Part 2: In each village, marks on the walls record the history of the river’s devastating power during winter floods.
Story and Photos by Alan Harper - October 2003
We arrived at St. Jean in the afternoon and moved our stuff aboard while an engineer from Crown Blue Line, the charter company, showed me our boat, explaining how everything worked: heating, shorepower, hair dryers, a 200-gallon water tank, enough propane gas for about three months of cooking, three heads with showers, two steering positions. Considerably more luxurious than other bareboat charters I’d been on.
“What about the engine?” I asked, thinking about dipsticks.
“There is one,” the engineer replied. “It’s under there. Leave it alone. It’s Japanese.” I promised not to open the hatch.
Two ship-size river locks lay between us and downstream Chalon. Beautiful riverside villages like Seurre and Verdun-sur-le-Doubs are stone-built market towns, their tall houses, war memorials, and dark, cool churches set high above the summer water level. But in each village, marks on the walls record the history of the river’s devastating power during winter floods. The banks are wild, so junglelike in places that you wouldn’t be too surprised to see a crocodile emerge from the water. At Seurre we watched a busy, square-nose beaver swim across the river, and further downstream near Bourgerot we saw an angler’s rod bend double as he fought with a catfish. When he eventually hauled it out, the fish was as big as he was.
This article originally appeared in the September 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.