19 May 2013
Over a year has passed since the previous Tara Oceans expedition ended, and Tara is finally heading out to the open ocean. Sunday afternoon May 19 the schooner cast off from Lorient to begin a nearly seven-month voyage around the Arctic. The Tara Oceans Polar Circle Expedition has begun.
All the sailors and scientists aboard had been anticipating this moment for weeks, or even months. At 3pm, before a crowd of onlookers and friends from all over France, Tara left her home port of Lorient, and will return here only in December. Meanwhile, Tara and her crew will have traveled 25,000 kilometers around the North Pole, first along Russian and then North American coasts.
But Tara did not begin this journey alone. All around the schooner, dozens of boats, from the smallest dinghy to the largest sailboats, symbolically escorted Tara on this new scientific adventure. Over twenty people were on deck: journalists, Tara’s land team, and even the next crew. As the sea became rougher, the number of escorting boats decreased.
At Groix Island, off Lorient’s coast, Tara followed tradition and the boat was blessed by the island’s priest. Then a second departure began: one after another the accompanying people piled into dinghies, until only fourteen remained on board. Fourteen people who will share two weeks of life at sea before the Faroe Islands, our first stop.