Canal du Centre

Canal du Centre

Friday, July 24, 2015

Invasion of the Hireboats

There are a lot of rental boats on the river.  Several of the companies have bases in the general area, the locks are easy and far apart and it makes for very easy cruising.  But there are just so many places to tie up with services that the hireboats need more often than us; like water every couple of days if everyone is taking showers. 
Since the people on the hireboats only have the boat for a week (in most cases) and paid a couple thousand dollars for the privilege, they like to keep moving. They’ll tie up late in the afternoon for the night and stop somewhere for an hour or so for lunch before moving on.  We also think there must be nobody left in Switzerland because they’re all in France on rental boats.
Which brings us to Mantoche. We found what turned out to be the best spot on the 150 meter quay, at the very northern end. There were two other boats there so plenty of room. We had shade from a big willow tree starting at 2 pm and we were out of the way of most of the activity. We arrived about noon, had our lunch and set up our table and chairs in the shade of the tree.  Shortly thereafter, the fun began.
Mantoche has a free water tap. One. Shortly after lunch it was a beehive of activity with boats coming and going, some stopping for lunch and filling their tanks, others just stopping for water.  By 2pm the quay was full but for the spot right in the middle where a typical French fisherman had set up all his equipment (several long poles, a chair, bait bucket, etc.) in that one remaining spot. Arrives a Swiss guy in a cruiser.  Yells at the fisherman he needs the spot.  The fisherman yells back he has just as much right to the spot as the boat and he isn’t moving.  Boater yells back he’s coming in and starts to approach the spot.  Fisherman threatens him with a big stick.  Boater does two circles through the fisherman’s gear, trying to snag his lines or at least muddy up the water and steams off in disgust at high speed.  Fisherman resumes watching his bobbers despite the kids (and adults, us included) splashing in the water all around his gear. Kinda dumb place to fish.
By late afternoon we were the only ones left. By 7 or 8 pm it was full again, this time for the night.
Thursday was a much quieter day; no raging fisherman and about half as many boats. We bicycled to nearby Apremont for a look and then on to Velet where we found a boulangerie.  We must have looked a little warm as one of the other bakery patron said “bonne courage” as we climbed on the bikes for the trip back.
Friday we were off to see if we could snag the bankside spot we’d used between Auxonne and Gray on the way north.  Nobody was in it so we could.

Another shady bankside spot.

Saturday morning about 10 we were off again.  26 k, 4 hours and 2 locks later we arrived back at the Port Royal Marina.  With just about 2 weeks left of this summers adventure, we were going to have to start what chores needed to be completed before we left Oldtimer for the winter.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All of a sudden I'm getting comment spam. I'll have to use Captcha until it gets under control. Sorry...