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Kerr Barging Blogs

We have spent a fair bit of time cruising in the South Pacific aboard our 33 years young 11.1metre yacht, Pastime of Sydney. We are now cruising through the canals and rivers of France on our old barge, "Anja", which was built in the North of the Netherlands in 1903. Anja was 110 years old in May 2013 and we celebrated with good French Champagne- but the boat did not get any! In 2014, for Anja's 111th, we took her back to where she was built in the North of the Netherlands.
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The last leg

Hi Everyone,

Sorry for the delay in posting the remaining section of our 2015 barging adventure on Anja. We have been super busy and some sicknesses have intervened.

img 2700Moret on the Loing RiverWe really enjoyed out leisurely promenade to the top of the Seine and back, exploring parts missed last time and we also enjoyed the lack of fierce current which made things more challenging on the previous visit.

img 2699The bridge at Moret sur Loing

We came back to Moret sur Loing and stayed for a week just near the meeting of the Loing and Seine rivers. We had explored Moret sur Loing previously, but this time experienced more of its beauty and interesting history. The famous painter Sisley lived here and he was friends with many of the Impressionists whose paintings we have enjoyed in other parts of France, but particularly the lower reaches of the Seine. Our eldest daughter and family joined us and we had a great time with them, including one of our grandsons who kept us very entertained and occupied.

img 2688The old mill, now museum at Moret

After our sojourn at Moret, we headed back to the confluence of the Seine and Yonne for the final leg of about 100km back to Migennes, the winter resting place for Anja. We also finished off some improvement tasks- in particular, repainting the decks. We re-did the upper deck in 2011/2012 and it simply needed a light sanding and another coat of marine enamel. The decks where we walk needed a lot of scrubbing, sanding, fixing some of the non-slip surface and then repainting with a different paint intended for garage floors, driveways and car traffic. We did this because the International brand deck paint had not proved to be good for heavy wear. On top of this, we have our decks white to reduce the temperaure on hot summer days and white is probably not the ideal choice for keeping clean. We also sanded and varnished the port (left) side of the wheelhouse. This completed a long term project to remove all the "gunk" applied by the previous owners to the excellent wood of the wheelhouse and return it to a natural, varnished finish. So, Anja was looking particularly pretty and probably the best since we acquired her.

img 2745Spick and SpanThis all went remarkably smoothly as did the trip up the Yonne. We have been up and down the Yonne so many times and are very familiar with all the places. The lock keepers are good and seem to remember us and always had things ready for a quick passage. We were surprised at the busyness of some of the places. In some, we could find no space to stop and therefore made use of places like Silos for some overnight stops. This is fine a long as you keep out of the way of commercial traffic. Also, the silos were ramping up for the harvest but were not yet fully busy. It is possible that the pleasure traffic has increased on the Yonne or maybe it was because we were there in peak season, rather than our more normal early/late timing.

The Yonne region was unseasonably dry. In fact, when we were there, it was already the driest for about 50 years and summer was a long way from over. Fortunately, the Yonne and Seine RIvers are not affected by lack of water, unlike many of the other rivers and canals which were affected by closures and restrictions.

We arrived at the boat yard  the day before our departure to Australa. Everything on the boat was clean and tidy. We were rafted up to a couple of other boats and would leave Anja there so that Simon could lift her out when ready. Penny was really pleased that Simon wanted our geraniums which were still looking excellent and we did not want to just throw them away.

After about six weeks of little or no rain, there was a huge storm that night! Somehow, this managed to sink one of Simon's barges that was moored nearby. This submerged the power cord and basically shut down all power in the shipyard, including to us. We awoke in the dark and at about 4am prepared for our departure (we did not want to use the boat batteries as the boat would be put away for winter). We sloshed through the totally dark, muddy and waterlogged boatyard pulling our wheeled suitcases. It was still pouring with rain. We got to the railway station in plenty of time, only to find that our train had been CANCELLED! The next one was not for about three hours and was a slower train! The stationmaster was very good and confirmed our changed itinerary would work with extremely tight times to make connections and the flight. We asked him for a letter in case we missed the flight and needed to claim on insurance. He and another man searched the computer system for a template but could not find one. So, we wrote us a long, personalised letter with all the details of our old reservations and the new times, with precise arrival and connecting times. Fortunately, we did not need it because we arrived in Paris on time, David ran ahead and got our RER (train) tickets, we got off at gare du nord and sprinted to another train which took us to Charles de Gaulle. There we had an anxious couple of minutes wait for the train shuttle followed by a run to check in. We had made about three train connections with only one mintute between each one. We got through tcheck-in and they took our bags. Security was crazily slow but they finally put on extra staff and we made it to the 'plane not long after they started boarding. We were tired but had done it and the remainder of the trip back to Sydney, Australia was uneventful.

This year, we completed about 1,800 Km which was shorter than our more normal 2,500-2,900Km but it was very relaxing, wth good visitors and we filled in gaps from previous years.

 

Best Regards,

Dave and Penny

 

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 img 2726Walks with the family in Fontainbleu Forest and Chateauimg 2744Sinking on the Yonne

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Thursday, 30 May 2024

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