Jackie Parry – author


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Sunken boats (not ours!)

Fanfare if you please, we’ve made it to the Canal du Midi.

Entering the Canal du Midi

Entering the Canal du Midi

Lake Etang de Thau was welcoming in its expanse. It was nice to see a long watery horizon. We had perfect conditions, the sun bounced off the silken water and reflected the cloudless blue sky.

About to enter the lake.

About to enter the lake, prior to reaching the Midi

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Lake Etang de Thau. It is illegal to traverse this lake in winds in above Beaufort scale 3, (7 to 10 knots).

The Midi has presented its own challenges, round locks, shallow depths, narrow stretches and low bridges. It’s had our adrenaline up at times, it’s tested our boat handling skills and we’ve loved every minute.

Squeezing under bridges, there are lower ones to come!

Squeezing under bridges, there are lower ones to come!

Rouge Corsair's fine bow, slicing through the water.

Rouge Corsair’s fine bow, slicing through the water.

Many plane trees are still left, but more are sadly marked for cutting down. But there’s hope that the beauty will be restored with new trees lining parts of the canal.

The beautiful trees are still in abundance... our first mooring in the Midi - just heavenly.

The beautiful trees are still in abundance… our first mooring in the Midi – just heavenly.

small scale big lake

Frontignan - our last stop before crossing the Lake.

Frontignan – our last stop before crossing the Lake.

The startling array of sunken boats as we entered the Midi was quite astonishing. These few, in the pictures, were in a stretch of half a kilometre, and I didn’t photograph them all… so sad to see…

A useful sunken boat!

A useful sunken boat!

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It smells different here

We’re in south France. Rouge Corsair is galloping along and we can’t quite believe we are down near the Med already.

Gallician - moored on the bank, just a short stroll from the pretty village.

Gallician – moored on the bank, just a short stroll from the pretty village.

It smells different here. The salt air is refreshing, the Medittranean breeze is cooling. The dry grass is a contrast to the lush paddocks that we saw in the middle of France, but the harshness of the land reminds us of Australia – where things sting and stick-in you!

Gallician location

Gallician location – on the Canal du Rhone a Sete

We’ve made good time, enjoying the scenery pass us by is a heavenly way of viewing France. The friendly waves, the great (free) tie up places and the fun boat people from all over the world keep us smiling all day.

We love not having a car to worry about and pay for. Freedom is a moving boat and two bicycles.

Work doesn't stop for boats, we all had to squeeze between the floating bollards and the crane!

Work doesn’t stop for boats, we all had to squeeze between the floating bollards and the crane!

The midi is approaching and that’ll be breaking new ground for us.

Approaching the lakes.

Approaching the lakes.


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Where we were robbed!

Thirteen years ago we were robbed here. Here’s where we tied up, near the town of Roquemaure.

New buildings just over the bank.

New buildings just over the bank.

We were on our ocean going sailboat, all 10 metres of her and having a grand old time taking time away from rolling oceans to carve a path through the middle of France.

With our mast prone.

With our mast prone.

With our mast lying prone, our make-shift tarpaulin and determination, we made our way up to the UK, where Noel fulfilled a dream he’d been harbouring for many years.

With our mast where it should be!

With our mast where it should be!

To find out what happened when we were robbed and what Noel’s achievement was, it’ll cost you the price of a cup of coffee.*

Of Foreign Build, my book detailing these and nine years of sailing escapades, will be out this coming November, details here. (Follow my blog to be the first to learn about up-and-coming freebies!)

Here’s some pictures to whet your appetite….

The Big Chute in Canada (yes, that's our boat up there - and us!)

The Big Chute in Canada (yes, that’s our boat up there – and us!)

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More canals – this time Chicago

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We were thrilled to sail into New York

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On ‘reef’ watch

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More canals – where? you’ll have to buy the book – note how we are dwarfed by four enormous barges – 2 tied up on each side and two coming down the middle together… we just slipped into this space in time!

9780987551542-Rev7_FrontCover for Danielle and marketing REDUCED*ebook version.


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Follow those geese!

We are wondering if we are going the right way. The autumn leaves are more established the further south we go. We are also wondering if there are snow-capped mountains around the corner!

We’ve done the right thing – waited for the geese to indicate south and we are following them.

Today’s our fifth day on the move and we puttered past Lyon as time is pressing and we’ve already been there twice before. We’ve moored at Syripel or, as it is called on our other charts, Les Roches de Condrieu (40 km south of Lyon).

Main lesson learned today: check the DBA site out for updates…. our book-charts (which are embarrassingly old) have a nice spot drawn where we thought we could anchor. Our electronic charts just have a blue mooring buoy.

For some strange reason we didn’t check the DBA information (as we have done every day so far) and we were getting ready to anchor. Turning the corner, we saw a huge mariner, of which we are now a part of, paying our entire monthly budget to – sigh! … We are, however, having a grand old time… here are some pics.

A day out of St Jean de Losne and we'd seen very few boats, until we got to this lock. It was like a party - such fun - they Aussie boat behind us were just lovely.

A day out of St Jean de Losne and we’d seen very few boats, until we got to this lock. It was like a party – such fun – they Aussie boat behind us were just lovely.

That urge to see around the next corner!

That urge to see around the next corner! Seille River (for one night – so very pretty!)

Macon, pretty but noisy night.

Macon, pretty but noisy night.

Lyon

Lyon

Autumn is here!

Autumn colours

Sunny when I am at the helm.

Sunny when I am at the helm.

Raining when I am working the lines!

Raining when I am working the lines!


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On a Barge – Ideas

I had no idea what Noel was working on when he said, ‘I need to buy some timber.’ Noel loves timber, he picks it up off the side of the road, he rummages in bins for it… we always have a good timber supply on board.

He cycled back carrying a long plank of cheap-ish wood (there, that shows my knowledge of wood!). I heard the drill and saw, and poked my head out to see these….

From the boat

From the boat

From the bank

From the bank

To increase our range of mooring opportunities and protect our expensive underwater paint, Noel came up with this idea. I am sure old hands have done something similar/better already, but I think these are pretty great and wanted to share them with you.

Noel setting up the planks (and our OLD paintwork!)

Noel setting up the planks (and our OLD paintwork!)

The different holes give us a different range. Currently we are about one metre away from the bank. Our adopted cat likes them too – they are her personal-boarding platform!

A glimpse of our NEW paintwork...more to come!

A glimpse of our NEW paintwork…more to come!


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International Experience

We’ve ordered a marine toilet from Italy and solar panels from Germany. We’ve got a Dutch bank account and a Dutch built boat. All instructions, on the boat, are in French.

We’re ordering fuses from Holland, ‘they don’t exist anymore,’ insists the French chandlery.

My Dutch phone keeps texting me in Dutch. I can’t get my French phone to work – I have to back up the Sim first, in order to back up the Sim I have to activate the Sim, in order to activate the Sim I have to back up the Sim.

The French dongle (sounds like a poodle) is working just fine – phew!

Thank goodness for lovely places like Ranchot to calm my befuddled brain. And my lovely family from the UK (mum, dad & Kieran (my nephew)) – to help keep me sane!

Noel, mum, dad & Kieran

 


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On the move – at last!

The town of Dole is remarkable for several reasons. The three most pertinent reasons for me are because:

1) The scientist Louis Pasteur was born here (he was the guy who came up with the food preparing process known as pasteurization, and he also developed a vaccination for anthrax and rabies).

Louis Pasteur

Louis Pasteur

2) It is a stunningly beautiful place, and

Dole Cathedral

3) It is our first stop on our first voyage on our first barge!

My nephew Kieran is great crew

After leaving our health Spar on the hard at St Jean de Losne dry dock, where the fumes supplied a healthy nose bore, emptying out all that crap that’s been sitting there; and where daily skin and teeth exfoliation were complimentary from the neighbouring sandblasting – we finally cast off and moved!

Before departure I confused (and scared) a few people as I decided to inflict a name change on Dole, I told everyone we were going to Dove!

Hidden delights in Dole

Family arrived, mum, dad and nephew Kieran, and they instantly felt at home. They easily fell into the boating way of life and before long we were on another voyage to Ranchot; which was interesting as we did not plan to stop there – until the floods. More on that soon – with some beautiful pictures of a splendid evening on our unplanned visit.

I want one! A sneak peek at Ranchot.