The Journey to the Seaside

From Cremona to Porto Levante

 

 

July 29, 2008

 

After refueling 1,470 liters of diesel fuel, at a whopping cost of 2000 Euros (E 1.36 / l), but still less than the street price of nearly E 1.50 / l, we leave the Cremona harbor.

I am quite worried, because the level of the Po river is already quite low and falling every day.  It is either go immediately or possibly have to wait until October, not a very encouraging option.

To proceed from the Cremona harbor to the river Po one has to go through two locks, one immediately after the other.

The first took us 5.30 meters, the second 5.70 meters down.

 

 

Finally the river Po is in sight.
 

It is a typical summer day on the river: hot, muggy and in the evening mosquitos.

Everything looks very peaceful and should be very easy, also thanks to the eccellent signalisation that tells you where to go.

The problem is that the river is very low, and in places the depth is less than 1.5 meters (the PH8 draws 1.45 m)

 

 

The river looks uninhabited, since the small towns and villages are hidden behind the levees.

Only a church steeple every now and then signals the presence of a village.

 

Clara and Gianni try to get out of the sun and complain incessantly about the heat and the humidity.  Luckily during the day there do not seem to be any mosquitos.

I am quite nervous since we hit ground two times.  The sandy bottom does not damage the cat, rather the risk is to get stuck gets me worried.  The commercial traffic cannot use the river when the water levels is so low so getting stuck could meant a long wait, possibly till October!

 

We make it to Casalmaggiore and tie up for the night at the city landing.

You can see from the exposed stones on the shore that the water level is quite low.

 

To fight the heat Clara thinks that outdoor camping could bring some relief.

 

July 30, 2008

 

 

I do not think it wise to proceed alone downriver, especially since some guys of the river navigation tell us that there are some shallow spots between Casalmaggiore and the Mincio river. 

So I hire a local pilot that with his local knowledge steeres us safely around the shallow spots.

He also tells us that we cannot proceed down the river Po after the Mincio river due to shallow spots, but that we had to take the canal that ties Mantova to the seaside.

To get to the canal we have to negotiate a lock.
 

On the other side the pilot leaves us. 

We get to know the crew of the "Ferrara", a tug boat, who is going the same way we are. 

They give us the news that the canal is shut due to the construction of a bridge and opens up only at 3'oclock every other night.  Of course the opening night is not tonight, but the next night.

 

 

The water is green and almost too hot, but anything to escape the heat.

 

In the evening mosquitos and the heat torture Clara, who tries to sleep on deck under mosquito netting.

 

July 31, 2008

 

The crew of the "Ferrara" invite us to lunch.

Not only is it an excellent lunch, but their dining room is air conditioned.

They also give us electricity, which saves us from using the emergency generator.

 

 
We are stuck in the middle of nowhere, yet Clara and Gianni brave the afternoon heat to do some shopping in a village about 3 km away.

Watermelons are grown around here.

The bridge right in front of us has to be heightened, to bring it up to standard.  The road traffic is diverted to a provisional pontoon bridge, sort of visible in the background, with two trucks negotiating it.

It will open at 3'o clock in the morning.

 

August 1, 2008

After passing the bridge we proceed at night, following the barge that lights the way with their enormous searchlight.

We could not stop anywhere because the subsequent locks opened only that night and morning, since the traffic is blocked anyway.

 

The canal is wide and deep.  Most of it was dug before word war II, by men using only shovels and wheelbarrow.  I am amazed.
 
To save time the lock people tell us to go through all the remaining locks with another boat going to the seaside.

 

Finally, around 3 PM we arrive in Porto Levante.  Tired, hungry and dirty. 

I ask whether there is a place for the cat for the month of August.  To my great surprise there is .

 

This is my new place in Porto Levante.

 

The harbor is very protected and an ideal place to finish to reassemble the cat and to add all the equipment needed for the sea.
 
 
2008-11-23
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