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Thursday 30th August to Monday 24th September

Part 1 – The cruising

 Shangri La at fuel jetty - St Jean
Shangri La at fuel jetty – St Jean

The final episode on Shangri La was somewhat of a rollercoaster ride, with loads of mixed emotions – happiness, sadness, relief and frustration!

I had hoped to have a pleasant three weeks or so cruising before returning to H2O for the Open Port Day where all the For Sale (A Vendre) boats are on display. As it turned out we hardly had any cruising at all.

Just before we left the boat at end of July, I had had a meeting with H2O and planned a job list for them to attend to while we were away, the oil leaks being on that list.

Where did we go then? Hardly anywhere!

St Jean to Pontailler-sur-Saone
St Jean to Pontailler-sur-Saone

The original plan had been to head up the Saone, visiting Pontailler-sur-Saone, Gray, Port Saveau and Port-Sur-Saone and return to St Jean-de-Losne in time for the open weekend boat-show on 22 and 23 September. At the time, 3 sets of friends had plans to join us.

Unfortunately, 2 of them had to cancel for various reasons. Only our South African friends, Luan and Jacques, who now live in the Netherlands, came for a short 2-night visit.

Sundowner at Pontailler
Sundowner at Pontailler

Auxonne

Our friends arrived on the Saturday, late afternoon. We had a pleasant evening on board, and on the Sunday took them on a short cruise up the Saone to Auxonne. The plan had been to have lunch there, but there were so many hire boats on the water that it took ages to get through the one and only lock. Arrived at Auxonne about 14.15. Walked up to he town, had a look around, and enjoyed a beer at a local brasserie, and then back aboard Shangri La and back to St Jean de Losne. Fortunately got through the lock quickly this time! Another evening on board, and our friends left in the morning.

The next couple of days we hung around while various mechanics tried to fix the various oil and water leaks in the system.

To Gray and back (via Pontailler-sur-Saone)

On the Saone
On the Saone

Hoping that all the leaks solved we set of again. Brief stop at the fuel jetty for 75 litres diesel.

Up the Saone again to Pontailler. It is always pleasant cruising on the Saone. And Pontailler is a cute place. The marina is at the Canalous hire base. Cheap at 9 Euros per night including electricity, water, ablutions and wifi. We spent the next day relaxing there with a walk up to the beach bar for a beer.

Next morning we carried on up the Saone to Gray, arriving there about 15.00. Have to say, Gray was a little bit disappointing, particularly as we had heard such a lot about it.

Mooring at Gray
Mooring at Gray

Firstly, with our draft of 1.15 metres we could not moor up at the town quay as some bright engineers had put supporting concrete up to 1 metre below the level of the quay thus restricting the draft.

There was an alternative mooring above the lock which was okay at 5 Euros per night including water and electricity. But it was hardly attractive or picturesque.

Sunset in Gray
Sunset in Gray

We eventually found the tourist office hidden in the cinema building. The lady here was very friendly and helpful, and even had the VNF waterway map of France that we have been trying to find for ages. Our original one is falling apart due to overuse.

We did the obligatory walking tour of the town, which took about half an hour.

The town itself was quite picturesque, with the usual lovely old buildings.

But there wasn’t much going on in the town, and there were certainly no vegan restaurants to be found. We spent 3 relaxing days there, but decided that, as there were still some oil leaks, to return to St Jean and try again to get this all sorted.

Gray architecture
Gray architecture

Coming up next – Part 2 – the sale of Shangri La.

You can read Karen’s take on all this here

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