April 2000

The good news is that we are not going to sink. The bad news is that we caught on fire.

We have just spent a couple of busy weeks in dry dock, out of dry dock, and then back in again, as we tried to determine the thickness of our hull. The first ultrasound survey showed high numbers indicating a very thick hull, that was good. Because of some doubts about the first survey, we had a second survey done. The second ultrasound survey showed a few low numbers indicating some problems with the hull, that was bad. We didn't know which survey to believe.

To solve the problem we used the old fashion method of drilling holes in the hull. Drilling found that our hull was good, not quite as good as the first expert reported, but that it was much better than the second expert had reported. We only needed one small 6 mm plate welded onto the hull.
two donkeys standing at the fence of their field
On Saturday, April 1st, in the area where the welding was in progress, the wiring inside our hull caught on fire.  It was small fire, more smoke than flame, but the recently installed electrical system will have to be replaced, and there was some interior smoke damage.

Between the hull problems and the fire, we haven't been sleeping too well and we're feeling a little stressed. It now looks like our projected sailing date will be delayed. When everything settled down again, we looked at each other and said, "We need a vacation." We decided to go to Barcelona to visit friends.

When the fire started, we did discover that our French improves under stress, and we met many new people who came to see what all the smoke was about. 

 firemen standing in front of their firehouse



When we stopped by the next day to say thank you to the firemen for putting out our fire, we were given a tour of the Saint-Jean-de-Losne firehouse. It is a volunteer department, so now we know the pharmacist, the butcher and the baker in town.

Before we left for Barcelona, friends from San Francisco came to visit, and we were happy to go sightseeing with them. We drove along the Burgundy canal and visited some of the small villages that we remembered from our first rental barge trip. We went to Dijon, Dole and Beaune to see the sights and enjoy long lunches, rather than just to shop for light fixtures, carpets or tile.        



stone house


interior of a charming country restaurant


Friends standing on and around a barge talking and laughing



In Saint-Jean-de-Losne, our old friends met our new friends, and it was a wonderful change from all of our recent worries. We were relaxed again and ready to drive to Spain for a few days of sun and relaxation in Barcelona.

Even the donkey looked happy again.

cute donkey looking right into the camera