All men dream, but not equally.
Those who dream by night, in the dusty recesses of their minds,
wake in the day to find that it was vanity.
But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men,
for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.
- T.E. Lawrence -

Paris to Neronville

23 June 07

Paris- Boissise-la-Bertrand (River Seine 58 km 4 locks)

after four days in Paris and 117 euro for mooring we decided to leave and continue on our journey. We still need to find somewhere to leave the boat and fly home to sort out some details at home.

George and lucie George and Lucie

0730 hrs got up early looking for a good start, however getting out of the Arsenal was a little more difficult than you'd think. Finally at 1100 hrs we enter the lock to leave. This is a strait forward run up stream and we'd planned to cover 40 km today. The first lock is only 7 km away, Ecluse Anglais. This turned out to be run by one of those Frenchman who didn't like pleasure craft (not even French ones) On approach we radioed for the gates to be opened and got the green light, on approach the lights were switched to red and we had to turn away. After treading water for 15 mins of which he wouldn't answer the radio, we spotted a peniche approaching form the upstream side. He entered and the lock cycled, once again the light went to green and we approached, to have the light turned to red once more. We again treed water for 10 mins and we are passed by a peniche travelling upstream. He enters the lock and moors right at the very back, so when we enter we have to pass him in the lock and moor up front. The lock cycles once more and just when you think your about to escape the lock keeper keeps everybody waiting for 40 mins while the peniche fills his water tanks. On exit I did my very best to thank the keeper for his kind consideration. I'm pleased to say his kind are very few and far between. The rest of the journey was straight forward, other than being delayed at Ablon Sur Seine because he closed for lunch. When we reached our our end point for the day which was to be Ceris Orangis there was no where to moor as all the live aboard peniche had the banks taken. We just kept plodding on finally stopping at Boissise La Bertrand when the locks closed for the night at 1900 hrs.

boissise The overnight stop at Boissise La Bertrant

A very nice peaceful place, we had to use the fender board as the side wall was designed for peniche and had a large overhanging lip. However once moored and fenders placed we retired to George and Lucie's boat for wine, champers and strawberries. Facilities here are nil other than mooring free but these can turn out to be the better places if you looking for peace and quiet.

Sun 24 June 07

Boissise La Bertrand-Chartrettes (River Seine 14 km 2 locks)

once again looking for an early start to cover the small distance of 14 km and catch up with Tom who had left Paris a couple of days earlier.

0730 hrs up and ready to go but once again we got stuck at the lock due to commercial traffic and it was 1100 hrs before we passed through the Ecluse Vives Eaux. This is a very affluent stretch of the river and is commuter country for Paris. The houses here are large and look very expensive with well manicured lawns. The river it's self very quiet with it being Sunday only one or two commercial peniche on the go, we just always find them on the approach to the locks and they always get priority. Just before Chartrettes is a town, Melun and on the charts is an island with "prison" identified on it. As we passed it was truly as you'd expect a prison to be, high brick walls topped with barbed wire and watch towers, the building it's self was like something form the fifties with tiny windows and exterior bars fitted to everyone. Funny but you get the impression once you've been here you won't want to re-offend.

chartrettes Ecluse La Cave Chartrettes

So we move along the river to arrive at Chartrettes Ecluse La Cave 1230 hrs and doesn't he close for lunch so once again we get stuck for 90 mins to cover the last one hundred meters to the Halte Fluviale which is a private sailing club that allows us poor wanders to use it facilities for a meagre 7 euro a night or 40 week or an even cheaper 100 a month. The town is situated closed by with two train stations both with excellent services to Paris 35 mins away. So we've made enquiries about leaving the boat here for a week and flying home. All we need to do is arrange the flights. George and Lucie are staying here a month for the jazz festival so they have offered to keep an eye on the boat while we're away.

chartrettes Chartrettes fluviale

Tues 26 June

Flights arranged we left Tamara moored safely on the pontoons of Chartlettes 75 km from Paris. 0430 hrs we walk the 5 km to the station to catch the 0531 hrs train to Gare de Lyon change to the green train to Gare de Nord then change to the blue train for Charles De Gaule 2 a total of 73 minutes but the first train is cancelled and we have to wait for the 0601 hrs train instead. However we have plenty time as the flight isn't till 1030 hrs and in true Easyjet form is late by 30 mins. This time at home gives us the opportunity to sort out the bungalow and collect spares and new pieces of kit before returning to collect the boat. At 1130 hrs Gemma collects us from the airport, it doesn't feel as though we've been away over six weeks already.

Mon 02 July

Flight times for returning to France are 1810 hrs from NCL. This should get us home on Tamara for around 2100 hrs. All spares and food packed, did I mention you should bring with you ample supplies of gravy granules, Yorkshire pudding mix and stuffing, they don't have any of these in France.(Uncivilised people) oh! and dumplings, they haven't got a clue. For us the journey begins at 1400 hrs when we go to Gemma's and wasn't too end till 0130 hrs tomorrow, with flight delays due to weather and train delays due to people sending us to the wrong platforms.

nemours Nemours Ecluse
However at the other end, on the platform at Melun was George the guardian angle of the French waterways waiting for us, who had called shortly after we left CDG airport to see where we were and arranged to collect us from Melun. We were very pleased to see him there. The bad news is that Tom who we have travelled with since Gravelines, has had to be lifted out the water at Champagne sur Seine following a discussion with the canal bottom and his propellors. Both were badly damaged

Tues 03 July

recovering form yesterday and tiding away all the parts we returned with.

Wed 04 July

We decided to stay another day and sort out the boat before we moved on. We really needed to do a supply run to the local Champion super market and listening to every bodies advice we needed to create some form of sun shade over the cockpit. So we called in at the local brico (B&Q to us) and parted with about sixty euro's for six, four meter lengths of 32 mm dia waste pipe and various T's and 90 deg bends and we spent the afternoon fabricating a frame over the cockpit which we could then stretch our ex army capes to give us the cover.

Thurs 05 July

Chartlettes-Ecluse 14 Bordes (River Seine-Canal de Loing 32 km 7 locks)

Champagne 2 lift 2.95 m

Moret 19 lift 2.24 m

Bourgogne 18 lift 2.37m

Ecuelles 17 lift 1.31 m

Episy 16 lift 3.16 m

Berville 15 1.96 m

Bordes 14 lift 1.93 m

0800 hrs cast off with a little help from the French boat behind as there's a gale blowing form astern. We will be meeting up with Tom who is still at Champagne sur Seine waiting for the two propellers to be delivered and machined. At about 1200 hrs we catch up with Tom and Winston at the lock of Campaign sur Seine and find that he's back in the water but still waiting for parts so can't go anywhere. It's sad but we have to leave him behind as we need to cover the distance we've lost by returning home. Tom is thinking of returning home to the UK. Our admiration goes with him, to have handled a Broom 35 this far single handed is to be admired. We turn off the River Seine into the Canal de Loing at St Mammes this canal is very narrow and shallow, in places the sonar is reading 0.1 below the keel. The locks are all 39 meters long and 5 meters wide, however you still meet the occasional commercial peniche, who it must be said are very professional in their approach(more then can be said for the live aboard). The Canal de Loing is about 20 meters wide and 1.5 meters deep. Our draft is 1.5 meters peniche are very similar, there isn't enough water at the edges. The way to approach a passing arrangements is NOT to head for the bank, steer directly at the peniche bow, who will all but stop and when you close on him man handle your yacht along the side of the peniche, the guys are great at this, it saves damage to either boat.
nemours Nemours is a town with a history dating back to the Romans

For the first time we had to moor bows in as the water simply wasn't deep enough for us. This involved rigging stern lines around the bows to keep the stern out in the canal away from the shallows, we also used the fender plank tidied to the toe rail to keep the boat out from the bank. A valuable lesson we learned tonight was to use the wind, turn the boat so the wind pulls the stern out from the bank, compensate with lines ashore. All in all a very restless night sleep. However a bonus was we met Paul and Ruth who were taking their boat back to the UK from the Med after 8 years of sailing the Med. The information we gained has been extremely valuable. Not to mention a good evening spent exchanging stories and wine.

Fri 06 July Ecluse 14 Bordes-Ecluse 7 Neronville-Ecluse(Canal de Loing 21 km 7 locks)


Fromonville 13 stop gates

Buttes 12 lift 1.60 m

Chaintreauville 11 lift 3.10 m

Bagneaux 10 lift 2.09m

Beaumoulin 9 lift 2.20 m

Egreville 8 lift 0.48m

Neronville 7 lift 3.11 m

We left our moorings at Ecluse 14 by 1000 hrs. With the plan to cover 24 km and 10 locks. Did we mention that all but a few of the locks in his canal section are manual, you are expected to help the keeper with the operation of the opposite side. In the little locks this isn't a problem however in the larger locks ahead it is easier t put a crew member a shore a little way from the lock and have them catch your ropes and help the keeper. This part of the journey was interrupted for most of the day as we spent a great deal of time in Nemours, having a little look around but more importantly seeing a doctor for Debs who hasn't been very well lately. During our trip home she was given antibiotics by our Doctor, which unfortunately reacts with sun light. However 21 euro for a consultation and 2.46 euro for tablets is a sight cheaper then 6% of your income, you also get to see the doctor the same day not two weeks later. This section on the journey was very scenic and the staff at all but one of the locks are extremely helpful. What's more, if you ask them a question in french as we needed to on several occasions today, they will always do their best to answer in English. Paul and Ruth who we met last nigh at out mooring sight did indicate that the further south you go the more pleasant the people become, this is true. The young lock keeper at the last lock asked us how much further we are going today, as they radio a head and prepare the locks for you. We replied one, he then said that if we did one, there was no go moorings along the stretch, which is only one km long, however if we were to continue to the next lock there is a mooring (free) which would have enough depth for our boat to be along side birthed and not bow too. He was very helpful as we've ended up with an lovely birth for the night in a peaceful scenic location. This section of the canal is shallow, narrow and tricky but can be easily navigated with care. If you read Michael Bryants book, he says that the distance to cover in the Canal de Loing and canal de Briare is 103 km and seven locks, the Canal de Loing is 49 km and 19 locks, canal de Briare is 54 km and 32 locks. MMMM! someone's got his info wrong.

nemours Nemours Centre