On the 27th of September 2015 Wanderlust left Chalons-en-Champagne and headed west. The day began on the canal latéral à la Marne and by the evening Wanderlust reached the River Marne proper. At 5:30 in the evening we moved Wanderlust to the riverside halte nautique in Damery and stopped for the night.
Since she left Toul Wanderlust traveled 203 km and 112 locks in just seven cruising days. That comes to an average of 29 km and 16 locks per day she moved, well above our season’s norm. The effort paid off. Wanderlust was now just two days from the pending lock closures lower down on the Marne. With seven days to get past the closures we could take a little more time to enjoy the area. We could finally relax.
And the Marne is a good place to relax. Starting from Conde-sur-Marne, the segment of the Marne and the canal latéral à la Marne is particularly pleasant. Here the waterways travel through the vineyards in the center of the Champagne-producing region. Numerous caves are in the area. Damery itself has over ten Champagne houses though we didn’t visit any.
Two and a half months ago, when Wanderlust was last in the area, we stocked her bilge with Champagne. Since then social occasions had depleted our store of Champagne. Barging, it seems, requires a stock of sparkling wine. Nevertheless we scrupulously ignored the caves this time through. We were headed to our winter mooring in Auxerre. Any extra wine that we had would have to be stored on shore for the winter. As Champagne is not meant to age in the bottle, Wanderlust passed by the caves without bottles being added to her bilge. It probably won’t happen again.
(From Chalons-en-Champagne to Damery there are 40 kilometers of waterway and eight locks. We logged seven engine hours.)