Canal du Centre

Canal du Centre

Friday, July 7, 2023

Much More Excitement, June 18-23

 Carl and Janna safely aboard and after a visit to Agnes wonderful Sunday produce market we were off to our first stop, a return for me to Buzet-sur-Baise. We arrived a little before 3 pm and found the usual bankside spot in the shade unoccupied so put our the stakes and made reservations to visit the restaurant for dinner.

The happy couple glad to be in France

I had planned for just a short day on Monday, about 2 hours, a return to the bastide town of Vianne that I had earlier visited with Kevin so there was plenty of time to visit the Buzet wine coop.

The Buzet region produced good wines as far back as the Middle Ages and they were exported around the world, even to the US. However, the phylloxera epidemic at the beginning of the 20th century did serious damage to the regions reputation and quality declined. A cooperative was formed in 1955 and an AOC label was finally obtained in 1973. About 90% of the regions growers joined the effort, an unusually high number. Lately, the coop has taken on increased environmental responsibilities, using cover crops in the rows instead of constant plowing to cut down on erosion and avoiding chemical treatments to encourage native pollinators and local species. They have a very interesting and informative website in English.

It doesn’t look like much from the outside but

there’s much deliciousness inside.

Visit and purchases complete, about 1 pm we set off for Vianne and were tied up around 3 pm. Time enough for a little stroll around the village and a libation (or two) at the town bar.

Tuesday morning it was off to Nérac. The plan was to spend just one day there, then head back to Agen so Carl and Janna could catch the train to Bordeaux and my next guests, Jenny and Adrian, could join me there. Oh, how I wish!

Tuesday evening we had a big thunderstorm, the rain bucketing down. When we got up Wednesday morning, the river was running too fast to head downstream so we were going to have to wait until Thursday to leave. We’d have to hustle to make it to Agen for Carl and Janna’s train but the river had definitely calmed down by dinner time.

About 10 pm the clouds thickened we experienced the most intense lightning storm I’ve ever seen. The bolts were up in the clouds but it was an hour of constant flashes and thunder. Then the rain started to fall. Again.

I went to bed around 11:30 but about 2 am I was woken by creaking lines and got up to discover that the river had risen about 5 feet and we were marooned and floating over the top of the quay.

This was the mooring “before”

This was taken about 6:30 am

Note the bench compared to the earlier pic

This is a chart of the river levels.

From 1/2 meter over 0 to nearly 2 in about three hours.

The earlier little hump is Wednesday.

I called the gendarmes to let them know we were there but there was really nothing they could do. I put out the anchor just in case our lines let go so we wouldn’t go over the barrage and then we waited. Luckily the water went down just about as fast as it rose and by about 10 am we were once again down below the level of the quai, no longer of danger of being stranded aground. I really don’t know why we didn’t end up on the quai; some trick of the current, I guess, but we were safe and there was no damage to Oldtimer other than some paint damage from the anchor wire.

There was definitely damage to the river though. Trees and branches were down along it’s entire length so the authorities closed it to navigation and we would just have to wait. There was no word on when it would reopen.

The beautiful path through the park was now an impassable slog.

Some of the damage in the river just upstream from town.

I cleared some of the mud off the quai so we could make it to the stairs off the riverside without going up to our ankles in muck and Carl and Janna made a run to the tourist office to see if they could get some transportation to Agen on Friday to catch their train. The easiest way was by taxi so they made arrangements to leave just after lunch on Friday and I got in touch with Jenny and Adrian to let them know where I was. They were doing some touring around France by car so they could arrive as scheduled on Monday.

I was going to get a really good look at Nérac.


  1. Oh my, what an experience! I love a good orage, but this sounds extreme. Thankfully a good outcome for you!

  2. Oh my goodness, Don! What a drama. I've been hearing a lot about these awful storms in France and I was wondering how you were faring. I'm so pleased you didn't end up stranded on the bank!


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