Hédé – St-Grégoire
16 Locks 34 km
On another hot morning we cross the summit and see the first moving boat outside Dinan.
They start evasion maneuvers as soon as they see us and we can observe the fear in their eyes… Self esteem rises.
Meanwhile the outboard has developed some problems. Once taken out of gear it just revs up and cant be switched into gear without fearing for the gearbox. Investigation shows that the automatic choke doesn’t close as it should. By the looks of it Yamaha has anticipated exactly that and fitted a little leaver to the choke/carburetor assembly that allows to clamp the choke in either the open or closed position. After closing the choke manually and fiddling with the carburetors idle speed screw the engine works just fine again. Also that means that in order to start the engine from cold in the morning we have to take the engine cover off, set the choke, start the engine, wait a few minutes, reset the choke and close the cover.
After depleting our alcoholic supplies the evening before, we buy a few bottles of homemade cidre from the lady look keeper at écluse 20 Villemorin. Here begins the gentle descent from the summit down to the river Ille and finally down to Rennes and the Villaine.
We stop for lunch at Montreuil-sur-Ille. The Crêperie in the lock cottage looks very inviting but is closed for lunch (at lunch time). I begin to despair at the logic of opening times in this part of the world. I bike into the village to get fresh bread and get one of the spare fuel cans refilled.
In the afternoon we get to St-Germain-sur-Ille. Here resides the navigation authority and also runs its lock gate workshop.
Here we also meet this friendly sailor who warps his little engine-less boat from sea to sea.
We move on through nice country side and begin to realize the down sides of cruising the waterways in Brittany. Other then on English or Irish canal there are practically no possibilities to moor up. All the banks are fortified with sharp granite rocks waiting to pierce the hull and overgrown with nettles and bramble waiting to pierce your skin. So you are left with pontoon moorings which are far and few between and often occupied by big barges that don’t look like they will move soon. The other alternative are the lock landings. So that really is where we will spend most nights on this trip. And its nothing to worry, as there won’t be any boats after closing time, as well as hardly any boats moving at all. Moving boat count so far: 2.