Inside a lock
Inside a lock

The journey begins . . . here.

Wednesday 11th July 2018
Verdun-sur-le-Doubs to St-Jean-de-Losne
It’s a lovely marina at Verdun-sur-le-Doubs. Not very big which means you need to get there early to get a spot. They had excellent WiFi, a shower and toilet. The cafe/bar/Capitainerie is right next to the Tourism Office. It opens 10.00am and closes late, you can have a coffee, a meal or just a drink. The whole set up is very convenient. If you’re happy to take a walk, Verdun-sur-le-Doubs has a great supermarket as well. One of the things I love about French villages is church bells. Not sure why. Verdun-sur-le-Doubs has two lots of church bells ringing out on the hour – and half hour.

My better half was doing his usual checks and upon opening the floorboards saw the hull had a lot of water in it. My heart sank and he was even more disappointed. He changed into his overalls and first we got the davits stored in there out, so he could climb into the hull and see what the problem was. The plan was always to put the davits back up since the boat was going on sale. Under the floor boards he found the hose clamps of the exhaust hose had wiggled loose. Similar story to the hot water leak we had 29th June. The vibration of the boat when idling or waiting outside locks can get so intense that things fall off the tables. These connections are subject to vibration so they do wiggle loose. An annual check of all these connections is critical. We skipped the full check up last year as the engineer in Roanne had contracted cancer and there was no-one else to do it. Also a number of minor repairs never got done.

Getting ready to enter the lock
Getting ready to enter the lock

We got going but switched the engine off in a lock. As we left the lock we noticed the water pressure was right down. Eventually my husband decided to pour water into the cooling sytem manually so we could keep going. We alternated between one of us doing water and one of us driving. I counted a litre of water every 20 seconds and feared we would run out of water. So we switched to collecting river water in a bucket. All I wanted to do was find a place to stop and re-boot the system, as schlepping water in and out the boat every few seconds wasn’t a sustainable solution. Another boat passed us and asked why we were limping along. Turns out they had problems with their Morse cable and were using a rope to keep going. The joys of boating!

We stopped at Seurre and got the sytem going again. It worked perfectly for the next 80 minutes. Who knows what causes these things to happen but that issue would go onto the list for repairs/inspections at St-Jean-de-Losne. Won’t lie I was relived to finally tie up at the marina when we got there. We’ve spent so much time in St-Jean-de-Losne we know our way around it and what to expect which is super useful. I’ve grown to love it there. There’s a fantastic Casino supermarket right behind the marina which stays open until 20.00pm week nights. Also always visit the barge museum.

Thursday 12th July 2018
St-Jean-de-Losne
This was a day of meetings with the boat agent and the chap who runs operations. Shangri La had a shopping list of things to be sorted. My better half first met with the chap who oversees repairs. Some of the jobs were routine things like oil and impeller changes. Most were small issues but if a person wants to keep a boat in good nick they must be done. The brand new generator was playing up and should still be under guarantee. The water cooling issue had to be looked at. My husband had bought a new impeller, blade and masticator for the toilet which he hadn’t been able to fit.

Securing the boat inside a lock
Securing the boat inside a lock

Next person he met was the sales agent. All along the waterways we had told other boaters we were selling and a person gets so much advice – and warnings – it’s hard to know what to do. The agent at H2O was open to working with other agents, contrary to what we’d been told. He didn’t push a price on us but said the market would determine what offers would come our way. He did give us a wide ball park figure in which to pitch the asking price. My husband went walkabout at the marina and looked on-line to see what boats they had on the market and get an idea for an asking price. It was clear if we wanted to sell, we would have to be a less ambitious than we had hoped.

Apparently boat prices peaked around 2008, but with financial instability around that time there was a glut of boats on the market, and a subsequent decrease in prices. We only bought Shangri La in 2012 so why prices continued to drop is a mystery. I have noticed that it’s mainly oldies of European or Antipodean origin on the waterways. They’re getting older and youngesters or even middle-aged people aren’t flocking to own boats. I still think it’s a fabulous way of life/holiday and not enough is being done to entice or encourage people to explore the inland waterways of Europe. Frankly it’s a perfect way to get to know a country as you’re immersed in life with locals. Most visitors to France go to Paris and straight back home. Paris is not France. It’s beautiful, but it’s not typical of France or French people.

The journey continues  . . . . . . 

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