I steered a relatively straight course down the embranchment towards the next lock. While it was a little scary to see Steve go, it was a feeling of freedom realizing that we were doing something so unusual (at least for Americans) on our own.
We did pretty well on the first lock all by ourselves. We realized that the lock keeper probably saw all sorts of things happen being the first lock that people had to do solo. As we began to leave the lock the wind started to pick up.
Shortly after leaving the lock we began to get some sprinkles, that then turned into a light rain, then a heavy rain, and finally a heavy downpour with strong winds. Julie and I worked to get us over to the side of the canal, pound in the mooring stakes, and tie up. By the time we were secure we were soaked!
We looked up at the boat and there were Evie, Patrick, and Christopher laughing at us from the dry cabin. Evie was even taking pictures of us. A few minutes later the storm had passed and the skies cleared.
Dinner was camembert cheese, pate de fois gras, bread, and wine. The kids had tortellini--just like at home. It was an early night to bed for all of us.
(At midnight I head some booms. Not knowing what was going on, I went into the salon and there were giant fireworks going off over the village of Cravant. What a way to mark our first night aboard.)
July 2, 2000 -- On to Mailly le Chateau
We got underway and cleared our first ?lock?? 10:00 am. The canal was narrow with trees lining the bank. Fields of reap seeds stretched over the hillsides.
We stopped for lunch just before noon as the locks shut down for lunch from 12:00 to 1:00. We took the patio table and chairs off the rear deck and set them down in the shade just off the towpath. The view of the still waters of the canal and cows in the field beyond was so peaceful.
We got underway and headed up the canal to Maille-la-Ville where they were having a bric-a-brac fete. (Basically a flea market/garage sale that lined both sides of the main street.)
As we passed by people were sitting at tables yelling and waving at us. Perhaps they had been drinking a bit as well. We decided to stop and see what was going on. The town had a couple of docks just waiting for us.
Our first stop in the village was the bakery on Rue du Bulange. We decided not to see what was on another nearby street, Rue de Appotoir. Julie and Christopher found a tiny merry-go-round nearby which Christopher loved.
Patrick took off to the candy stand booth where he bought all sorts of different candies for 40 francs. They put them in a little sack and he was so proud of himself for doing it all alone. The bad part was when he accidentally through it in a dirty dumpster when he was trying to throw out some other trash.
We walked back to the boat and left this cute little village and headed up the canal. We went through a couple more locks in the afternoon and stopped in the afternoon at a small ?l out??th a couple of other boats near the village of Mailly le Chateau.
Julie, the kids and I walked up into the village proper. We walked over a small bridge spanning the Yonne. Just over the bridge there was a statue on top of a pedestal. The statue is of a wolf covering his eyes. At the base of the statue was a fountain the would squirt out water.
We sat the river bank and dangled out feet in the water to cool off. Everyone that lived ion the village was inside watching France beat Italy in the finals of the Euro 2000 soccer match. It was a wonderful and peaceful end to our first full day on the Canal du Nivernais.