Back to the starting block

©

11 April 2012

After an amazing arrival in Lorient, then a full week devoted to the visits of school kids aboard Tara, the last few days have been used to make room on the boat.

First the scientists dismantled, stored or took back their equipment, including everything from microscopes in the dry lab to the rosette, pumps, nets and filters of all kinds. Then everyone departed. What an odd feeling to be alone, having spent all those months at sea as a group of 15 people.

We sailors then turned things topsy-turvy inside the ship, completely emptying the front and rear holds with the help of cranes, forklifts and trucks. Almost everything was removed: anchor, generator, diving compressor, deck equipment, etc. The idea was to make room to work comfortably in this next phase. Another strange impression – seeing these wide open spaces inside Tara, when just a short time ago the sailboat was filled to the brim!

As Loïc the captain says, “We’re now in construction mode”, and although there’s a lot of work to do, it’s not necessarily unpleasant to be working together on land, not moving, with a different lifestyle – much more comfortable, able to phone our families easily, eating according to our desires, etc.

Today there was a new step in this always-fascinating spectacle: Tara was lifted out of the water and put into dry dock on the “Keroman” wharf, exactly the same place where the schooner was sitting three years ago when I discovered her for the first time.

For Baptiste, François and myself – involved since the early preparations for the Tara Oceans expedition – there’s a feeling of déjà-vu, a kind of strange “return to the starting block”, especially since we recognize and greet some of the employees of the Timolor Company who had helped us way back then. But in between, three years have gone by, full of wonderful experiences and encounters – three years that went by so fast we hardly saw them go!

Daniel Cron, sailor