Par Herve Pinson
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“We’re expecting a family, she’s taken the wrong port! » The owner of The Escape III is used to this mistake, his boat also mooring in the old port, when it comes to sea trips. “For crossings, you always need water in the port, so departures and arrivals take place at La Noëveillard”, specifies Thomas Labiswhich is making its third season of crossings from Pornic (Loire-Atlantique) to the island of Noirmoutier (Vendée).
It is therefore not at 9:30 a.m., but a few minutes late, that the journey begins, with the excuse of the latecomers, and in the presence ofactu.fr.
That morning, just over twenty passengers boarded. The boat can accommodate one sixties.
Watch our video:
View of the old port
She’s the young captain Berenice Mouray who is at the helm. Jérôme, the sailor, unties the moorings.
The U-turn maneuver takes place gently and the boat skirts the pontoons of the vast marina, fishing boats and sailboats, before leaving the port. With a magnificent view of the entrance to the old port of Pornic as a bonus: time to get out the cameras!
“With traffic jams, it can be interesting, especially to leave the island! »
Bérénice is heading straight for the port of l’Herbaudière : let’s go for about an hour of crossing, to cover about 9.5 nautical miles (15 km).
One hour is also the time it would take to go from Pornic to Noirmoutier by car, or 60 km by road.
In summer, with traffic jams, it can be interesting, especially to leave the island! There we are free.
Fishing boats make a few signs here and there. And then suddenly, a call from Bérénice from the wheelhouse: “Des dolphins ! “Everyone is trying to see it, we are missing a pair of binoculars…
A few minutes before the finish, the Ile du Pilier takes shape to starboard. A note from Thomas Labis on this very fishy site where scuba diving trips are organized by a Noirmoutier club, The Bubble of Her. “It’s the novelty of the year, very advantageous for the participants,” says the shipowner. Those who accompany also have a reduction on the price of the crossing. »
Another interesting point: the team of The Escape III Ask participants before leaving if they need renting bikes on the spot. “We then notify the rental company and the bicycles are available when the passengers arrive. »
More than a century of crossings
The Pornic-Noirmoutier crossing is historic and more than a century old. In Paris station, tourists could read “Paris-Noirmoutier by train”. The train actually stopped at Pornic and a steamer took passengers from the old port to the Plage des Dames. Some experienced the crossings on the boats Jacques Cassard and La Pimpante until 2008. The Évasion III was built in 1988 by Mécasoud in Saint-Nazaire. He first sailed in the Côtes-d’Armor, before being bought back to do the visits under the Pont de Normandie, in Honfleur. “I came from the restaurant industry and converted to first become a fisherman,” recalls Thomas Labis, who also sold a restaurant he owned in Savoie. I found myself patronizing that boat without being the owner. Which shipowner gave it to me and I looked for several places in France where to settle. I arrived here in December 2016. In winter, I work dredging the port of La Noëveillard. »
Complicated start to the season
It is already the arrival at the port of L’Herbaudière. Bérénice and Jérôme perform the docking manoeuvre.
“There was still a lack of places and we learned our location very late this year. It was only validated on May 7 and I only knew on June 20 where the boat would be moored, breathes Thomas Labis. So we suffered a lot marketing issues. The first weeks of July were zero, with sometimes only 4 people on board, we worked at a loss. And then, the very first week of July, travelers arriving in Noirmoutier did not have a Gratibus to get around. »
A story now passed, even if each year, it is necessary to redo all the file and the requests for the new season… Knowing that The Escape III is totally private and not subsidized.
More information on: www.evasion-pornic-noirmoutier.fr
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