The countdown has begun

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1 March 2012

It’s March 1st. Mars is a planet, but it’s also the month of our arrival in Lorient, in just 30 days. Two and a half years of navigation. We’re hoping lots of people will come to welcome us home! In the meanwhile, we continue fishing for the infinitely small, and much work remains to be done.
The rosette “Rosie” is back to normal again. The weather is beautiful, and the sea has huge waves. We are enjoying warm temperatures again, around 22 degrees C: I spoke too quickly in the preceding text – we’re still wearing bermudas!
Wednesday evening we started a short sampling station that we’ll continue today with no problem. Everyone is at his post doing his job. A minor incident interrupted the sampling this morning, when a piece of cable was sectioned. It had to be totally cut, but the repair job took only half an hour.
We’ll be driftng until 7 o’clock this evening, then we’ll start heading east again. A depression is forecast with winds around 30 knots, so we couldn’t miss this window of good weather.
Since departing from Saint George Island (Bermudes) we’ve used the sails for a large part of the 700 miles — more than a third of the distance to Horta, one of the islands of the Azores archipelago. This will be the last leg to cover such a considerable distance, 1,800 miles. Afterwards, between the Azores and La Corogne, we’ll have scarcely 1,000 miles to go, and finally 300 more to reach Lorient.
When you think that we will have traveled 60,000 nautical miles, the total distance covered by Tara Oceans Expedition! That’s equivalent to three times around the globe.
The countdown, or the counting up of miles – Numbers don’t really matter, when the general feeling aboard is that our arrival is close and at the same time far away. We still have ten more days of sailing. And also because the scientific program will continue practically up to our arrival.
What really makes this arrival feel close are the memories of all the stopovers and past destinations. We feel that the end is in sight.
We’re all talking about the magic day in Lorient that’s awaiting us, but as our English friends say, “Let’s finish the job first!”. Wisdom of the oceans no doubt, but it’s the same on land when we say “Don’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched.
We’re thinking of all of you: families, friends, fans and supporters of Tara Oceans and Tara Expeditions in general. We’re on our way home, and soon there’ll be a big celebration.
There’s plenty of time to prepare the welcome!
Vincent Hilaire