There are ten days ( time flies!) I was writing about river boat tourism . For the record: the Lot, beautiful river of 485 km long that winds merrily along beautiful green shores and give their names to departments of Lot and Lot et Garonne (it was the cultural line …).Since this article, I was asked many questions about boat without permit . So it is time to lift the veil on some existential questions. The first that my female friends have asked me is « is it possible for a woman to pilot a barge if she’s not accompanied by MacGyver? » The answer is YES. The proof with this image (and soon video).
Still skeptical? To convince you, let me tell you how it goes: when you arrive at the base of Canalous in Luzech, Patrick welcomes you with kindness. He can even pick you up at the bus stop downtown if you are not motorized (the base is less than one km, but if it rains it’s not really convenient,but by a clear day it is a walk without difficulty). Also note there’s a bus service Cahors / Luzech. So you can get by without having to bring your car.
If you prefer, however, arrive with Titine, know that you can leave it to a pay parking for a few euros per week.Yes but what about food shopping? How do we do if we do not have a car? Well, the SPAR (local store)in Luzech can deliver at the base. Isn’t it great?
I also suggest you do not buy too much.You don’t need to charge you too much because you have the possibility almost every day to buy food in the villages along the route and to discover small producers such as the wine of José and Arlette in Douelle. But let’s go back to our boats.
You can drive these boat without a license, but not without practice, because once you complete various paperwork with Patrick, you will have to familiarize yourself with the « beast » which for us was named Scooby-doo :-) A TARPON 42N, beautiful baby 12 meters long, 4 cabins with sinks, two showers, two toilets. Really comfortable, with a kitchen equipped with gas oven and plate (you do not have to worry about the bottle), fridge, cutlery and plates, dishes and pans for cooking. So while Madam is piloting, Mister can cook for the whole family. Or you can go with some friends and let them work ;-)
The handling of the boat is to go around with Patrick and Oscar and to understand technical aspects, breakers, lights panel, water, and of course to practice with them… Nothing too serious. Then you turn the ignition, and it’s like a car. To tell you how simple it is, although I don’t have a driving license, I did it without sinking the boat, or even fail!
Patrick will tell you how to park. Be aware that you will often have to park perpendicular to the dock on the Lot, then feel free to practice with Patrick before leaving.
Then, you are given a folder with the route map. Everything is well detailed, just be alert and drive while keeping the map under the eyes.
Now allows me to enter some recommendations and especially « how to avoid ending up like theTitanic without nerve crisis? »
Because you see, there is still sand bars, old lock or wash houses submerged in Le Lot, but which are marked by buoys. for remembrance, but this will be again explained before you go: On the Lot, red buoys have to be left to the left and green buoys to the right when you navigateagainst the flow direction.
The card also lets you know where the water is shallower and tells you how to pass the various bridges.
But above all: Remember that the one pilot must always stay focused. A good reason not to do too much navigation / day and enjoy the stops and life on board.
Life aboard will be the subject of a forthcoming article: « What to do on a barge when it rains, when the weather is good, in brief what to do on a barge, what to drink, eat , the toilets, showers, cooking, shopping? » But also how to pass the locks, and some information about the town of Cahors. And the recipe of Scoobydoo’s chocolate cake (this one is eagerly awaited !)Meanwhile, if you still have not planned your summer vacation, I suggest you go on the website to discover June’s Canalous Discounts!