The Canal du Rhône au Rhin: Besançon, Horloge Astronomique

Besançon’s astronomical clock

Besançon is considered the watch making capitol of France. This is by intent. The commune’s formal watchmaking role began shortly after the French Revolution. It was then that the French government decided to create a production center to compete with imports from England and Switzerland. The French government chose Besançon to be their horological center in part because of its location is near the competition: 50 miles to the west of Besançon, just across the border in Switzerland’s Canton of Jura, are famous Swiss watch making towns of La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle. La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle are still important watch making centers and are home to some of the world’s most famous watch brands including Rolex, Tag Heurer, Patek Philippe, Tissot, and more. Continue reading

Bottom Blacking and Dysfunctional Anchors

Wanderlust comes out of the water in Saint Jean de Losne.

Five years after launch, in the summer of 2018, Wanderlust was due to have her bottom blacked. This is a standard maintenance item for most steel inland waterway craft. For Wanderlust, the re-blacking of the hull became more necessary after the paint survey conducted in the summer 2017 showed widespread failure of the underwater coatings. When Wanderlust was out of the water in 2017 swaths of bare steel were visible, particularly in the HAZ or “heat affected zones”, the places where the metal work had removed the shop primer applied during the steel’s manufacture. Continue reading

Saint Jean de Losne: Reconfiguring Wanderlust’s Fuel Vents

Wanderlust comes out of the water for work in 2018.

Note: I’ve been slow in following up with the posts on Wanderlust’s story. The 2018 season was lost in entirety to the remedial works that only became possible after the dispute with the builder was settled on February 6. As of 2019 Wanderlust is better than she ever was, though we are still dealing with several issues. Continue reading

France: Vichy

Visitors fill their cups at the Celestins tap inside Vichy’s Hall des Sources.

Wanderlust was moved onto the hard in Saint Jean de Losne at the end of March 2018. We lived on board as much as we could as work was being done. It was helpful to be around to monitor progress but living on the hard had some downsides. Continue reading

Saint Jean de Losne: Fuel Tank Repairs

Cutting a hole through the hull of a new barge to fix fuel leaks is a drastic measure.

Before we left Saint Jean de Losne for the winter of 2017 and when we returned at the beginning of March in 2018 we had the boatyard H2O cut six large access hatches through the floor in Wanderlust’s living area. These holes were cut so that we could determine where the diesel fuel in her bilge was coming from. It was a drastic approach to resolve a troublesome problem. Continue reading

The Saône: Lyon

Wanderlust enters Lyon on the River Saône.

As we left Macon we were within range of our next major destination, Lyon. Lyon is a little less than eight hours by boat Macon. As long as we didn’t get distracted by another mooring, which we didn’t, we would make it easily in a day. Continue reading

The Saône: Tournus to Mâcon

If we can keep up, which we often can’t, it’s good to follow the commercials down the river and join them in the lock. With no locks between Verdun and Macon, there was no need.

Having broken free of Saint Jean de Losne, at least for the time being, Wanderlust was on the loose. Heading south on the River Saône we figured we’d cruise to Lyon. And maybe, if we chose to be adventuresome, we would go as far south as Valence on the Rhône. The plans weren’t well considered and there was no end date, at least for the moment. We knew we would have to return to Saint Jean at some point in the not too distant future. For now Wanderlust was free to wander. The plans would be made as we went. Continue reading

The Saône: Verdun-sur-Doubs to Tournus

Ships pass in the night: In this case it’s Swiss Gloria, one of the many large river cruise ships that work the Saône and Rhône rivers.

After two nights in Verdun-sur-Doubs we pulled the ropes and pushed away from the bank. Without a bow thruster it was work and bit unnerving to get Wanderlust turned about as she drifted downstream with the Doubs’ current. Eventually Wanderlust’s bow was pointed downstream and she was headed down the short section of the Doubs to the Saône. Once on the Saône we turned to port and headed downstream with the flow. Continue reading

The 2016 Season

The 2016 season started with high water in Auxerre.

Towards the end of the 2015 cruising season we started to consider our 2016 route options. Though we had just cruised 2,295 km including 734 locks, there were still plenty of water in France and Europe left to explore. Indeed it seemed that 2016 was the right time to make a first foray into Belgium and Holland. We wanted to explore the north before we became too entrenched in the waterways of France. The boaters that we talked to say that it is lovely up north. We wanted to see for ourselves. Continue reading

Canal de Bourgogne: Dijon, the Palais des Ducs and the Musée des Beaux-Arts

Portrait de Jeanne de Montaigu (Maître de Saint-Jean-de-Luze)

The longer we stayed in Dijon the more it appealed to us. With a little over 150,000 residents, the commune is more happening than the mostly rural villages that we had passed as we traveled along the Canal de Bourgogne. Between the restaurants, the wine, and the tourist attractions, there was motivation to linger past our penciled in departure day.

Continue reading