At the gateway from the Seine into the Canal St Martin and the Port-Arsenal, boats pass through a lock which raises them from the lower river level to the higher level of the canal, maybe as much as 3 meters. During the spring floods this can dramatically change.
It is a wild time on the waterway now. The Seine and many of the well traveled rivers are rushing about seeking freedom from their banks. Running away in a sluice through the countryside, sneaking over their brims without warning, the spate put a stop to safe navigation.
Suddenly the Seine was wild, roiling and rushing from it’s source, filled with two weeks of rain and the melt from higher altitudes that finds its way into the valleys and rivers. The boats that left the Arsenal a week ago were the last to go until this torrent subsided. Even the commercial traffic was sparse. At least for a few days.
Muddy river and murky sky, the only boats going out were emergency vessels, police and firemen. Tour boats, commercial barges, pleasure cruisers – they would wait for another day. Oh, and the occasional water taxi was poised for action … but unless you’re a duck, how to get to it??
Just as suddenly as it started the high water subsided, the banks were revealed again, the stoney paths around the river were back in pedestrian business. Life would get back to normal and the exodus from the port could continue.