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The harbor

From the Middle Age, the ports of the Basque coast are renowned for whaling. The blazon of the municipality of Guéthary which represents a lookout on a headland as well as a rowboat of hunters harpooning a whale, reminds proudly this secular tradition.

The capture of a whale is a considerable economic chance of a lifetime : the flesh is a precious food, the fat serves to make some oil of lighting and some soap, the skeleton is used for fences, frames and seats of house, plates of baleen finally become "whales" of umbrella or corset. The tongue, soft and delicious, is reserved for the personalities.



From the 14th century, the rarefaction of cetaceans in the Bay of Biscay leads the Basque crews, the recognized specialists, to Canada and the New Earth, who develop at the same time the cod fishing. But the long and hard campaigns chased away whalers and fishermen of cod. At the end of the 18th century, the Basque sailors develop the coast fishing. Tunas, sardines, spiny lobsters are indeed very plentiful. The port knows its peak in the 1920s when every fisherman captures daily 15 in 20 spiny lobsters in his locker!

In the entrance of the arbor, the boat "Annie" will deliver you her secrets and will tell you more in detail the history of the port and her whalers.

The dike dates from 1891 whereas the walk on the pier was built in 1936 by the unemployed persons of the region.

In 1925, the first engine, of brand Dion-Bouton, fits "Caroline", who keeps its sails and its oars, the trust in the engine being limited.

Today, the port shelters about twenty colored boats and solidly moored to 29 rings of the hold. These boats are especially used for the sport fishing: small squids, spiny lobsters, hakes …


Virtual visit of Guéthary Harbor