27 March 2014
Tara activities start again
Since March 20th, Tara has been gradually emerging from hibernation. After getting a complete overhaul this winter in her home port of Lorient, the schooner is ready for action. Captain Martin Hertau, first mate David Brevault, cook Nadège Holtzman, and chief engineer Yohan Mucherie have joined forces with François Aurat and Mathieu Oriot who were watching over the schooner, repainting the back deck and doing various other jobs. Everyone is busy getting ready for departure on Sunday for Le Havre. From there, the next expedition – Tara Mediterranean – will begin.
The kitchen has been renovated with cupboards now protected by aluminum sheeting. Nadège has settled in, preparing lunch and dinner daily. Yohan is making final adjustments – worried about abnormal air bubbles in the boat’s water circuit and an unusual noise in a pump. Martin is with ‘Maritime Affairs’ for the annual inspection that will give us authorization to sail. David, our new first mate, is getting to know the boat, and already tinkering at the dashboard on the bridge. Mathieu is replacing a gas bottle, checking various equipment, or helping Yohan with a generator that needs to be verified.
On Monday and Tuesday, school kids from the Lorient region visited the boat. They were welcomed aboard by the sailors and Xavier Bougeard, in charge of educational activities. For an hour, young people of different ages (elementary to high school) explored the boat. Out on deck they learned some basic sailing vocabulary: foremast, genoa, port and starboard. On the rear deck they saw how plankton was collected during the last expedition. Then they went through the wheelhouse (command post). The quantity of equipment always makes a strong impression: the young people said it resembled the cockpit of an airplane. Afterwards, everybody gathered in Tara’s main cabin around the big table. Nadège was cooking and the delicious smells provoked comments and discussions that gave the kids an idea about life on board. Then we went through the old dry lab where 3 screens reminded us how this place functions during an expedition, dedicated to taking images of plankton and recording information about the waters where Tara is sailing. An opportunity to explain what plankton is, and demonstrate the complexity of the studies and equipment on board. Finally the visitors saw the cabins, toilets, showers and the forward hold. They found the cabins rather small, but would love to try them out for a night with friends. Then they went up the ladder leading from the hold to the front deck – a moment always appreciated.
All this activity is a prelude to future stopovers, when Tara will welcome aboard classes, the public and partners. The team is getting back into the swing of things. Wednesday they will continue preparing the boat for sailing, and bring aboard the last supplies. Spring has arrived, and Tara will soon set sail!
Xavier Bougeard (in charge of educational activities)