passing craft and we hope for a quiet night and an early start for Lyons tomorrow.