The Double Life of Tara Expeditions

© N.Pansiot/Tara Expéditions

22 October 2014

Shadow and light, land and sea, Tara’s expeditions oscillate between two worlds. The visible side of the project: the schooner Tara is constantly in the spotlight. In contrast, the Paris team is usually in the shadow of her sails. 

Whether in Paris or onboard, all members of the Tara adventure work for science and the environment; they are dedicated to sharing the story of a legendary boat and captivating a curious public. Even beyond the schooner’s missions, Tara Base in Paris is also committed to protecting the ocean. Exhibitions, lectures, screenings and educational events rhythm the life at Tara Base.

A boat, an office and a team. One part sails and one part is on land, but both complement each other working for a common goal. Yet the connection between land and sea is often virtual, by email or telephone. Meetings are rare – during stopovers or special events. The team and the crew often travel in parallel, sometimes with jetlag.

This 10th expedition is somewhat the exception that proves the rule: the schooner is not sailing in the most remote regions of the world. Tara is only a few hours away from Tara Base in Paris. A Paris-Marseille train or a flight from Paris to Barcelona, allows workers to join the team onboard at a stopover. It’s true that a flight from Paris to Illulisat (Greenland) or Paris to Papeete does not require the same logistics and cost, or the same carbon footprint!

Stopover dates, programs and press conferences – Martin Hertau our captain receives all directives onboard. Everything is managed at Tara Base, the land team at Boulevard Bourdon, near Place de la Bastille in Paris. Led by Etienne Bourgois and Romain Troublé, the team is a bee-hive of activity preparing expeditions, developing programs for Tara Expeditions, and defining priorities. Without them, no Tara! A major pre-occupation is seeking partnerships, which also takes place from the office. The land team is in charge of educational activities and communication, and they work to educate the public about the environment. This year, Myriam Thomas, Eloïse Fontaine, Xavier Bougeard, Magali Puiseux, André Abreu and Mark Domingos took advantage of the proximity of the boat to successively join the Taranautes.

Myriam, nicknamed ”Mimi”, sailed between St. Tropez and Naples. For a few days, like the rest of the crew, she was on the schedule of night shifts and household chores. For the past 7 years Mimi has been in charge of event-planning. Boarding the schooner ”reminds her why she works every day.” She adds: “When you work on a project like Tara, the schooner is the real element, but it’s often very far away. Voyaging aboard the boat creates the intellectual bridge between what we do throughout the year in Paris, and what we’re all working for.”

Aboard Tara before Myriam was Eloïse, in charge of communications. She sailed between Marseilles and St. Tropez. A first! This land-sea passage delighted the crew and with great enthusiasm the Taranautes shared their daily life with her. On the agenda: exploring the engine room with Sam, the chief mechanic, endless discussions with the first mate Nico on the bridge, and time spent in the PC Com understanding the work of the correspondant onboard. Eloïse, smilingly confided, “I’m happy to be here.”

This ‘coming together’ was appreciated unanimously by the land crew and the sailors alike. ”What a terrific idea!” said Martin Hertau, the captain. ”Now office and boat are not two entities. Tara Base people coming on board get to understand more about what we do, and there’s a better symbiosis.”

Noëlie Pansiot 

Related Items :

- BASE TARA in Paris. 

- Tara team.

- The little pleasures onboard Tara. 

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