Off Season: Weekly Photo Challenge

Our first cruise of the year almost always takes place off-season, usually beginning in late April or early May and lasting six to eight weeks.  It’s lovely watching the towpaths and river-banks springing into bloom, cruising between fields full of lambs and calves, and catching nature at her freshest.

Young cygnets are everywhere, carefully monitored by their parents:

It’s not all one long idyll though.  One of the drawbacks can be the state of the canals and rivers at this time of the year.

Heavy flooding, (particularly this year), brings fresh debris down the river daily, with logs banging against the boat throughout the night.  Weed is rampant, and you wouldn’t want to get any of this lot round your prop or stuck in your cooling water filters.

The locks too have fallen victim to moss and weed:

The canal banks are in dire need of spring maintenance:

IMG_1975 IMG_1970… and owners starting up their boats for the first time after a long winter can face a nasty surprise:

IMG_1817But still, off-season has an allure all of its own.  The waterways are quiet, it’s easy to find a mooring every evening, you can almost always get a table at your favourite restaurant.

Off-season certainly offers unique delights and challenges!

To see other interpretations of ‘Off Season’ visit Weekly Photo Challenge.

About Sandra

I used to cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and wrote fiction and poetry. Now I live on the beautiful Dorset coast, enjoying the luxury of being able to have a cat, cultivating an extensive garden and getting involved in the community. I still write fiction, but only when the spirit moves me - which isn't as often as before. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
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7 Responses to Off Season: Weekly Photo Challenge

  1. Just imagining being there again. Ahhhh. Cheers!



  2. It must be an adventure every time you cast off! Your travels certainly comes with some challenges.


  3. aFrankAngle says:

    A relaxing trip for my Saturday morning.


  4. any1mark66 says:

    Nice views. Like the weeds in the lock


  5. Hi Sandy, I’ve been considering a river cruise in France this Fall or Spring. I love Paris but have not been anywhere else in France. It looks like there are 2 routes one around Bordeaux and the other from Lyon to Avignon. Do you have an opinion about either region as far as River trips? We like wine of course but we also like to walk and see “history”. Any advice or resources for advice would be welcome. Thank you, Tracey

    Tracey Delaplain, MD http://WWW.WhatsForDinnerDoc.Com Center for Women’s Health

    Commitment is the stuff character is made of; the power to change the face of things. It is the daily triumph of integrity over skepticism.” – Abraham Lincoln



    • Sandra says:

      Hi Tracey, I’m sure that whichever you choose you will have a memorable and enjoyable time. Both areas are beautiful. My first reaction was that Lyon to Avignon doesn’t cover much territory – we’d expect to do that with three overnight stays (purely as a travelling, and not a sightseeing exercise) so it’s not a great deal of territory covered (and we’re a small boat compared to the big river cruisers – we do about 10-12kmh downstream). Further north we see a lot of big hotel boats/river cruisers starting their journeys south from Chalons sur Saone, thus taking in the Burgundy wine region, and the Maconnaise regions whilst on the Saone, before joining the river Rhone at Lyon and continuing south through many other wine regions, (Cotes du Rhone and Hermitage vineyards) all of which are popular stops for the big cruisers. Have you googled Viking Cruisers, and the Swiss Emerald/Swiss Pearl cruisers, all of which we see as we pass through Chalons sur Saone? Here’s a link to our last very speedy journey south which might give you an idea of the scenery around there: On the Cruising in France page of this site there is an index where you’ll find lots of links incorporating the Saone, Rhone, Lyon etc. I can’t offer much advice about the Bordeaux region – our cruising down that beautiful end of the country covered three years but we generally stopped at the end of the Canal lateral a la Garonne, the river which runs through Bordeaux. I’m sure it will be equally interesting, though. You’ll have a truly memorable experience! Let me know what you decide – I’d be interested to see how you go on.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Burning Tires in Urbino | litadoolan

I'd love to hear your views; it reassures me I'm not talking to myself.

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