On the 20th of July 2015 Wanderlust reached the verge of the first of the two summit pounds of the Canal de la Marne au Rhin. The approach to the top of the waterway was slow. Wanderlust was trailing the commercial barge Anti-Lope as it moved slowly carrying a load of barley to the Königsbacher brewery in Koblenz.
Passing Anti-Lope was not an option. Indeed, as we learned later, merely cycling the lock while Anti-Lope was in the pound ahead could cause concerns for the loaded commercial barge. With a short distance between locks, water filling the lower lock of a pound can drop the canal level by around 100 mm. A level change of four inches is not much for Wanderlust but it is for the deep draft of a loaded commercial.
Eventually we reached Demange-aux-Eaux and tied at the pontoon below the lock to the summit pound. Just ahead was the uppermost reach of the canal’s western segment. To the west of Demange, the canal’s water drains to the Marne on the way to Le Havre and the Atlantic Ocean. To the east the Marne au Rhin passes under a ridge in the tunnel de Mauvages before it drains to the River Meuse. Waters of the Meuse ultimately reach the North Sea in the Netherlands.
For this season at least, Wanderlust would make it to neither The Netherlands nor Le Havre. Instead she’d continue to the east towards Nancy and Strasbourg. The Netherlands and the Atlantic would have to wait for another year.
(Demange-aux-Eaux, which translates as something like “Itchy Waters”, is 37 kilometers and 37 locks from Bar-le-Duc. In between Wanderlust spent nights in Ligny-en-Barrois and Naix-aux-Forges.)