Thoraise and the tunnel 

A nice dinner of trout with rice and mixed mushrooms and cooler air after a massive lightening and rainstorm made us sleep in the next day. We restocked with baguette and left heading for Oselle and Thoraise. Near Oselle we wanted to visit the limestone caves. But the moorings after the Oselle lock seemed to have washed away leaving a slope of rocks and earth at the canal sides, too shallow for us to stop.


So we carried on through walled canal straights where boats can’t pass each other and communication via radio or horn tooting is required. Unable to find a suitable mooring place for lunch we cruised on through open storm locks and gorgeous river stretches of lush green hills and rises, the occasional cliff face poking through. 

We love the automatic locks opened by remote control on board, but some of the locks of 2 to 3.80 metres heights have the water gushing in with force and bollards are few and far between. So I am glad that we have a little more experience and a few more fenders around us than last year!

Austin, wasting away to nothing without a lunch stop and the clock approaching 3pm, had set all his hopes on the pontoon in front of the tunnel of Thoraise.

We were doubly disappointed: there was no room left on the pontoon - and the waterfall at the entrance of the tunnel which is supposed to stop only when a boat is about to enter the cave wasn’t working. However,fairy lights were illuminating the ceiling and we enjoyed the view anyway.

Finally, after going through the next 5m double locks, we found a secured grassy bank and were able to tie up behind some stationary barges. 

On our breezy deck shaded by a tarp, food and drink tasted really good  and around 8pm we were even ready for a walk along the tow path. We saw our first snail farm there and read that this is even in the Bourgogne a rarity as. Breeding snails is so labour intensive that it is not very profitable. Therefore most of the snails are imported from Poland and the Ukraine.

The French snails here at the farm are nourished with diverse plants and a mix of corn, rape and wheat flours.

By the way, they are delicious cooked the Bourgogne way with a herb butter coating. I don’t cook them  - I just eat them!

© Austin Robinson 2019