Message from a grandfather to all Taranauts

© Noëlie Pansiot / Fondation Tara Expéditions

27 March 2017

You’ve had the opportunity to follow the stories of Flora Vincent, a marine biologist, during her leg aboard Tara between Wallis and Fukuoka. Through her easy writing style, the scientist shared her experience in the form of a log book. Flora loves passing on her knowledge and has proven herself to be a good teacher. At 27, she is currently completing her PhD on plankton and overseeing the transfer of responsibility of WAX Science, an organization dedicated to the promotion of science she co-founded. On board, everyone agrees Flora has energy to spare! When Tara arrived in Fukuoka, Flora said she was feeling quite “at home”: “I am part French, part Japanese. Thirty-five years ago, my mother left Japan to settle in France. Part of my family still lives here in Japan. My grandfather may visit us”

A few days later, Minoru Fujii traveled 3 hours from Osaka to join Tara in Onomichi. On this occasion, Flora requested the assistance of Maki, a Japanese artist-in-residence, to talk with her grandfather.


Salut_Minoru_credit_NPansiot-2150178Visit aboard Tara of Minoru Fujii, grandfather of marine biologist Flora Vincent. ©  Noëlie Pansiot / Tara Expeditions Foundation

Then began a trialogue between Flora, who speaks little Japanese, Maki, an improvised interpreter and Minoru San, 91. After visiting the schooner, putting on a sailing jacket and lying down on his granddaughter’s bunk to assess its degree of comfort, Minoru San sat down in the mess room.

After lunch, Minoru San addressed the crew:

“I am truly very happy and very honored to be so warmly welcomed aboard, thanks to the Captain’s permission. I am really lucky to be here. I received Tara’s journal through my granddaughter Flora and I read every article! Now, I know your project: it’s a great mission for the planet. I understand we must really try to preserve our oceans for future generations: this is very important because without plankton we won’t be able to breathe. Corals are also endangered. It’s all wrong! I’ve learned all these things thanks to Tara’s project, Flora and your newspaper. You really do a fantastic job. But I’m only an old man speaking.»


Taranautes_Minoru_credit_NPansiot-215017Exchange with Taranauts. © Noëlie Pansiot / Tara Expeditions Foundation 


“Here, in Japan, when we reach a certain age and we get a chance like mine today to be at your side, we say: “I was given a gift for the next life.” Thanks to you, I leave with beautiful memories. I thank you with all my heart for this warm welcome.”

Before Tara cast off towards Kobe, Minoru San disembarked with a second gift drawn by Maki in the palm of his hand …


Tara_henne_Minoru_credit_NPansiot-2150138Henna tattoo designed by Maki at Minoru Fujii’s request. © Noëlie Pansiot / Tara Expeditions Foundation


Interview by Noëlie Pansiot

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