We continue our journey up the Seine with stunning calm waters, a tide against us as we’re ascending the stream. The homes along the banks of the river are beautiful, and there’s plenty to admire when you travel through.
We’ve only seen several large commercial vessels to date, but they are breaking us up nicely. One thing to be wary of, and watch out for is debris floating in the water. There are logs and huge objects that are often found.
Today we had our first lock! We were waiting patiently for an outgoing barge and he was yelling for us to cross the road when he saw a barge following us.
One of many stunning properties on the banks of the Seine
They are the first priority, however we were aware of this and stepped aside. We believed that we’d be waiting until the next opening but the lovely lock master lowered us over the VHF to let us in. As we walked towards the lock the area, it appeared tiny, but we managed to squeeze into the space with enough room on both sides.
I didn’t realize how slimy locks can be! I put on my gloves as I was sure I wouldn’t want to let ropes slide around or push them hard. I was happy to have them since they absorbed the majority of the odorless, disgusting slime!
The next anxious moment was when the commercial vessel getting underway with us to the rear of it. The force of the engines and the turbulence of propellers is scary and I was grateful to have put plenty of fenders on the deck as they were in need. Once he was done the way, we received our green light, and off we went! We had a couple of miles until our night rest stop…
Chilaxin fits into a lock using commercial shipping
Beautiful houses and beautiful views Two large piers (that used to be an old railroad bridge) and we turned right to a quiet, abandoned quarry which is currently Port Venables. The office on Wednesdays will be closed, so don’t try to get a berth. Simply walk into the office to the office and Pascale assists you in making sure you are registered.
The price was EUR18 for the entire night, which included showers, water and electricity. The entire place is tranquil and feels like nature reserves – there is absolutely no noise!
There are a few villages in the vicinity, but there are no local bars or stores. We’ll be waiting until the next day, which is Port Ilon, for any additional items we require and also to top up on fuel (just to be sure!)
Tonight Kev has prepared dinner for us including pork steaks, fresh potatoes, egg-fried rice, and salad. It’s all good after a long day! On the waterways, at least it’s simple to make tea or lunch on the way, which was difficult on the sea in the last few days. I’m thinking I’ll rest well tonight! It’s so serene watching the wildlife roaming around in these stunning surroundings.
Another beautiful day!
The view is breathtaking and the life is so perfect… when we feel a rumble that is akin to our port’s engine. It’s not exactly what we’re looking for at this point in our journey.
We stop and drift down the river. We then raise the port prop to check for anything in the way… Nothing! We restart the engine. The river is completely empty and flat. We choose to give it an easy blast for couple of minutes to see if it can make any difference.
It is extremely sexually naughty, however it seems to be doing the trick. We also observe that the area of the river we are in has a very strong undercurrent. This is something that we will be monitoring over the next couple of hours.
Two locks are in front of us today The first isn’t that bad. We’re alone this is difficult as the water is coming in so fast that there are no other boats in the area to ease the impact.
Heidi gets to grips with the locks
I try to hold my position and try to keep the boat while Kev uses the bowthruster in order to keep her nose in place and keep the back end from slamming into the lock. It’s no surprise that our lines are now smelling and green!
Once we have left the lock, the rumble that we have been experiencing is stopped. This is a confirmation to us that this is the present and Chilaxin is in a comfortable position throughout the day.
Lock 2 (mericourt) close to our dinner stop, is the worst! The sides are splintered and this means that, even though there are seven offenders along the side, some of them are in the gap and are going into the gap.
If it weren’t difficult to hold the boat in place the cleats that are of Chilaxin even though they appear amazing, they’re not large enough, which means I have use my foot to hold this line straight and continuously moving fenders the best as I can. To say I was relieved to be out of this one would be an understatement!
Chilaxin in Port Ilon
Literally, straight from the lock, we made a left to the weir. Port Ilon is on the right.
We are greeted with stunning setting once again. Wildlife in abundance and excellent services, with extremely helpful port managers. Ann along with Bruno were extremely accommodating. We inquired about the store and were told it’s located 3km away. However, they do have bikes could be used if we need to.
I’ve not been riding a bike for several years, and I’m not sure about Kev. They were two battered mountain bikes. My bike had a flat front tyre, and Kev’s the back wheel was buckled, but they were still good enough to be able to climb the road.
Port Ilon is in part of a national park. everywhere you go, it’s breathtaking. I stopped for pictures of poppies in a field right ahead of the village.
The local store’s supplies cost a lot
Guernes is a charming and attractive village, with an elementary school, a church, and cemetery. The shop is well-stocked with a inventory of items, however, since the closest shop is a good 10 miles from the village, it is the most expensive costs. Remember that everything in France is costly – not just fuel, which is priced at PS1.60 for a 1 litre.
We make our way back with a bags of food and EUR34 less to buy bread, milk as well as some cheese and meat. We sit down to some beer and watch a bunch of Canadian geese stop by to take a look, as did a gorgeous Swan that was too friendly!
Then, we spot another Sealine approaching the water. We saw earlier in the day as they were moored in Vernon (another beautiful town). They are looking at the pontoon we are standing on that is also the fuel dock.
We assist them to moor on our boat and then we get to meet Pete and Carol Another pair of Brits! They’re originally from MDL Chatham, so we are able to have a lot of conversations. When we discuss the hotels they’ve stayed in the last three weeks, we realize that they travel in a different direction than we do and are only going in the direction of Paris.
The local wildlife takes an interest in the new arrivals
Peter as well as Carol have a lot of sailing experiences and have only owned their Sealine that they enjoy for the past three years. I’ve had a look around their boat and they also have an excellent look at the modern moor (Hanse) variant. We all believe that we have beautiful vessels and are extremely fortunate to enjoy such amazing landscapes and adventures.
A glass of gin is later and it’s time for us to eat dinner (Kev makes a delicious spaghetti with beef) and then get dressed for a late night. The next day, Peter and Carol have stated that they’ll be coming along with us to our next port, Cergy that will be a port that is sister of Port Ilon.
There’s only one lock this morning, which we ladies are very happy with. We also have our first visitor of the journey The first visitor is Katy my step daughter. She will fly into Exeter to Paris followed by a train ride and taxi ride to Cergy. Then we will all go through Paris to spend the weekend there and have a celebration of her birthday.
The wildlife awakening, and a eerie mist is drifting over the ocean, even however, it’s expected to that it will be another scorching day. After refueling (150 litres) then we leave on our own, while the other Sealine makes the best use of our washing machine prior to departing!
We are back on our way to Seine and I get started making breakfast. French bread always gets dry quickly, so French toast is what we have! The perfect breakfast to kick off your day.
After a quick tidy-up I’m told it’s Pirates! On the plotter, we can see an image of the Black Pearl coming straight towards us. I did try looking out for Jack however, due to the tinted windows of the past it was difficult to spot him, but the man did appear to wave! It’s a quiet day and only a handful of locks, which we negotiate effortlessly, and then head toward Cergy.
We take a detour off the Seine and continue up into the Oise River towards the Port of Cergy. We spot the gorgeous tower as we approach the port’s entrance. We walk through the entryway (as there is a huge barge in our back) and begin sweating since the marina is packed and it looks like it will be extremely cramped!
We hear a whirlwind while the Capitinaire is standing on the bridge, pointing to the side beyond him. We follow what we are told, but slowly, with me circling the deck side-toside to ensure we don’t crash into any other vessels as it’s very close! We are put in front of another boat that has not changed direction for a long period of time.
The bustling marina at Port Clergy
Once we are settled, we explore the stunning marina, which is surrounded by bars and restaurants. This is a pleasant contrast from the previous days. Within a few minutes Kev’s daughter Katy is due to arrive.
Once we’re all settled in After a few minutes, we grab a beer and we set off to the second Sealine that has arrived and is moored on the deck as they were too large for us to enter. The rain starts! But no problem, the cooling temperature is a small relief to say the least.
While laying in bed and pondering the day, the sky opens massively. We decide to go to dinner and make it to the English bar. It was not the first option, however we decide to go for drinks first before we proceed to the next bar.
But, the skies have decided that they are going to dump all the rain upon Port Cergy! We’re not moving for a while, so we decide to eat dinner here. Although it’s not a great menu, but it’s late and we’re extremely exhausted.
Thirty minutes later, the biggest hamburgers are served, but we must fight to finish our meals! The price is a bit high at EUR40 per head for a hamburger and two beverages… Oh my!
We return to our boats amidst torrential rain thunder and lightning, and then to our beds, drifting into a restful sleep with the knowledge that tomorrow we arrive in Paris!