18-May – 22-May-2017
After meeting up with Nancy and Bruce we spent a couple of days in Paris. They visited the Louvre Museum and had the forethought to purchase tickets in advance that permitted them to slip right by the very long line of people seeking entrance. With a reported 38,000 objects of art, it would be disappointing to spend half of your day in line.
Later in the day, Nancy and Bruce joined us for some entertainment by nearby street performers. One memorable street performance was “Pigeon Man” (our name for him). He delighted us with his ability to get the pigeons to perform as he directed them with bits of bird seed. Nancy took photos as we enjoyed having the birds perch on and around us.
“Bubble Man” (also our clever name) had perfected a unique way of creating many large bubbles at once. The children delighted in chasing, catching, and popping the bubbles. George stood carefully studying the man’s wand as he anticipated making one for himself.
It was now time to leave Paris and continue on towards the Mediterranean. The entrance to and from Port de l’Arsenal includes a lock to transition between the difference in water levels. Bruce manned a line as the water rose to the the level of the Seine.
As we continued up the Seine, many beautiful homes, often large and of relatively new construction, lined the riverbanks.
Water birds of a wider variety were present, and often accompanied by hatchlings.
All seemed to enjoy the slow pace and interesting sites.
From the Seine, we transferred to Canal Loing, the first canal on our voyage, and soon after, we approached the first lock in the canal. We had read that many of the canal locks do not have lock tenders. They have been reconfigured with electric eyes to open the doors and means for the boater to signal the doors behind the boat to close, after which the exchange of water begins, and finally when the level of water matches the next leg of the canal, to open the forward doors.
The canals work for both directions.of travel and red or green lights indicate if the lock is being readied for you or if you will need to wait for traffic in the opposite direction.
As we approached the lock we saw no evidence that we had been detected. We approached very closely in the in the hope of triggering the electric eye, but with no better luck. We had read that some locks required the boaters to manually open the lock gates so George backed up to a place on the canal where I could get off and inspect the lock itself. I found no solution to open the lock until I approached a small building with a button to push in the event the lock was not working. After a number of tries a person responded and I communicated our situation. She indicated someone would come to assist us but it might take some time.
A gentleman arrived and in George’s mysterious capacity to decipher instructions without speaking or understanding a word of French, learned that we should have received a signaling device to alert the lock, and would be able to get one at the next lock. As for much of our journey, small problems were sorted out and we carried on that much more prepared.
It seems this lock had not finished messing with us, however. The water level rose to a height nearly at the top of the lock. As such, the fender guards George had built to protect Ice Floe from the concrete walls, were out of the water. While departing, Ice Floe glanced the edge of the exit and got her first significant scrape. It was a sad moment, but we knew it was bound to happen.
A short way on it was time for Nancy and Bruce to leave us and we said farewell. They were our first guests on Ice Floe and joined us for a number of first experiences along with us, (mostly good ones).