Wednesday, March 18


Jet d'eau
I'm in Geneva and enjoy a familiar site taken for granted in my yuf - the Jet d'Eau, one of the largest fountains in the world and where Lake Geneva empties into the Rhone.  The jet sends 132 gallons of water per second to an altitude of 140 metres via two hidden pumps. The water leaves the nozzle at 124 mph. At any moment there are about 1,849 gallons of water in the air.

The first Jet d'Eau was installed in 1886 at the Usine de la Coulouvreni√®re, a little further downstream. It was used as a safety valve for a hydraulic power network and could reach 30 metres. In 1891, its aesthetic value recognised and it was moved to its present location to celebrate the Federal Gymnastics Festival and the 600th anniversary of the Swiss Confederation. 

Since 2003, the fountain has operated during the day all year round, except if frost or, particularly, strong wind

In the late summer, 1983, I swam across the lake, in preparation for the swim season, with Tony, a university student and distance swimmer who proudly drove a Mini Cooper the size of a doghouse. We were oblivious to the speeding motor boats that passed us by.