My Travel Blog

Delays with New Friends & Those Darn Crazy Cuckoo’s!

There has been a whirlwind of activity on Rabelo getting her ready to leave. There were lots of systems that needed to be checked, plenty of equipment to be oiled or greased and a myriad of other things that have to be taken care of. Captain Kevin takes his job seriously, and wants to know how everything works before we take off.

Of course we did take some time for our infamous truffle hunt. Then there was the party our neighbors gave for everyone at the marina.  The party gave us a chance to say hello to old friends and make some new ones along the way. John and Sandra live about ten boats down from us, and invited us over for wine and appetizers. We had a wonderful time getting to know them, and two nights later we had them over for dinner.

Lisa working on her garden for Rabelo.

The only remaining wooden barge in France being restored at the Old Lock.

The wooden barge being restored.

John and Sandra proved to be a fountain of knowledge.  For example, we always wondered about the Cuckoo clocks in the marina that were chiming every few minutes.  Well guess what?  There are no Cuckoo clocks.  They’re real Cuckoo birds.  I’m still trying to figure out how those stupid birds learned to mimic Swiss clocks.  They must be related to Parrots, though Lisa said they are related to Roadrunners.  Actually Cuckoo birds are pretty smart and also incredibly lazy. They don’t hatch their own young.  A mamma Cuckoo will watch another bird’s nest.  When the nest is full of eggs, and the bird leaves to find food, the Cuckoo will swoop in and lay one egg in the nest. The adopted mother bird will raise the baby Cuckoo as her own even though the baby Cuckoo bird will grow to be twice as large as his new mother. Even worse the oversized Cuckoo will push the smaller birds out of the nest so that it can have all the food.

A view of the Soane River from the Old Lock.

Rusted lock doors that are no longer in use, at the Old Lock.

This is the marina where Rabelo is tied up. It is an old bypass canal and lock that is no longer in use.

We’ve had a few surprises and thus delays, but it’s to be expected. After all we are cruising.  We were getting ready to leave the other morning, and one of the first things we had to do was lift the car onto Rabelo.  The loading spot for cars was right at the entrance to the marina, so I decided to test the crane.  It didn’t work, and it was working perfectly when we left last year.  Kevin and I went to work trying to fix it.  We took off the electric motor and opened it up.  We found some problems inside the motor that we managed to fix, and actually got it running again. We were darn proud of what we had accomplished, but when we reinstalled the motor onto the winch it didn’t work. There were a couple of relays that were part of the control mechanism, and I assumed they had to be the problem.  I told Kevin we would have to take the entire unit to an electrical shop to get it fixed.  Unfortunately it was a French holiday (they have a lot of them), and everything was closed.

Rabelo moored at the Old Lock ready to go.

The resident geese at the Old Lock.

Our neighbor Linda with her dog Wilson.

-Tom Miller
Author of “The Wave”  and “When Stones Speak”– 
Chuck Palmer Adventure novels


About the Author:

Tom Miller graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Geology. He is a consummate adventurer with over 1,000 dives as a recreational scuba diver, and an avid sailor who has traveled 65,000 miles throughout the Pacific including the Hawaiian Islands. Miller has also cruised the canals of Europe on his canal barge and given numerous lectures on cruising the canals of Europe, as well as sailing in the South Pacific. Piloting is also an interest of Miller's, and He has completed over 1,000 hours flying everything from small Cessnas to Lear jets.