The morning started for Cy with some engine maintenance, specifically, changing fuel filters on the port engine, to the consternation of the other boaters. We had developed problems again with clogging, leading to the engine dropping revs.
Once this was finished, we visited their fuel dock, then disappeared as quickly as possible.
The first section was through a steep gorge and the views were spectacular. The weather was hot and sunny and life felt good.
We reached our first lock of the day at around midday where a Dutch couple in their boat were already waiting. We contacted the lock via VHF and were advised that the wait would be around 30 minutes and given the name of the passenger vessel we would lock through behind. It seemed like a good opportunity for lunch, a spot of bread and cheese and a cup of coffee.
I was just relaxing on the deck with my coffee, when I eventually became aware of a man shouting in English over the VHF radio. It took a moment or two to realise it was the lock keeper and that it was directed at us. I was being told, in no uncertain terms, that we could not go in yet, we must wait, and he would tell us when. I was slightly baffled as I was fully aware that we had to wait, but made an acknowledgement on the radio just to make him stop. What had actually happened was that Cy had stepped ashore to read the sign, which must have been seen on the CCTV and interpreted that we were about to cast off our lines and nip into the lock which was ready for the cruise ship. This had me giggling for the rest of the day (I was just miffed that he thought I could be so stupid… -Cy).
In the early afternoon we passed through the town of Linz. This was busy with both cruise ships and cargo vessels as it has large docks.
We turned into the small harbour at the village of Au-an-der-Donau at around 7pm. Once again, we were waved into the boat club and helped to tie up. Cy thought it best to reverse in and had to be reminded (all in German and with a certain sense of urgency) that Doris’ mast overhangs by quite some way and was about to enter their clubhouse through a closed window! Fortunately there were plenty of hands on ropes and a quick squirt from the girls averted a potential diplomatic incident…
It was a lovely little boat club and we went out in the evening for a walk around the village. There wasn’t much there, just a bakery and a couple of hotels, but the bank section along the river was beautiful.
Our plan was to have breakfast at the bakery in the morning, a bit more engine maintenance, as Suzy, the starboard engine, now seemed to be struggling with dropping revs, and head off mid-morning.
Breakfast was lovely, and the changing of fuel filters went OK. A very kind member of the boat club came over to talk to Cy and offered to call a friend who was a boat mechanic. As we were now experiencing the same problem with both engines, it seemed like quite a good opportunity. We were expecting him to arrive within a couple of hours, but in reality it took most of the day. Spending an extra night at the club and leaving the following morning instead was no problem for us, and the club chairman, Christian, was so kind and helpful that we were very happy there.
I walked to the next town for some groceries whilst Cy waited. Eventually, the guy arrived and agreed that we very likely had diesel bug and recommended some treatments. Cy also mentioned that we needed some engine oil and this was arranged – 20 litres for 60 Euros which was much better than if we had bought it in smaller quantities. In view of our delay, the club decided that we did not need to pay a mooring fee for the second night. Once again, we were touched by the kindness and generosity shown towards us.
Once all this was accomplished, we walked around the harbour to a small beach section on the main river. It was late afternoon and was busy with people relaxing and enjoying the shore. The water was lovely and my first swim in the Danube felt pretty special.
Showers, dinner and an early night completed the evening.
We managed an early start on Thursday 15th, 6:30, which may be a record for us. The day’s journey took us through some fabulous scenery. We passed through two gorge sections and some very attractive villages. We saw a parade along the riverbank at Sarmingstein, June 15th is the religious holiday of Corpus Christi, which we didn’t realise straight away. There were people in traditional dress and uniforms – our initial thought was that it may be a funeral parade.
We went through the lock at Melk at lunchtime with a boat of drunken lads. Thankfully, in Austria, it is compulsory to wear lifejackets/buoyancy aids in the locks.
The Wachau valley, which we passed through in the afternoon, is rich with vineyards. The town of Durnstein is notable for being where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned and ransomed.
One interesting sight along the course of the Wachau valley was a naked couple in their boat. It was a small, open wooden boat and they were completely starkers. All the more surprising since it is a section quite busy with cruise and day trip boats. Cy would not let me take a photo, so this view will need to be left to the imagination.
We reached our intended overnight stop at Krems at around 4pm and after 105 km. Due to the holiday, the harbourmaster was absent, which made it a bit difficult when we wanted to leave the boat club and head into the town, as no-one seemed to know where to find a spare gate key. Eventually, we escaped for a look around town. We managed to get a bit lost and spent some time circumnavigating the prison, but after a while, stumbled across quite a pleasant bit. It is another place on the tour boat itinerary, so has plenty of bars and cafés. We treated ourselves to an ice cream and returned to Doris for dinner.
The harbourmaster was back on duty bright and early the next day, so we couldn’t sneak off without paying. I was given the wifi password which was very helpful as we were preparing to leave!
Our destination for the day – Vienna. This is a place I have always wanted to visit. Our original plan was to spend a night a way outside the city at the boat club connected to the one in Bamberg. Unfortunately, when we contacted them, they thought Doris was a bit too wide to fit. Our revised plan was to stay at a marina close to Vienna, but not the main city one, as it was reported to be very expensive. I had phoned and emailed ahead, as we needed some engine spares and had ordered online to be delivered to the marina.
On arrival things were a tad shambolic. It was a bit tricky to find where we were supposed to tie up as it was in a different harbour to the one detailed in our guide and the were no signs. When we eventually found a place to temporarily tie up and went to reception they seemed surprised we had arrived by boat!!? The berth they found us had no water or electricity supply, so a bit of towing and shuffling around of other boats and another space was made for us. There was one electrical point for us and another boat, so Cy had to utilise some of the spare cables and adapters we had onboard. There was a water pipe alongside, but no tap attached. All in all, it was a bit less than ideal. However, after a couple of phone calls to DHL in Vienna, we did manage to get the parcel delivered on its second attempt.
As usual, there was some engine maintenance to do, servicing water pumps, and it seemed a good place to be doing noisy jobs. We decided to stay the night and move to the city marina the next day if possible.