Leaving Strasbourg Wanderlust started on the return journey to her winter mooring in Auxerre. At first we moved quickly. But once we reached Saverne and picked up our next guests we slowed to a tourist’s pace. Our visitors, Erik and Judy, joined us as we revisited the best section of the French waterways that we enjoyed in 2015.
Four days after leaving Saverne we arrived in Nancy. As we arrived, Becky and I made an impromptu decision to make a quick trip to London by fast train. A trip out of the Schengen Zone was necessary so we could exit France while our six-month visa was valid and the re-enter France on a standard 90-day tourist visa. Though this visa maneuver was part of the plan at the beginning of the season, the exact timing was uncertain. With Erik and Judy on board we had a good option for taking care of our canine travel partner Gigi. E & J were accommodating. They would stay on board and take care of the dog. Becky and I were soon on the TGV headed our way out of France.
The visa reset plan worked well for all involved. And it came with an unexpected bonus. Erik and Judy had been watching us monitor Wanderlust’s under floor water situation. In our absence they made an important discovery. After running the clothes washer they saw that soapsuds appeared in the bilge water.
This discovery meant three things. First, the sudden appearance of soap in the bilge meant that without a doubt, Wanderlust had another plumbing leak. The fantasy that we were not just seeing water from the earlier floods was emphatically proven wrong. Second, we learned that wastewater from the clothes washer makes its way into the bilge. This later observation made it less likely that we had another dry fit joint in our sewer line as black and gray waste have separate plumbing. The suds also effectively ruled out a leak in the freshwater plumbing, a leaky window, or another such thing. And the third we learned was that E & J use more laundry detergent than we do. The last observation is likely unimportant, but you never know.
Now was time to do what we had long dreaded. We had to contact Wanderlust’s builder. At the very least we needed to have an idea of how the under floor piping was run. With little under floor access, we only could guess where the pipes ran. And mind you at this point we were very upset. Wanderlust has had continuous leaks into the bilges since launch. Even today she still has leaks. We didn’t expect much from the builder; to this point they had been completely unapologetic, slow to respond, and resistant to do the work that had been promised. But, as it turned out, even our now low expectations would not be met. As the dispute escalated we had moved into a particularly unpleasant chapter of Wanderlust’s history.
(Wanderlust arrived in Saverne on the 30th of August and departed the next day. She arrived in Nancy on the 4th of September. Saverne is 47 kilometers with 20 locks from Strasbourg. Nancy is 105 kilometers, 29 locks, two tunnels, and one inclined plane from Saverne.)