In spite of very unseasonable weather in the preceding days, Sunday 24th July dawned reasonably fair, when some forty GEDS stalwarts (including one very ‘junior’ member) assembled ‘en l’Ile’ to board the morning cruise down the Rhône. The first excitement was passing through the lock at the Quai de Seujet where the lake level is some ten metres higher than the river itself. The lock gates are operated by remote control from the Verbois dam and are equipped, alongside the lock itself, with a fish ladder and even an otter run, to allow wildlife to move about freely.
We sailed on down to the impressive Jonction, where the grey, sediment-filled waters of the Arve join the darker waters of the Rhône – each current continuing unmixed for many metres, with a clear line between them. The cruise continued through the gentle sylvan landscape for about an hour, and our guide drew our attention to a host of water-fowl, from the ubiquitous mallards to cormorants, grebes, mergansers and overhead the wheeling black kites which are so much a feature of Geneva’s summer skies. (An enterprising canoeist rode our wake for a good half-hour, doing his own version of white-water rafting.)
There was a brief stop at the Verbois dam itself where we could take a look at the impressive hydro-electric station with its 20 metre head of water producing a good 20% of Geneva’s electricity.
Then back to the landing stage at Peney, where we disembarked to walk up through a green and shady woodland path to the Auberge de Satigny. Here we partook of an excellent lunch and much jollity before walking the short distance to the railway station and the regional train back to Geneva. A very pleasant Sunday outing – and warm thanks from us all to Howard for organizing it so well!
text and photos thanks to Jenny Buffle