Bonjour, I am in France

It has again been a while since I got in here and update this blog. It is bothersome. But… I am making good progress on my way south. I am now in the little town of Fumay, in the Ardennes of France. It is beautiful here. To get here I went up the river Meuse past the cities of Liege and Dinant and the border town of Givet.
At Givet I paid the fees for the french waterways, a sort of tax, and got my vignet to stick on the windshield. After Givet the weather changed from very sunny, hot and humid to just warm and very humid (thunderstorms and massive rainstorms). So yesterday I changed the sun screen cover over the cockpit into a rain shelter screen. Today I have used to bike around a bit in between showers and dry all my clothes and gear that have gotten drenched. On the way I have passed through the Ham tunnel. Very special. A shortcut through the mountain at Ham sur Meuse, tunnel without illumination, length 565 m and no towpath, so the only way out is by boat… It was fun!

Also I am in the proud possession of a remote control. With this little yellow box I can open and close the locks. The locks have gotten fairly small, after all the big locks on the lower Meuse. Now I come to the lock, press a button and the light goes from red to red/green. Lock opens on my side and the light goes green. I enter, tie up to the wall and then push a blue bar upward, the lock closes and water fills in. I go up with an enormous speed. That has cost me a line, which got stuck onto the staircase under water. I couldn’t retrieve it since, so just cut it loose and gave it to the lock. When the lock is full, the upper doors open and then I leave. Most of it is hard work, but as long as it works I am moving south. I have to go ways around since the primary canals that are shortest way down south are closed due to water shortage. Wonder how that could happen this summer with plenty of rain??? Anyways, I am going by Paris and the upper Seine. From Pont Au Bar a bit south of here on the Meuse I will go into the Canal des Ardennes toward Paris. It’s supposed to be beautiful, but lots of locks to work through. I am definitely going to be well trained when I get through that. I am mostly posting pictures on Facebook, because for this blog site it is too much of a hassle. Sorry for that.

Author: captain

Johannes, born in 1960 in Zierikzee, The Netherlands. Owner of S/Y Isabell. Retired environmental toxicologist, now living aboard and sailing south.