The voyage of the Yakacémé (in English)

Written by Cassandra. Posted in Voyage

Friday 25 July 2014

I'll write this post in English to explain to my English speaking family and friends what I am doing. I am living on a dutch barge with Boris (the Captain) and Bob (the Cat). We're now on the Canal du Midi (Toulouse to Sète) and we're heading towards the Rhone. We'll go up the Rhone and spend the winter somewhere in Bourgogne. From there, who knows ? We have a few projects : We will be accommodating an adolescent on board, a youngster who needs a break (in French, sejour de rupture) Yakayalé and also promoting a renewable energy cooperative, Enercoop.

Right now, today, we are moored at the lock called La Peyruque. We lost our rudder control at the last lock and had to spend a day fixing it. We should be off today if we can get the barge off the bank. The canal is not as deep as it should be; our draft is 1m20 and the Canal du Midi is supposed to be 1m40, only 20cm of leeway. The canal is low right now and so we are moving slowly and getting stuck frequently.

Yesterday the lock keeper helped us get off the bank by asking the lock keeper up the canal to release water. We were able to get off the bank and verify our rudder control. We will probably have to ask again this morning before leaving.

Life on a barge is not as boring as one may think. The Yakacémé is a 35 ton, 19m90 Luxe motor (the type of boat) with a 130 horse power engine. Her rudder response is slow and with her tonnage and a steel hull, one must be especially vigilant when entering a lock. She can do a lot of damage to a lock gate. Then there is cleaning the boat, taking care of the plants and the other chores of day to day life.

We have a 800 liter water tank that is still leaking but will soon be fixed and for electricity, four 100 volt solar panels.

I'll be posting from time to time in English or you can brush up on your French.