15 February 2017
For everyone aboard Tara, departing from Guam was sweet sorrow, saying goodbye to valued crew and friends, meeting new crew, and excitedly heading to Japan.
Tara scientists completed their research in Guam and were able to sample only a small area because of weather. They noted good coral cover was restricted to small protected patches, yet the abundance of coral reef associated fish was surprisingly high.
The departing crew includes memorable friends.
Saying goodbye to valued crew members, Chief Engineer Daniel Cron, Deck Officer Julie Lherault, and First Mate Nicolas De La Brosse © Sarah Fretwell / Fondation Tara Expéditions
Deck officer Julie Lherault, the lone woman who can captain a dinghy or fix a bilge pump with the most seasoned of boat crew, then put on a dress and prepare the best sashimi dinner you will have in your entire life.
Nicolas De La Brosse, the first mate, who makes sure the boat is running smoothly with everything in its place. He can always be located on the boat laughing loudly at another joke. His love of prosciutto and chocolate cocoa puffs is so great, rumor has it he slept with them under his pillow for the past month!
Last, but not least, chief engineer Daniel Cron who must contort into the smallest, darkest, and often dirtiest places on the boat to ensure that Tara is running smoothly. His infamous dance moves and humorous scolding when you forget to turn off the lights in your room – “This is not Versailles” – will be sorely missed.
Saying goodbye to Daniel, Nicolas, and Julie in Guam © Sarah Fretwell / Fondation Tara Expéditions
While each of these crew have their titles, they all work incredibly hard, tackling any task that needs to be accomplished – even when it is not in their job duty – to ensure the success of scientists and the expedition. It has been incredible to watch them work as a team and an honor for all aboard to have worked with them.
In the port of Guam, we met with our shipping partner Rainer Friedrich of World Courier, and packed 3 months worth of scientific samples (Tahiti to Guam) for shipment to labs around the world. After saying our goodbyes, we had the joy of meeting four new crew members: first mate Nicolas Bin, deck officer Francois Aurat, chief engineer Loïc Caudan, and our artist-in-residence, Maki Ohkojima from Tokyo.
Rainer Friedrich of World Courier ensuring temperature sensitive coral samples make it to labs well preserved by packing them in thermal boxes with dry ice © Sarah Fretwell / Fondation Tara Expéditions
We raised our sails for a five-day, 832 nautical mile navigation to Japan, where our first stop before we reach the mainland is the southern island of Ogasawara. One of the highlights this year for Tara are our stops in Japan. Since 2009, Tara Expeditions Foundation has collaborated with Japanese evolutionary biology and ecology of microorganisms expert Hiroyuki Ogata, senior researcher at Kyoto University. As the first Japanese scientist to have been aboard Tara, we are excited to work with him in his home country. In Japan, Tara will specifically look at the Kuroshio marine current and its role in larval dispersal of reef fish. Generated in the Western Pacific, this warm current feeds the most northerly reefs on the planet, located in Japan.
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