When we were finally able to depart Les Roches de Condrieu, we had to also say goodbye to some wonderful new friends. Henk, Fabienne, and Zidane (their German Shepherd) had been our dock neighbors aboard M/Y Lyra. Henk and Fabienne have extensively traveled the European Inland Waterways; they shared with us wonderful stories, photos, and valuable information about the canals. It was a bittersweet departure, but we were all thrilled when the flooded Rhone had receded and we were able to continue our journeys.
It took nearly two-hours to traverse the very first lock of the day, Ecluse de Vaugris. When we arrived, we had to dock at the pleasure boat pontoon to await an upstream traveling tanker. The tanker not only has priority in the lock, and fills the entire lock, but other vessels are not allowed to traverse a lock with any vessel carrying hazardous materials. So, we waited our turn and had lunch while at the pontoon. Another pleasure vessel joined us, M/Y Virgo, and we were able to have a chat while waiting. M/Y Virgo is traveling north to Ipswich, England from Spain; with 600HP they'd had much fewer stops than we had! When it was our turn, we locked through smoothly, although took care to push away debris from the stern hoping it would not foul our prop when it came time to exit.
Although the water level had receded, we still battled a 4-knot current most of the day. Lots of time for cleaning the deck between spotting interesting sights, like this fuel barge (M/Y Virgo was docked to refuel). We dodged debris and had a mostly uneventful slog upstream.
Nearing the final lock for our trip up the Rhone River we were reminded once again of the Rhone's mightiness as the current increased to 6-knots in the derivation. We had a smooth locking at the Ecluse de Pierre-Benite and were thrilled to have completed the Rhone! Thanks, to the men behind the locks who did a great job of lifting us UP even when the current continually tried to pull us down!
Exiting the Ecluse de Pierre-Benite, we approached our turning point where the Rhone and the Soane rivers split conveniently around the city of Lyon.
Here, we turned left and entered the Saone River. We are told that the Saone is a much calmer, smaller river with weak current. There are five locks total on the Saone; similar in style to the Rhone locks but shorter lifts per lock. We are anxious to venture upstream in a new river, not entirely sure what to expect in comparison. But first, we "Ooh," and "Aah" at the riverfront of Lyon where there is fascinating architecture to wet our palette for touring the city.