La Rochelle has a little boat that goes between the old harbor and a big new marina called Les Minimes. It’s about a twenty minute ride each way and gives a beautiful look at the harbor from a different perspective, that of being on the water. On our previous trips here we kept saying we were going to do this little boat trip, but never seemed to make it; we were determined to do it this time. Here’s the boat:
Now, the sign at the boarding place of this boat ride says, clearly, that it runs every half hour from 8:30 in the morning until 11:30 at night. Great, so we arrived at the departure pier at 12:15 one day. No activity. Finally an employee came up the ramp and we learned that the next trip will leave at 1:30 – lunch time, we guess. There is no mention of this break in the schedule anywhere on the schedule sign.
Okay, so we went off and did something else and decided to return that evening. We walked back into town at about 6:30 that night and arrived at a place where we saw lots of boats sitting in the water, and this above us:
That is a diver standing on a platform that, we later learn, is 90 ft above the water. A couple seconds later:
As we stood there marvelling that any fool would do such a thing, it struck me that they were diving right into the passage that our little boat takes, which means…the boat will not be running. Sure enough, no boat. (Turns out the event was the opening competition of the Red Bull Cliff Diving Championship; these guys do this in six or eight places around the world. Crazy!).
Fortunately, after dinner we got our boat ride, when the competition finished. And it was worth every bit of the wait: beautiful views of La Rochelle from the water. Total cost: 10 Euros. A funny story: as we sat on the boat for the first trip two women sat next to us and asked if we were two. “Yes,” we replied, and she said, “Oh, good. There are four of us now and we can go as a family and save a Euro each.” Sure enough, there’s a family fare of 2€ each if the “family” has four people (individual fare is 3€), and they are not at all rigorous about what constitutes a family. We had an excellent conversation with these two French ladies, and saved 2€. What a deal!
A few unexpected turns, but well worth the effort.