48° 6′ 49.4928” N 5° 8′ 21.3216” E
July 11, 2015
Two pieces of cake wrapped in tin foil is the farewell gift from the nice Brits, who will stay for another 10 days, because they are watching a dog for a friend. “We usually give the cakes to lock keepers,” they say. We ask if they are sailing all year. No, no. “The winter we spend in Spain. Only in the summer we sail in France “.
Today’s retirees have many ways of organizing their lives. Previously, we have spoken a few times with a Dutch couple, who no longer had a permanent in the Netherlands, but in the summer months sailed on the canals of Europe and in the winter lived in their apartment in Cape Town, South Africa.
The ride is beautiful. The canal is curving through the landscape. Completely different from the straight channel-stretch, we have been accustomed to. Beautiful hills, rolling cornfields and lots of flowers close to the canal. The intense nature close to us is the big attraction of sailing on a canal. The banks made up of a tangle of flowers – climbing plants, thistles and many others – with purple, yellow and white as the predominant colours. A paradise for insects and birds. Dragonflies play tag. Venom spider webs are evident in the early morning hours and above us eagles are flying.
The only snake in paradise is the green sea cucumbers, which at long distances reduce our speed to less than two knots, because the keel plods through the wild growing of underwater plants. Periodically we put the engine in reverse to free the propeller of plant residues.
Lasse is driving in advance with the “follow car”, which is parked at a small jetty in Froncles. Five boats and five campers around a small piece of grass with electricity and toilets. It is fairly standard for a port in these parts. After having parked the car, he runs 14 to 15 kilometres back and meets us in a lock. Tianling jumps also gets of the boat on the way to take a walk.
It’s great to have Nellie on board. She is three and a half years old, and she is quickly settled on the boat. The large living cabin in the middle is hers. Here she is playing with clay, Legos and drawing. Here she sleeps at night. Quickly she finds out how to move around in the cockpit. Only once it goes wrong. She fell and hit her head against the rudder stock, but a heron flies over at the same time. “Look, Nellie, your happiness heron. It will see if you are seriously injured, and now flies further. ”
The hardest part for Nellie is the limits that naturally must be on a ship. In the cabin and cockpit, she must be without a lifejacket. But up on the deck and along the quay in the port she must always have a life jacket. After some border dispute on this, it is accepted as one of the terms of sailing life.
Log book: Today’s distance: 24 km. Sailed time 9:30 to 15:30 = 6 hours. Locks: 9 pcs. Weather: Warm, sultry, sun.