Tara is in Bermuda

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19 February 2012

In a drizzling rain that reminded us of Brittany, we arrived early Sunday afternoon in the archipelago of 123 islands called ‘the Bermudas’. After approaching by the western flank of the main island, Bermuda, we followed the coast to the entry channel of the town of St. George, on the island called St. George’s. Here there will be a complete turnover of the scientific team, and we will remain in Bermuda until February 23.
Despite a few rays of sun, we knew early in the morning that our landing in Bermuda would not happen in good weather. But the sea was calm and the temperature a mild 20°C compared to the nippy weather when we departed from New York.
At first glance, the island seemed quite built up, with a few beautiful beaches interspersed with small groves of trees. A few fishermen were busy on the water around us, and in the background, brightly colored houses with white roofs looked rather Mediterranean.
Between Bermuda and St. George’s Island, a channel came into view marked with classical red and green beacons, with their colors inversed compared to those found in France, but similar to the ones in the French Antilles. Despite the gray sky, the water was an extraordinary turquoise.
People out for a stroll at the tip of the canal’s south entrance waved a greeting as we entered the narrow passage, scarcely 50 meters wide. All along this lagoon were colorful houses, conifers and palm trees. A peaceful island.
With Alain Giese, second mate, we took soundings at the dock where Tara was going to berth, to make sure the water was deep enough. “Starboard to quay” called out Captain Loic Valette. A few minutes later Tara was snuggly in place at the dock, and a customs officer came aboard to give us official immigration papers for each one of us to fill out.
Slowly but surely we are getting closer to Lorient, the end of this expedition. Not only is the distance shortening, but yesterday we changed time zones. There’s now only a 5-hour difference from Paris time.
Vincent Hilaire