Tara Pacific’s first moments

© Maeva Bardy

31 May 2016

Tara left Lorient on Saturday night to the cheers of a crowd gathered for departure. Among the supporters, some families and friends travelled long distances for a final goodbye. After the farewell, sailors and scientists aboard the schooner savor the first moments of the adventure. While the sailors ensure proper functioning of the boat heading for Miami, the first seawater sampling is already in progress. The expedition is under way!

 

28 Mai 2016, départ du Tara du port de Lorient.
May 28, departure of Tara from the port of Lorient © Fanch Galivel

After the deacon’s blessing and a last farewell to the cortege of boats accompanying Tara past Groix Island, only the 12 crew members remained on board: 6 sailors, 4 scientists, a member of the team from Tara Base in Paris, and an on board correspondent. Suddenly the atmosphere on the boat changed. All crew members experienced these first magical moments and realized that the expedition had actually started. Mild weather offered a magnificent sunset that chased away the impatience and excitement of the past weeks’ intense preparations. Smiles were on everyone’s lips.

Michel Flores and Yajuan Lin sitting above the igloo, enjoying the first sunset after the departure from Lorient.
Michel Flores and Yajuan Lin sitting above the igloo, enjoying the first sunset after the departure from Lorient © Maeva Bardy

Everybody quickly took up their duties. Marion Lauters, sailor-cook aboard Tara, was already preparing the evening meal. Captain Samuel Audrain organized the quarter watch teams for the first night: sailors take turns in the wheel house every 4 hours. As for the scientists, they are preparing the equipment for collecting the first open sea samples as soon as possible. Certain procedures have to be confirmed and protocols refined. There is no time to lose “because at sea everything takes 2 to 3 times longer than on land,” comments Michel Flores, scientist in charge of atmospheric particle sampling.

Working at sea is very different. The rolling of the boat hinders gestures and movements. Safety instructions are announced in English by first mate Nicolas Bin, so that everyone can understand. On board are 4 nationalities living together: Mexican, American, Chinese, and a majority of French, all with very different backgrounds and experiences at sea. This expedition promises to be a beautiful human challenge, learning to live and work together in close quarters for several months, or even a year for oceanographic engineer Guilaume Bourdin, who until now had spent only one week on a boat at sea.

 

L’équipe Tara Pacific au départ de Lorient
The Tara Pacific team at the departure from Lorient © Maeva Bardy

Presentation of the crew (pictured from left to right from top to bottom):
- Samuel Audrain (captain)
- Nicolas Bin (first mate)
- Daniel Cron (chief engineer)
- Marion Lauters (sailor-cook)
- Julie Lherault (deck officer)
- Louis Wilmotte (sailor-electrician aka “Fuse”)
- Leah GODIVEAU (volunteer)
- Maéva Bardy (on-board correspondent)

The scientists:
- Thomas Leeuw (optical engineer)
- Michel Flores (atmospheric sampling system developer)
- Yajuan Lin (in charge of the mass spectrometer installation)
- Guillaume Bourdin (oceanographic engineer – in charge of high-speed sea water sampling)

 

L’équipe Tara Pacific au départ de Lorient
The Tara Pacific team at the departure from Lorient © Maeva Bardy

Maéva BARDY, correspondante de bord

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