The Banc d'Arguin everyone knows or has heard about. It is part of this list of words and phrases: Cap Ferret, the Tchanquées Cabanes, the Dune du Pilat, Chez Hortense, the Grass, The Moulleau, the City of Winter, Villa Algerian ... that one always associates with the Bay of Arcachon. On some photo found everywhere and visitors to the Dune du Pilat are always amazed when they see it, "for real" when they arrive at the summit for the first time. For it is undoubtedly the top of the Dune that the sight of this wonder of nature is the most stunning.
But the Banc d'Arguin is above all an island ...
Without boat, it suffices only to appreciate its beauty .
How frustrating for the millions of tourists who visit every year Dune, and worse, for those who chose to spend their holidays in one of the many campsites below our local big pile of sand!
Who could resist the temptation to spend time on the island paradise of sand, so close, that blocks the entrance to the basin and spreads languorously at the foot of the Pilat Dune?
It is for these reasons that Uba has, for fifteen years, set up in the summer, a shuttle boat that starts at the foot of the Dune to the south and crosses the channel to take 800m passengers on the bench.
Of course, from the first days of the implementation of this shuttle, when the weather was part of the success was the rendezvous. It took very quickly provide a dedicated boat only assured these passages. And this success was confirmed in time. This year several thousand tourists have taken the shuttle "Dune du Pyla - Banc d'Arguin."
Some would tell us, and told us! "But what can we do ... well all day on a piece of sand where there is nothing at all? "[Sic]. Coluche would undoubtedly added: "not a boozer, not a moped, nothing! The jungle what! ".
To these we will respond to try to come one day of good weather and spend a day on this place outside of time and where one feels so far away from everything.
The Banc d'Arguin, in addition to being a pile of sand that blocks the entrance to the basin is Europe's largest sand island! Nothing less.
It is never covered by the tide, even during the storms of winter, and could see and vegetation grow on its most central parts and the most "high" (the dune vegetation, beach grass, euphorbia , thistles ... etc).
Difficult to give its dimensions because, as all that is in the southern part of the Basin, is a place that evolves, is transformed, stretches, stretches, breeze and tirelessly rebuilt. Last year (spring 2013), the guards of SEPANSO had measured a length of 4.5 km over a few hundred meters wide.
The SEPANSO is the Southwest Animal Protection Society, the association is responsible for the supervision, management and protection of the Natural Reserve of the Banc d'Arguin.
Yes because the bench is also, and primarily, a nature reserve. The reserve was created in 1972 after a few nature lovers and some environmental professionals had spotted in recent years the settlement of a large colony of sandwich terns.
Terns, you probably know, they are these white birds that look from afar at the seagulls but finer, more gracious. She has a black cap on his head kind of, a little split tail much like that of swallows and a sharp cry, screaming and ... a little annoying after a while.
Terns alongside the many other birds bench Basin is located on major bird migration routes that sail between Northern Europe and Africa.
And so we had to do something for these birds that had spotted there a quiet, uninhabited but have been seen happen at the turn of the sixties, more and more came boaters spend their day there in this sublime place.
Cohabitation is sometimes complicated. During the big weekend of April or in July and especially in August, thousands of tourists and ships coming on or around the Banc that causes significant stress on birds. For several years the SEPANSO has implemented a Comprehensive Protection Zone (ZPI) bounded by wooden stakes float, string and small panels, and inside of which human beings are considered persona non grata.
From April to November, the guards of SEPANSO install a dwelling hut in this ZPI, where they stay for a week by two turns and from which they observe birds and monitor human beings, always a little twisted ! Woe to anyone who ventures into the ZPI! A heavy fine is the key ...
But generally speaking, few people entering the area, the tranquility of the birds appears most of the time respected. And much more!
But the bench is great, we told you. The reserve occupies only a small area to the north and does not prevent those who go there to walk freely and find a quiet place with no one.
The Banc d'Arguin is a wonderful place, an unexpected encounter. Its sandy strips ?wrap almost endlessly around turquoise water lagoons. When one takes the trouble to cross it in its width, it finds the ocean side, facing the northern pass where the show is always waiting for you, whether incredible calm when the tide goes down or the tumult of the ocean swell coming breaks it when the tide rises.
In addition to its residential shack, the SEPANSO has also installed another in the center of the sandbar, where our shuttles land their passengers. For the protection of birds here not only through repression and fines. The guards also the concern of prevention and information.
Take the time to spend twenty minutes in the cabin to discover the flora, fauna and history of the Banc d'Arguin. Everything is presented and clearly explained in great signs, posters, brochures, photographs, drawings, etc. The association also offers weekly summer exciting guided tours.
And they are right the guards SEPANSO! When you know, we like. And respected.
We are pleased to be able to offer Uba this walk to tourists who spend their holidays on the Bassin d'Arcachon.
It is after all very unjust that only those who have their own boat can take advantage of such a place. One of the benefits of public transit is to be able to allow those who do not have the resources or those who are not able and do not have sufficient knowledge to move. Our boats have a way democratised the Banc d'Arguin and allowed people who could never get there, take advantage of this natural treasure.
So how to get to this little paradise?
There is of course the first shuttle Pilat Dune - Banc d'Arguin which we have spoken above. The departure is located in the south of the Dune Road Biscarosse, just before the Panorama camping, at a place called "Robinson beach". If you go, you will remember this place on the road which can be found at the top of the Dune without having to climb! From there, you will cross a few hundred meters a kind of undergrowth that will get you almost to the top of the dune.A few meters further you will have before you what can be one of the best views of all: the Atlantic Ocean stretches to infinity before your eyes in the foreground left, the Banc d'Arguin and little further to the right, the Lège Cap Ferret.
You will continue to move forward and you will see below, on the beach at the foot of the Dune, a small hut, a local small hut such as Robinson Crusoe. This is where you can buy tickets for the crossing. The boats arrive in front of this lovely cabin. Look no dock or pier or anything. It's forbidden. The Dune is classified. No construction sets possible. The boats pick you up in "beachant". That is to say by putting the front on the sand. Boarding is the waterfront, with a ladder. The landing on the bench will be made in the same way, for the same reasons.
The first shuttle leaves the Dune morning at 11am. Follow other three to 12:15, 14h and 15h. In the other direction, the Banc d'Arguin departures are at 12:15, 14:15, 3:15 p.m., 4:15 p.m. ET for the last 17h. Sometimes the weather is nice, departures are almost continuously in the morning departures in the direction towards the bench and in the afternoon from 16h in the sense returns to the Dune.
Other ships of the Uba will also bring you to the Banc d'Arguin. Initially this time directly Arcachon or Cap Ferret in the summer months. A morning departure from Arcachon at 11, Thiers jetty and two departures from Cap Ferret, 10 am and 11:30 am. The start of the bench, in the late afternoon, takes place in any event at 17:30. Note that we also propose to go to the nearby Pilat Dune with those departures. You can even combine the two destinations with the "deep south day" that allows to spend time on Dune then switch to the Banc d'Arguin by taking one of the many shuttles that carry the passage of the Dune to the bench, you leaving the choice of the times that suit you best.
The days of good weather these days on the Banc d'Arguin is a true happiness. You feel out of time here, disconnected from the bustle of the summer in our area, provided, however, that takes the trouble to walk a bit in the sand and finding some place away from These gregarious groupings that seem fond of many vacationers when they find themselves on a beach ...
This large sandy island is a paradise for children. They can "lose" in "dunes" adapted to their size. Walking almost free of stress in a place where the atmosphere is relaxed and family, and safe for little bathing rules are fixed in advance. The adventure, so easy access for children is always here for them to go. The scenarios of pirates, adventurers, castaways lost on his desert island here are the perfect backdrop!
For us boatmen, the return of the Bench is always a good time where we find our passengers processed the morning. The evening shuttle always exude an atmosphere of well-being and calm. The faces are lit by the sun flooded them all day. Among children, the youngest have their eyes if they do not shine, close during this return, swayed by roll and roar of engines, crushed sun and exhausted by their crazy races on large areas and sandy their prolonged bathing in this paradise for their children scenarios. The smiles seem etched on faces wrinkled by the wind, salt, sand and sea. The evening shuttle somewhere, we return a good image of our boatman business. Almost seems to have brought a moment of family happiness. That's the advantage of working in this basin that offers so many treasures so close and unexpected. It is easy to make them happy and amazed people here. No deserves!
We keep away from current controversies on regulated access or even banned from the Banc d'Arguin to pleasure craft and the public. Suffice us just to point the pleasure and happiness that provide this magical excursion offers us the Bay of Arcachon. The Banc d'Arguin is first nature reserve for birds. It is evident and it should remain so. And they are there all year where men are perhaps just a sixty days at most.
But the birds have a right to enjoy the wonders that nature gives us, what conjuring trick could justify banning these pleasures human beings who, though they may say, remain no less them as the inhabitants of this planet with as many rights as others to explore the wonders ... if they comply ...