uesday 25 June (C-1)
After suffering a bit of engine problems (long/short story we got water into the fuel tank – which stopped the engine from starting so we had to anchor off the quayside – luckily not much wind) we went back to Port St-Louis du Rhone. Went back to the Thai restaurant, completed some provisioning and filled the jerry cans with diesel (so much cheaper than getting it in the marinas and there will not be that many opportunities along the way to pick up fuel).
Wednesday 26 June (C day)
Took the midday lock and we were in the Rhone – yippee!!! We are punching current – at one particular stage we had upto 3 knots against us – progress slow and burning diesel.
Proceeded up to Arles where we went alongside the Le Peniche, a barge, which is really the only place to moor up in Arles. The “mooring” is free but you need to have a meal at their restaurant. Meal was pretty good but a tadd on the expensive side. We were the only diners. Not sure how they survive really.
Thursday 27 June
Wandered into town – this is a very exciting town – loads of Roman ruins, wonderful architecture, atmospheric – just simply great. The amphitheatre dates back to 1-2 century AD (and currently stages bull fights), the theatre antique dates back to 1 century BC and the highlight for us was the Cryptoportiques – the foundations for the forum and buried arcades (dating back to 1 century BC) – we’d not seen anything like this before on our travels.
In the afternoon headed off up the Rhone – going through one lock – 11m rise. On the way passed some pretty impressive Chateau’s.
As we have a little bit of time we decided that we would anchor off for the night – well outside the channel. A nice spot – less current as we were on the inside bend and lots of wild life – especially the loud frogs.
Friday 28 June
After a very peaceful night – few barges going past (giving very little wash) – we headed upriver a few miles to Avignon. Again had a pretty strong current against us – 2-3 knots – but this is to be expected. Cruising speed on average is around 4 knots with a fair bit of revving and therefore burning diesel.
The views coming into Avignon are amazing. Very difficult to explain but this is a walled town (dating back to 14th century) with the Papal Palace dominating the skyline.
Didn’t do too much exploring in the afternoon – we are in the middle of a heat wave and temperatures were around the 40’s so it was really about keeping cool and not hot a bothered.
Saturday 29 June
Mid morning before it got too hot we went to the market – fantastic fishmongers and various meat, sausage and cheese stalls.
Afterwards wandered around the town – it’s great with it’s old quarter and “modern”quarter. The views across the river and valley are brilliant.
Sunday 30 June
Further explored the town.
Monday 1 July
In the morning I went and explore the Palace of the Popes whilst Gen completed some chores (which included filling the water tanks wrong move in hindsight. The water was pretty awful – at first we thought it may have been the new hose pipe we had bought and maybe it hadn’t released all it’s its juckiness – but it didn’t stink as such. Anyway lesson learned it to taste the water before filling the tanks).
The Palace was great and not far from the mooring and supermarket (which surprisingly is open on Sunday morning).
Left shortly afterwards and went through 2 locks and then anchored on the old Rhone. This is such a pretty spot. Lots of birds and lots and lots of frogs, a little noisy but wonderful
Tuesday 2 July
Gen fixed the bow thruster in the morning (problems with the isolator switch – luckily we had a spare) and then we proceeded further up the river. This time we went through one lock being the deepest in Western Europe – we had a rise of 22m.
We tried to anchor off Viviers but unfortunately the holding was bad so we went into the marina. Moored on their tiny finger pontoons. The capitainerie gave us discount and it only cost E32 for 2 nights which included W&E.
Wednesday 3 July
Set off in the late morning and wandered around this great little town. Didn’t take long but this town is fascinating architecturally. Lovely Gothic cathedral.
Thursday 4 July
Anchored off near Cruas.
In general its taking about 20mins to prepare the locks which means another 20min before we can leave the lock. We’ve had to go behind some commercial shipping which seem to just barely fit in the lock.
The views in the canal are improving, sometimes it’s a bit boring just seeing the levy and not much beyond. But now we are seeing gorges and some vineyards/orchards.
Friday 5 July
Through 2 locks, both with approx. 11m rises.
Anchored near Valance.
Saturday 6 July
Moored in Tournon. Went alongside the hammerhead. Free mooring including W&E – yay!!!!
Weren’t originally planning on staying here but so glad we did. Another interesting town with its Château. Although beers were expensive.
Got some provisioning completed – especially at the wine store were we got Merlot and Rose (1 ½ litres each - own plastic bottles filled) for a total E7 and it’s indeed very tasty.
Experienced a spectacular thunderstorm overnight – not only the thunder and lightning but some intense hail stones too – quite deafening.