Fifth day: from Besançon to Saint-Vit
It's Maarten's birthday today. I walk into Besançon to get bread and pastries at the bakery. Marga has decorated the boat already yesterday evening. Maarten has said us that it would be festive but it wasn't necessary to decorate the boat outside. He grows up fast , he is already twelve years old. We give him presents at the breakfast-table. This year also, he gets some nice presents. He is satisfied.
We have some delay departing. The lock we are moored next to, is being repaired by the VNF. We can make a roundabout but this is the only lock we have to operate ourselves and we don't want to miss is. As I make inquiries at the workers, I am told that it won't take long. We can pass the lock in about half an hour.
The children are operating the lock. It's a heavy job!
We are navigating again in the direction of the tunnel. An oncoming boat is just before us at the entrance of the tunnel. It's Anna, an Old-Dutch barge in English hands. We follow Anna into the tunnel and the next coming four locks. As we are looking back we can see the fortress of Vauban highly behind us, disappearing steady but sure out of sight.
In the meanwhile Maarten approve us decorating the boat outside. We made a date at the end of today with a friend we met on previous holidays. He lives in the environment of Dole. When the boat is decorated, Howard can easily find us, according to Maarten.
The whether is cold today. I try to steer outside but that's not for long. We are having a cold adverse wind. We hear the waves dashing against the bottom of the boat. We are steady navigating on the river Doubs and only after 8 kilometers we arrive again in intimate atmosphere of a canal section.. We navigate through a 'écluse de garde' which is slowly overtaken by nature: succulent plants, ferns and ivy.
As it's time fur lunch we stop just after the high-water lock in the village Aveney. At the opposite site of the Doubs the village of Avanne is situated. Pepijn and Margo are playing football on the sport field over there..
In the afternoon we navigate on on the diversion canal which is situated directly next to the Doubs at some places. The Doubs runs considerable lower here. After three kilometers on the canal we lock 5,10 meters down through a double lock and arrive on the Doubs again.
The whether has improved somewhat and the sun is shining between the clouds now and then. In the next diversion canal a tunnel is situated nearby the village Thoraise. We are navigating through a narrow section of the canal. I see a kingfisher again. It's a beautiful sight, this bird with it's vivid blue back and its orange breast. We are navigating along a mountain-side and at a turning point we are navigating straight into the tunnel. Above the tunnel a statue of Maria is situated.
The tunnel isn't very long, 185 meters, and we can see the sunlight shining on the fresh green. As we come out of the tunnel, we are at a beautiful spot Just before the lock the Anna is moored and a houseboat with Germans we have seen already in Besançon. After the lock we are navigating on the Doubs but a little later we arrive on a canal section again. We pass the villages of Osselle and Routelle and arrive at Saint-Vit at six o'clock. The last part of our journey we are accompanied by a boy in a kayak. He plays with the waves of our boat and catch us at will. On a little island in the Doubs an old factory is situated. At one site a lock is situated, at the other site a long weir. The kayak-club is situated in the old factory but there is also a possibility to moor at the lower site of the lock. A little port is situated just behind the old exhausts of the factory. The whether is fine at the end f the day. We are sitting in the sunshine under the lee of the factory.
We call Howard to tell him where we are and indeed he finds us in the evening. He is dining with us Maarten's birthday menu (pancakes) and we tell about our experiences with the pleasure of a glass of wine. He brought a cup which plays 'Happy Birthday' as one lift it. At the end of the evening me make a date for tomorrow afternoon. His children, William and Emily, will navigate with us the last kilometers of our boat-trip.