This Daily Prompt – Voyage – was posted a few days ago, but I’ve just thought of something that would be suitable….
I’ve done lots of voyages over the past five years, by sailing yacht. This is part of a very old blog post I wrote five years ago, when we were making the voyage through the canals and waterways of France, to get to the Mediterranean. We had the masts taken down and carried them on deck, and were travelling along the Seine…….
Bonjour, c’est moi. We left Rouen last Wednesday, and have now got as far as the centre of Paris. We have had 5 really good overnight stops at different places along the Seine, only one of which we had to pay for, which was at the little yacht club in Vernon. We have tried to use the free public moorings on the local town quay where possible. Last night we were in Bougival, and after buying baguettes and croissants this morning, we left at 10am to head to Paris.
We have now negotiated 4 or 5 locks on the way – to start with they seemed a bit scary to me, but now I’m used to them! The worst bit is having to use the VHF radio, which in itself is scary enough, but now I have to speak in French to the lock keeper, so our conversation goes something like this ….
ME – “eclusier, eclusier, ici yacht anglais, nous sommes approcher l’ecluse amont.”
LOCK KEEPER – “Le singe et dans l’arbre, croque Monsieur, lundi, mardi, mercredi, sur la Pont Davignon.”.
Basically I have not a clue what he is saying to me on the VHF.
ME – “repetez s’il vous plait”
LOCK KEEPER – “la chat est sous la table, il fait chaud, ici la plume de ma tante.”
My French is so bad, I still haven’t got a clue what he was saying …..
So we head for the lock, they have a traffic light system, and we keep our fingers crossed that the green light means we can enter the lock. Once inside, you have to use a long boathook to get a rope round a tiny bollard which may be six foot above you, while trying not to fall into the water. Then the gates close, you might have to move your rope onto another bollard, and try not to let the mast of the boat crash into the side of the lock. Sometimes there is another boat in the lock with you, but these are HUGE MASSIVE VESSELS, basically barges carrying heavy goods, some are 50, 60 or 70 metres long.
Eventually the lock filling and emptying finished, the gates opened and we could leave the lock and continue our voyage…….