We woke up early, Shoe and Lou walked into town to the bakery for fresh bread and croissants. The bread was baked in a wood-fired oven. It was not as cool as yesterday and we set off early about 8:45 AM toward Vers. Through 2 locks, then we arrived at Vers, where we strolled through the old town, found Jeffrey and Sally Stride’s gallery and browsed their work featuring the Lot valley and its beautiful light – reminiscent of Maryland’s Eastern Shore!
At Vers, we attempted to go to the library to use their free internet access, but it was not WiFi, and we would have had to login using their hardwired computer. It was almost 11:45, there were six people in a hurry to get lunch, so the librarian told us to come back tomorrow. We took advantage of the great showers and got aboard to make some water time before we stopped for lunch. We had targeted 2 more locks with a natural mooring spot at about PK 183. At the St-Gery lock, a boat was tied up for lunch at the drop off point for the lock. They waved and said hello! but never ventured out of their spot. We nosed in, Line handlers jumped off on a high stone wall, and the captain took the boat back out the channel to wait for the linehandlers to open the lock gates after draining the lock. The lock was a deep one and the folks moored at the mouth were pretty well jostled by the time the water settled. Gates open, our boat entered the lock and we closed the gates behind them and executed our jobs precisely.
We had identified a potential spot for our egg salad sandwiches which Sandy had made. The natural mooring spot was a little nerve-wracking, a jetty of concrete about 10 feet wide jutting into a bend in the river. We bravely nosed in toward the jetty, tied off to a tree and sat in the shade on our roof deck to eat. We shoved off again back to the river to head farther upstream. At the Bouzies lock, we saw another boat going downstream but it was very, very slow in entering the lock – so slow we thought they might be having lunch tied up to the disembarking point. When we decided to move forward, they finally moved into the lock. Our line handlers jumped off, the crew held the boat stable at the disembarking point. Line handlers discovered the issue when they approached the lock and offered assistance. The crew on the other boat consisted of 2 elderly – older than us anyway – couples. Our line handlers opened the sluices for them and the gates. We wished them a bonne journee and waited for them to clear the lock. Once clear, our boat entered the lock and we started the process all over. We cleared that final lock about 3:25 PM and decided to stop after the lock at Bouzies at a “civilized” mooring opposite the limestone cliffs just after the bridge.
We were just 2 locks away from St-Cirq-LaPopie and had gone through 6 locks today ranging from .3 meters to 3 meters.
Our trip was along a mostly deserted river, winding through trees, meadering along cliffs and through small clusters of buildings not even large enough to be called a village. It was peaceful, the water was calm, the sun was bright, the sky was blue.
Our captain backed us into the dock to tie up for the evening with our bow pointed out to the river. We received permission to tie up for the night from the dock master who was busily attempting to rent small boats called gabares, little day motor sailers with benches along the sides and a little roof. Just off in the distance, on the other side of the suspension bridge we discovered an “English Castle,” carved into a crevasse in the limestone. These were “uncomfortable,” at least according to the guidebook, hiding places used by the British during the Hundred Years’ War.
Dinner prepared by our chef, Mike, with much delay as the oven kept going out. We had roast pork with potatoes and onions and broccoli. Then we tidied up the boat and retired for the night.