Thursday, 28 July 2016

17th - 23rd July 2016

We've had a wonderful time on board the Luciole in bright and sunny Burgundy this week. Thanks in no small part to our contingent of fantastic guests, 10 people in total with an abundance of nationalities between them, predominantly English and Australian with an American or two and a smattering of dual nationalities from all over the place. Combined with our mixed crew of English, Scottish, French and of course Chilean, we have had a very international week around here and a very enjoyable one at that. This mixed group rallied together from the start and ended the week as the best of friends, countless glasses of wine surely had something to do with the quick familiarity and team spirit that arose. A highlight of the week was the absolute joy everyone took from the short explanatory speeches about the cheese and wine, leaving the group howling with laughter as hosts explained their cheese of choice and told the many (mostly terrible) cheese related jokes we've obtained over the years.

We were very honoured to be joined by several special guests this week, including the lovely Sheila coming for the 4th time to the Luciole, as well as her marvellous age defying husband John, cruising for the 2nd time with us, it's always a pleasure to see a familiar face back amongst us. Unfamiliar but extremely welcome was Penelope, the twin sister of our weeks resident American, Cleopatra, joining us just for the evening on Friday, getting to enjoy Captain's Dinner from the quayside of beautiful Auxerre. After dinner it is tradition for the Captain to deliver a "short" speech detailing the week and thanking everyone involved. This week English passenger Nick very kindly took to the stage and delivered a few words of his own, thanking all the crew individually in a very nice way, it's a pleasure to hear such kind words spoken and such affirmation for all of us here, so thank you Nick for the kind words, we will try not to let it go to our heads!

 Chef Marc's Crab Tian ready for service

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

3rd - 9th July 2016

Burgundy is heating up and summer is well and truly upon us, much to the delight of our all American charter group, the Gilmer family. An excellent group of people spanning from grandparents Gary and Marilyn all the way down to little Maggie, 5 years old and from the looks of it future boat pilot! Monday was of course the 4th of July, American Independence day, a day to celebrate as our guests certainly did, arriving to breakfast with their red, white and blue beads around their necks, themed socks, USA t-shirts, stars and stripes everywhere you can imagine. We even dug out the star spangled banner of our own to mark the occasion, replacing our slightly contentious Chilean flag representative of our Captain Francisco. The 4th of July wasn't our only celebration of the week with Charlie turning 11 on Friday. Captain's dinner was therefore enjoyed surrounded by balloons, or at least the sound of popping balloons as the kids delighted in jumping on them all. The evening was ended with a huge chocolate celebration cake of Chef Marc's creating, complete with firework candle bigger than Charlie's head, he never did stand much of a chance blowing it out, not for want of trying however!

All in all we had a very enjoyable week in the sun, kids playing all day long, off on long cycling adventures searching for football pitches and basketball courts, steering with Francisco, or out on tour with Andy, enjoying the adventurous activities they had signed up for. Adults staying behind during cruises showing us how it's meant to be done, relaxing like professionals and knocking the cocktails, aperitifs and beers back like they were going out of fashion. A really great week with a spectacularly nice group of people, a perfect note to end on before a passengerless week of maintenance in Auxerre.

 Everyone together after Captain's dinner.

A very happy Amelia indulging in her favourite past time with the passengers.

Monday, 4 July 2016

26th June - 2nd July 2016

What a week to remember onboard the Luciole, joined by the wonderful Marinace and Tomas families. Organised by delightful Grandparents Joyce and Frank, they brought three generations along with them, all excited and raring to go, ready to face the adventures ahead. This group was very sporty and always on the move, using all the options the boat could give them to get around and experience the local environment. Cycling en masse was a daily outing, the kids blazing a trail with all the adults rushing to keep up, they must have cycling half the route over the course of the week, stopping to scale the impressive Rochers de Saussois and disappearing off the beaten track to explore nearby towns. Alongside the bikes we also have two canoes on board, exceptionally for this and the following weeks adventure charters, though with the amount of use they have had from both the family and the crew, I think they should become a permanent fixture!

Amongst the activities for the week we had horse riding, cave climbing, canoeing, zip lining in the trees, visiting Guedelon, a castle in construction using only medieval techniques and playing lots and lots of football. As well as our regular visits of V├ęzelay, Auxerre and Noyers, all beautiful towns and villages with various draws and attractions at each. The most memorable however may well be the most simple on this occasion, a nice "gentle" game of football near the boats mooring in the town of Lucy, where a game was played of epic proportions, all the crew and all the passengers making up two teams, it didn't stay so gentle for long! Captain Francisco fearing for his life being charged down by Lea and Ella, 12 and 13 year old girls respectively, our own hostess Amelia letting out a glimmer of her competitive side screaming for offside or disallowed goals, or worst of all our poor host George, reduced to limping off the pitch after a crunching tackle from 15 year old Lucas. Thankfully as we didn't have a referee we continued play as always, much to the dismay of our now very hobbly George. The final score 5 - 4 to the passengers!

On the final morning we were shown the real strength of this family, rescuing the boat in dramatic fashion from the bank at Lucy. The water level at this location has a tendency to drop over night, placing the boat very firmly onto the rocks by the morning, making departure pretty much impossible. If it wasn't for the combined efforts of all the men in the family, plus a few men of our own, dragging over 160 tons of steel off the rocks we may have had a lengthy wait for the water level to return to normal. It shows just what can be done with the right group of people, allowing us to carry on on our merry way along the river and ending the week in a familar and much missed location at the port of Clamecy.

The gang and their horsey companions all lined up, courtesy of our lovely Amelia.

Attempt number one, using the boom pole.

Attempt number two using a rope. Success!