Douai?…I don’t know!

We are now about 110km into our French canals part of the adventure and it has been interesting so far.

View from being towed in the tender

View from being towed in the tender

We have had some success with our French and I’m sure this will improve.

So far we have travelled through Henuin, Aire sur le lys, Bethune and now we are in Douai.  Aire sur le lys was a bit well…’interesting’ especially feeling a bit like “I wonder who hangs about here”.  That day was particularly eventful because we ran aground where two canals met!

Pete pulling up the anchor after we used it to free us

Pete pulling up the anchor after we used it to free us

It took about an hour to free ourselves from the mud.  Around the same time the wind picked up and sent our yellow washing up bowl and marigolds flying into the canal.  These were later salvaged but we lost a scrubbing brush in the process.

Bethune had a much better mooring even if we did anger a few fishermen trying to go down a channel that it later turned out to be too shallow for us!  We didn’t go aground this time.  On the way into the town we were greeted with something  that wouldn’t have looked out of place in lord of the Rings and I felt like a contestant in the crystal maze as we had to use boat hooks to move our ropes up as we were lifted some 13 meters in the biggest lock I have ever seen!

Crystal maze

Crystal maze

The weather has proved challenging…everything is wet from sitting outside all day and so much of the boat is full of drying waterproofs.  Finding fuel in Bethune proved to be a mission as the Navicarte (book detailing places to stay etc) is a little lacking in up-to date information.  The fuel station detailed in the newest version of the navicarte has been turned into a farm shop…not very helpful when you want fuel.  After we had walked quite some way finding an illusive petrol station on intuition alone, Chris and Pete ended up carrying the fuel some 20 mins using two oars and some rope!  The navicarte is also optimistic on where pleasure boats might moor so we have been relying on mooring up to the bank and approaching slowly so as not to run aground!

However the bread is good as are the pain au raisins!

3 Responses to “Douai?…I don’t know!”

  1. Sounds awesome… I bet I’m not the only one wishing I was out there with you guys 🙂

    Eve

  2. Hey hey!!!
    Sorry I haven’t sent you guys a note earlier… life has been more than a little bit busy of late. Sounds like you’re all having a good time and enough adventures 🙂 Love that lock by the way, looks awesome!!! Hope all is well and you haven’t murdered eachother yet?! hehe

  3. maidofmettle Says:

    Not yet!

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