Hasty departure from Kunheim


While we were contemplating to stay another day or leave for Neuf Brisach marina, a lovely German called Frank, told us that the Rhein has “Hochwasser” (is flooding) and that it is expected that navigation will be prohibited in two days time. We heard from other Germans who had come down the river, that past Strasbourg there were already big problems for boating. They gave us their basically new Rhein book containing all the important navigation maps. With more rain expected in the next few days we decided to leave and head down river the next morning.


The day was grey, but the rain held off, and a little nervous about the fast flowing river we set off. Our goal was to reach the side canal leading to Strasbourg by 1pm and then stay at a little village 20km south of Strasbourg for a few days.

The Rhein looked a little swollen and wide but with our new propeller we were powering along without any trouble.

Austin got so cocky, he even wanted to play "chicken" with one of the commercial barges, but changed his mind quickly as it approached!

I perfected the way of juggling two cups of hot coffee up to the flybridge while being rocked by the wash of passing boats. 

Coming through one of the huge river locks (below) we saw that the water level nearly reached level II, the cut off point for navigation!


As planned we crossed over to the canal’s entrance lock just after 1pm and the lock was opened for us as previously requested.

We took a breath of relief, having mastered the Rhein without incident. However it was a very short breath. We learned that we could not progress to any serviced mooring. All other locks of the canal had been shut down 10 minutes before our arrival due to the high flood levels! We now saw ourselves being stuck for days on the side of an unattractive, shallow canal bank immediately behind the lock without water and electricity.

So Austin made the executive decision to go back onto the river and proceed down the Rhein all the way to Strasbourg.

After a 65km trip we arrived in Strasbourg at the Koejac Marina and were quite disappointed: no showers as indicated, no internet and we were placed at the back end right next to some noisy and probably drunk undesirables in a patched up junk heap. But we were just glad to be safely moored and battened down when the predicted violent storm hit and the rain blasted across the harbour.

© Austin Robinson 2019