The time to leave must be approaching. About 10 days ago, it was 37degrees. Today it is 18! However, the Basil, Parsley and Chives are thriving even if the geraniums have passed their peak.
Here we are in Laroche-Migennes having completed a further 161Km and 113 more locks. Penny was adding up that we have passed through 476 locks and seven tunnels this year. We are now one Km and one lock from Anja's winter resting place.
We have completed a full circuit of 1,200Kms along the Yonne River, Seine River, Marne River, Canal lateral to the Marne, Canal Marne to Rhine West, Moselle River, Vosges Canal, Petite Saone River, Saone River and finally the Burgundy Canal.
The dryness has continued with further canal closures imminent, particularly in the Northeast. The Burgundy Canal is suffering with water levels down quite a lot in some of the biefs (French for "pound"- the stretch of water between two locks). However the eclusiers (lock-keepers) with whom we have spoken are hoping that this canal can make it through to the end of the cruising season. Certainly, there are no yachts here and a number of boats cannot make it. One Belgian couple that has been with us for a while has been very worried. Their boat draws only 1.07metres but they have barely made it through. We have been fine. However, several times we have needed to pass large hotel barges coming the other direction. The lock keepers have been very good with information and we have managed okay despite the shallow canal sides which are often silted up and almost zero depth.
We are glad that the canal closures forced us to change our plans and come in a big loop rather than yet again come down the Seine and Marne Rivers. Not that we mind those very fine rivers- it is just that we have done them very many times. Despite the fact that we have been along this canal a number of times, we have managed to find quite a few new places to stop and explore, so it has been great and a fitting way to finish.
We have enjoyed interacting with the eclusiers and been kept busy helping out on the locks. Our final two visitors of the year- Bern and Pete- had a great time helping the eclusiers and everyone enjoyed the experience.
We have arrived right on schedule, several days early as we are doing a little more cleaning and packing this time. We even purchased an additional suitcase for the trip home.
Dave and Penelope