Bassin Walk : la Teste – Arcachon – 26 February 2015


A lovely day for the ducks! But at least the weather forecast for intermittent drizzle and bright intervals, followed by increasing rain from the west in mid afternoon, was accurate. So eleven walkers, who arrived punctually in la Teste, were well equipped to face the elements!

Our walk started on new and well made paths meandering through the salt marshes, egrets, heron and countless ducks and cormorants as well as some smaller unidentified birds were seen. A short section of our route was along a road, as the Bassin frontage was owned by a boatyard, otherwise we hugged the coastline on unofficial footpaths, interspersed with fishermen’s shacks and quays and lots of oyster ‘bags’. This ‘working’ environment contrasted dramatically with some luxury dwellings behind, commanding impressive views of the Bassin. We were also interested to see the ‘Whale’s Tail’ there – this is prominently moored in front of the main beach in the summer ! The high tide enabled excellent views of the Bassin, but our walk along the edge demanded a challenging ‘stepping stone’ route as we reached Arcachon, luckily there were no ‘wetties’.

So we reached the Port, crammed full of luxury boats, including on the adjacent land, stored in multi-story racks. Half way along the pier we reached the sailing club, where our party grew to 14 as we took lunch at the Yacht Club, greatly outnumbering the other diners. Fortunately occasional light drizzle had barely dampened us, and we were able to enjoy the unrivalled view of the Bassin, especially when there was a long sunny spell. The Kir and 3 course lunch was most welcome, but unfortunately the negotiated menu and price was reneged on (despite our email confirmation!) and we had to pay a little extra for the wine. We were entertained over lunch by a number of passing oyster boats, but also by marine rescue exercises with a good number of ‘equipped’ swimmers, drifting in the tide for nearly half an hour before being ‘rescued’.

Colette concluded our repas with a thank you to Phil, our organiser.