Tara has completed her mission, but scientific research continues

© P.LePochat/Lorient Agglomeration

23 November 2014

When we woke up this morning, the schooner’s arrival in Lorient was just a beautiful memory. After a short night, the Taranautes got up early to welcome visitors aboard. The first croissants were delivered by  families of the crew. Around the table in the main cabin, 6-year old Luana Oriot, daughter of crew member Matthew Oriot, recalls the boat’s arrival: “I loved when Dad came back. I was so happy.” Sitting opposite her, Ipanema and Marley, the children of artist-in-residence Malik Nejmi, talk about yesterday’s events.

“There was music, there was a great ambiance, and the minister Segolene Royal was there.” says 10-year-old Marley. “The mayor and citizens of Lorient also came to greet Tara. The boat arrived as if she were a legend.”

After a 7-month expedition, the schooner came back to her home port of Lorient on 22 November – first day of the European Week for Waste Reduction. A happy coincidence! As Marley mentioned, Tara’s return was saluted by Mme. Segolene Royal, Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy. She spoke of implementing a ban on non-reusable plastic bags by 2016 – a welcome announcement marking the end of this expedition dedicated to plastic pollution. Almost 2,300 samples were collected throughout the Mediterranean by the scientific teams aboard, and all of them contained microplastics!

The last samples stored aboard Tara in a container of liquid nitrogen are about to be sent to various partner laboratories. The boat has completed her mission but the research will continue: scientists must now analyze the samples to quantify and qualify the plastics, but also to study their effects on living organisms.

The ‘whale’ is ready for renovation in the shipyard for 3 months. For the crew – Nicolas de la Brosse, François Noël, Samuel Audrain and Mathieu Oriot – the adventure continues on the ground in Lorient, at the Keroman site (Port de Pêche). Luana won’t have to wait several months for her father to come home.

On board, the day continues. The most courageous visitors are provided with umbrellas and slickers to visit Tara in the rain. Several generations of Taranautes meet in the main cabin to remake the world. The joyful tribe flips through books about the various expeditions, making comments. No doubt about it, the future is assured!

 

Noëlie Pansiot

 

 

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