Set off for Roquemaure and a town quay but found nothing just a stone wall. On we go to the next designated spot which in this case is up a tributary of the Rhone at l’Ardoise. Here the channel is deep and we come alongside a very lovely secluded spot with about 20 long stay boats. Unfortunately the town is a few kilometres away but had no attractions at all, just a crossroads and a small shop. Next day we set off up stream for the riverside quay of St Etienne des Sort. Again on arrival the floating pontoons that should be there in the summer are missing. How these town think they are going to attract the big spending yachties without a wharf I don’t know. On we go through the very deep Bollene lock. After that experience and having to wait two hour we needed a spot to stay. The only marina on the chart is now Viviers 50 km from our last port of call. Too far today we need a stop.
The water situation is getting low. We are now using the drinking water to wash the dishes and flush the loo. Cruas is the next stop. Sundancer has stopped there and recommends the place. We arrive and turn off the main channel into the marina with the full knowledge that it is dredged to 2.0 meters so it will be tight. We didn’t make it into the marina entrance before we ran aground. Soft mud but no forward movement. Put the engine in astern and wash our way out back into the channel. We later found out Sundancer with less draft than Malua had also hit the mud.
Where next? The designated marina is too far off so we have to find a place to stop. The guide suggest La Voulte-sur-Rhone is right beside the town centre but the slight slope on the stone quay require the use of generous fenders. We have those which we float on the water along side Malua as we pull in and secure to a large bollard. The depth finder one moment indicates 0.0 then the next 4.2m below the keel. The round bilge of a yacht does have some advantages. All looks fine and we set off on a great bike ride through the fruit growing area of the Rhone returning for a shower but no water! This is now a serious problem. There is not a tap in sight.