Monday, 1 September 2014

Toul to Nancy

10 Locks on the Vosges twice (20), 22 other locks, 1 lift bridge, 1 aqueduct (twice) 27, correct miles, 22 wrong miles, 25 hours.

Toul to Nancy should have been pretty straight forward, out of Toul, turn left, back though the other side of Toul, a tootle down the River Mozelle to join the Canal des Vosges for a couple of large locks then turn left again onto the Embranchment de Nancy, then left again down the Mozelle and into Nancy.  A trip of 27 miles and a long one 7 hour day or a couple of easy days.  In the end it took  3 night stops and 4 cruising days although the last one was only an hour.

Leaving Toul we soon cam across a lift bridge.  The first since Belgium.

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A couple of locks later saw us at the junction of the Moselle.  Both ways take us to Nancy and as we are doing a ring it mattered not which way we went so we tossed a coin and right won.

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This took us around the back of Toul which is a fortified town.

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Start point was Port de France

Once past Toul the River Moselle takes over, its wide, so wide its the first time we have seen buoys, oh and the scenery again.

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Birification buoy

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At the end of this delightful few hours we came into a big lock followed by another.  We’ve not seen the likes of these since Belgium.

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Trusty hook deployed

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You can’t miss the PK markers here

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Rail bridge

All the way along the Moselle here is a disused railway line. Behind the now overgrown line is a high stone wall running for miles and miles.  You can only glimpse it but this bridge is part of the infrastructure.

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At the top of the 2 big locks is a commercial basin where scrap metal seems to be the product being moved.

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The finished product is steel bar in coils.  I guess to make rebar for use in reinforced concrete.

After this area we pulled over to let the dogs off for empting, and this is where we made the mistake.  Instead of going left we went straight on and got hypnotised by the beauty of the Canal des Vosges.

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Lots of boates gold

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River Moselle below

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On the way back


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So how’s this for a strange boat?  We saw this first in Toul marina. It looks like it was a ferry at one time.

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On the way back we saw it was unloaded. I think this must be his yard behind the gates and there was a docking point for the ramps.

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About half an hour past here and we reached the junction we overshot at 4mph.

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Not hare really was it?

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Yay Lock 5

Accept it broke down requiring a 30 minute wait for VNF to do what they do. From here on the 5 up and the next 10 down the locks set automatically. Once through lock 11 we stopped for the night as it was getting late and we didn’t want to be stuck and the moorings at the start of lock 12 looked fine.

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We had this canal all to our selves.  There were no other boats moving or moored along its whole length.

The following morning we set off down to lock 13 and then onto the Canal de la Moselle towards Nancy.

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Leaving lock 13

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Like the approach to all citys the suburbs tend to be less than inviting and Nancy is no exception. But by no mans the worst we’ve seen.

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We couldn’t moor in the marina but the next basin had a space and no restriction signs so we moored there with the help of a group of old men sat smoking and chatting.

This is the mooring by night.

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The waterfront here looks like its being made nice and there is certainly a lot of activity with walkers, joggers, and sit and chatters.  The other side now has boats moored, and walking the dogs along the canal bank there is no shortage of places to moor for free.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Avalost

14 locks, 15 miles, 7 hours

What a funny day.  This is where we started this morning.

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and this is where we ended the day.

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Somehow I (we) overshot the one and only exit from the Canal Vosges which would have taken us towards Nancy.  This canal is so beautiful I guess we just got hypnotised.

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T Rex?

It only occurred to me that we were on the wrong canal when at 3pm I saw the sun directly in front of me which meant we were heading South of East but Nancy should have been East of North.  Had we carried on it would have eventually taken us all the way to the Mediterranean Sea.

It was definitely time to check some maps and the PC data and it was confirmed we were on the Canal  des Vosges and not the River Nancy Branch.  While I checked the info Herbie made a leap too far and went for a swim. Deb helped him out and he then shook himself all over some passers by.  He seemed to think it was all a good jape.

So we are back where we started.   The locks here shut at 6pm so navigation has to stop then.  It was a good day all the same and something to laugh about.

So tomorrow we will try again.

This is where we are now.

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So instead of turning left and North at the green junction, I (we) trundled merrily South.

So now you know.  Even at 4mph it’s easy to miss a turning.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Commercy To Toul

18 Locks, 1 tunnel, 18 miles, 5¾ hours

When we arrived at Commercy Tim and Jan from Doorengone were already there. On their advice we went out for a steak dinner.  Wow! was it good.

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We did a bit of shopping at Aldi and discovered their chocolate which is also Wow. Commercy seemed to buck the trend.  Most of the shops were occupied and in the centre was this public building totally disproportionate to the size of the town.

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We set of from Commercy knowing we had a long day and a lot of locks.  As we had guests its was nice to give them a good trip and of course the workload was shared as my brother did a fair stint on the helm.

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Commercy

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Leaving Commercy

After a few hours and a few locks we made it to Lock No.1 on the Canal de Est branch Nord and the River / Canal de la Meuse, with the numbering starting at the border of France and Belgium with the last lock No. 59. Since the Belgium border all the locks have been ascending. We have climbed 151.5m and done 272.4km

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Once out of this lock and we soon came to a junction and a new canal where we turned left.

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The first part of this was defiantly a contour canal we followed a cruiser out and filtered in between him and one coming up behind.  The one behind was non to pleased with this and powered up to overtake us.  Did he use his horn to give the correct signal? No.  He just waved his arm gesturing us to move out of his way.  Seeing how it bothered him so much we did, but being narrow and shallow he chopped up the water making the overtake quite interesting.

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Pagny-sur-Meuse

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Lay-St Remi and the overtaking boat moored up just 6km later

Really makes you wonder if it was worth the effort.  Probably less than 15 minutes ahead of us.

2km later we met with Foug tunnel east end.  Here we had to wait for the lights to go green in our favour as a barge was coming the other way.

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This was the longest tunnel so far about ½ mile.  Once out we came to a basin and were signalled to the by a green light into the right hand lock where we were relieved of our remote control.

What’s this?

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Still not sure? Does this help?

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OK it’s a lock going down.  Yes going down and the first of a series of 12 locks down to Toul.  Each lock is about 2.7m so dropping us 32m.  Each lock automatically set it self for our descent so the 12 locks and 8km look a little under 3 hours.

We were gongoozled and flashed. I didn’t see, it but the woman in the red dress lifted her hem and flashed her red knickers as we went under the bridge according to my brother.

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Once through lock 25 we arrived at Port de France, the town moorings. However there was no room for us, so we have moored on the other side.  Not a problem, no one has asked us to move and we are right by the VNF office.

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Can you spot us? and we have Napoleon close by

Monday morning me and Malcolm took a train and a bus back to St. Mihiel to get the vehicles this took 2 hours in all. The girls took a walk into town and Deb lined up some window shopping for the next day as France seems to have either a half or full day closing on Mondays.

In the afternoon we all went into town for lunch, however this proved troublesome as we were late.  Lunch in France is 12-2pm and not a second before or after.  The first restaurant informed as we sat down, the had no eggs, no fritts, no Plate de Jour, and sold beer at €3.90 per 250ml. We left.  The next place we did manage (grudgingly) to get a pint of beer and a couple of wines for the girls but no food so left with no other choice. Malcolm, Dawn and Deb got kebab and chips on the way back to the boat.

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I waited till I got back to and did a chorizo omelette

So much for French cuisine today.  Malcolm and Dawn took there leave late afternoon for a ferry at 9.45pm.  We are now nearly 300 miles from Calais.