48° 51′ 3.9636” N 2° 22′ 4.6992” E
July 28. – 2013
In the late afternoon we call at Port St-Louis after a beautiful sailing through Paris and the northern suburbs.
Hanne and Per agree on a contract with the port captain. One years lease of berth in the harbour, supervised boat and help to winterize Ronja – a total of 1,890 Euros or 14,000 Danish kroner. This may sound expensive, but it’s still cheaper than having the boat lie on Thurø in Denmark.
The agreement is, that Per will write in English to the port captain’s son explaining what we want to have done about the boat when winter approaches – oil change, oil filter change, frost protection of water pipes, check the hot water heater and possibly charge the batteries.
The port captain is something of a pocket philosophical chatterbox, we get to hear about his Italian childhood and the difference between nordic values and southern European values. People in the north have lived hard lives. They have no time to talk. They get right to the point, says the harbour master. People in the South are more into each other, and establish a relationship before they reach the matter itself. He is obviously disappointed, that we do not want to talk about the advantages and disadvantages of different forms of contract length, while Per just makes it clear that he only wants a contract of one year.
Port St-Louis is a somewhat worn port, the boats in the harbour are also worn, and the toilet facilities are not something to write about.
We are located in an industrial area, with large ghetto settlements populated by immigrants. Poissy is the hometown of the Peugeot factories. Yet we believe that Ronja has found a good winter home. Kirsten is charming the port’s self-appointed lawman – the other port residents call him Rambo, his real name i Hans – who lives all year in his boat just two berths from ours. We give him the remaining stock of beer and soft drinks from the refrigerator and keep our fingers crossed, that he too will keep a close eye on Ronja.
Log-book: Sailed distance: 81 km or 40 miles. Time: departs at 9:30 am. Paying in Arsenal harbour. At five o’clock, we are – again – at Port St-Louis. Crew: George, Hanne, Kirsten and Per. Weather: Still growing hot. The cockpit tent is up most of the trip in order to provide a little shade.
49° 9′ 52.6824” N 1° 23′ 18.7512” E
July 21. – 2013
It will be another hot day, where we take turns having the rudder-manager position. There is plenty to look at over the landscape which alternates between rough rocks and woods, small villages that still turn their back to the river or major industrial areas.
Even after we have left the tidal part of the river Seine, it is still only used to a limited extent for leisure purposes. We meet a few fishermen here, a couple of water scooters and on rare occasions a water skier. During the entire trip between Rouen and Paris, we wind up having only met two sailboats like our own. A Swede and then the French in Rouen. Not even motorboats, which are otherwise suitable for river navigation, we encounter many of.
We are in telephone contact partly with Lasse, Tianling and Nellie, as we have an agreement to meet in Paris on Tuesday afternoon, and partly Jørgen and Hanne, who have announced that they are going to come down to us in the car, and that if they are running non-stop, they can be with us by nine o’clock this evening.
We enter the Port St-Louis. It is barely deep enough for us and we find a berth with both water and electricity. It is a dilapidated port but the first “real” port, we have encountered since Rouen. We buy large quantities at a supermarket in a big immigrant neighbourhood two kilometres from the port. When we want to return to the boat we ask the supermarket, if they can call a taxi. They will not. It’s not their job. Also this part of the service industry have not been trained in helpfulness to strangers.
By nine o’clock Hanne and Jørgen arrive with two bicycles and 20 plastic bags with luggage. Just the essentials. They will stay in the aft cabin. We eat and put a sign in their car, that it will stay in the parking lot for 8-10 days by appointment with the harbour master.
Log-book: Sailed distance: 87 kilometres, covering 43 nautical miles. Time: We leave at 7.30 times to make today’s first lock, Notre-Dame de la Garenne. At 17 we dock at the port of Port St. Louis in the town of Carrieres-sous Poissy. Weather: The same weather continues.