St-Nicolas-des-Eaux – Ecluse 20 Manè-er-Ven
11 Locks 27 km
St-Nicolas-des-Eaux, also partly given over to tourism now, is one of those out of the way places, were it only takes you a day or two to find out who deals with whom and why. Just by sitting somewhere and watch to world slowly moving past. There is a hotel, a restaurant, a creperie (“yes!”) and a Bar/Tabac run by an ancient couple. The Épicerie has sadly closed, so there is no chance to fill your larder, the next shop being 8 kms away, mostly uphill.
A misty morning heralds another gloriuos day.
We also need to make a strategic decision today. We could press on hard and try to reach Lorient. I for my self would be keen to do some tidal work in such glorious weather conditions and also the tides would be in our favor if we get the timing right. And there would be the Festival Interceltic to enjoy. Or we could just leisurely glide down the river and come back tomorrow. Remember we need to find a slipway at the end of our holidays to get the boat back on the trailer. And there is a good slipway in St-Nicolas just below the lock. We make the decision not to make a decision and started downstream reasonably early.
Soon we pass the chapel of the hermitage St-Gildas. Sure this must have been a good place for a hermit.
We realize that this river is getting even more prettier and quieter the further we get on, But also the progress is quiet slow as we keep losing time find lock-keepers. Then, to add some entertainment to the landscape we meet this converted barge. What a beauty. And the only boat we saw moving on the Blavet.
Most of the lock weirs around here sport a small hydroelectric power station
As pleasant as this day was, we were not really making much headway. And all that got to a total halt as we got to ecluse 20 Mané-er-Ven. There was no lock keeper to be found and also no phone reception. So all we could do was to wait or just decide to take it easy and navigate back to St-Nicolas-des-Eaux. We decided for the later and spend a relaxed afternoon on the lock island.
There were two fishermen with two dogs and the child took a likening to them. Not really sure if the fishermen took a likening to the child, but at least they kept the child entertained which we rewarded with a few cans of beer.
Sharp 19.30 the lock keeper appeared out of nowhere, just to be totally surprised by the view of an actual boat. We let him know of our plans an he agrees to meet us here at 9.00 tomorrow morning.
After the fishermen disappear we get the boombox out and have an impromptu disco till well after dark. It is really nice to make some noises if there is nobody around that would be annoyed.