10 locks, 14 miles, 5 hours
We set of Sunday morning as planned, well a little bit early actually, it was before 10am! A couple of hours and we again, and for the 3rd time in a few months we reached the junction at the head of the Canal de Meuse, only this time we turned right.
By early afternoon we had reached the site of the breach.
Only 6 sheets of piling but this took over 2 weeks to fix and shut the main East West link across France. We had expected there to be a big backlog of waiting boats, but when we arrived at lock 11 just past the breach “unexpectedly2” (it was shutdown requiring a call to VNF) the lockie said he was very surprised to see us even though we had filed a voyage with the VNF at Bar-de-Luc on Friday when it was confirmed the canal would be open again. The lockie said the breach was like a whirlpool sucking everything in sight down it. Quire scary he said. Its amasing how much can be discussed with a bit of French on my part and a bit of English on his. I do find I am understanding more than I can speak all of a sudden.
We had noticed the level between lock 14 and 12 (13 has been removed) that the water level was much lower than normal. This long length is the pound where the breach occurred. Its 12 miles long and probably couldn’t have happened in a worse place.
From the start of the day it hammered down with rain so I expect this was soon refilled. Again we had the whole waterway to ourselves, not another boat on the move all day.
We overnighted at Souvoy moorings between lock 8 and 7 on the rise to the Mauvages tunnel at the summit. The locks are counting down to the summit level all the way from lock 27a where the Canal de Marne au Rhin joins the Moselle.
The water was so clear as we were going along Sholes of black fish as big as 2’ long could easily be spotted.
Once the mist cleared we set off under beautiful sunny autumn skies with that slight nip in the air.