31 March 2012
Thank you Lorient!
Today, Saturday, March 31, 2012, Tara came back to her home port after a two-and-a half-year expedition covering 115,000 km. A passionate reunion shared with the people of Lorient who gave us a wonderful welcome, full of respect and fervor. We were accompanied by well-wishers and Breton bagpipes for most of the afternoon under a generous sun, from Groix Island to the Belem dock where we are now moored.
North Atlantic, Mediterranean, Suez Canal, Red Sea, Indian Ocean, South Atlantic, Southern Ocean, South Pacific Ocean and then north, Panama Canal, North Atlantic — we had to sail through all these liquid spaces to accomplish our mission.
A global quest, never before undertaken, trying to understand a bit more about the functioning of our oceans and the micro world inhabiting them.
Today as we were leaving anchorage at Groix Island, many ships came by to visit with banners full of warmth, “Tara we love you.” Two Pen Duicks were also part of this impromptu parade. Great collective joy filled the whole afternoon.
There was laughter and emotion from Gaby Gorsky, oceanographer and director of the Observatory at Villefranche-sur-Mer; an attentive Captain Loïc Valletta, slaloming through an armada of a hundred boats; and the smile of agnes b., sponsor and owner of Tara with her son Etienne Bourgois, co-director of this expedition.
It’s impossible to mention everyone here–we were 250 people taking turns over the two-and-a-half years to complete this project. During the two-hour route to Lorient’s entrance channel, I remembered all those shoulder pats, the friendly glances, jokes and laughter. All the things that enabled us to overcome fatigue, to stay upbeat, and maintain the atmosphere that made this expedition a success.
To sum it up, I think every expedition is a fantastic opportunity, and celebrating the arrival at Lorient is another: we really feel like we’ve come home. A home of shared dreams. A home which for just an instant permits that communion every human being seeks and too often doesn’t find.
For all this, thank you people of Lorient. We love you, and now have a strong bond. After our previous homecoming from the Arctic, this new return from expedition has created new indelible memories. This is now our history.