Since departing from Mykonos (in the Cyclades archipelago, Greece ) at the beginning of the week, there are only 10 of us aboard Tara continuing our route towards Lebanon. Voyaging with a small group greatly changes the atmosphere on the schooner.
We were 15 in Cala Gonone, Sardinia, and 14 in Vlora, Albania, and finally 12 after Zakynthos, Greece. The downsizing continued after the crew rotation took place during our last stop in Mykonos. Today we’re only 10 Taranautes including 5 sailors. The Breton Martin Hertau, who will become captain in a month, is currently chief mechanic, the former position of Rodolphe Gaudin, who is now first mate. Captain Samuel Audrain, Marion Lauters, the cook, and François Aurat, deck officer, are continuing their journey started several weeks ago.
As for the scientists, Lebanese Anthony Ouba has joined Amanda Elineau and Juliet Maury, who have been doing the sampling stations for the past month. The presence on board of the Lebanese PhD student working at the Oceanographic Observatory of Villefranche-sur-Mer means 2 extra hands during the stations, and thanks to his nationality, gives us the right to take samples in Lebanese waters. Finally, the painter Emmanuel Regent will be artist in residence for this leg of our Mediterranean trip.
As always with a reduced team, the ambiance aboard Tara changes, becoming more relaxed and less noisy. In the large air-conditioned dining area there’s no more juggling for a place to work, have discussions, or plan a station. At meals, everyone feels free to talk with neighbors, and discussions become more personal. Although the teams responsible for household chores had to be adapted, each person willingly participates. (The cook, normally spared, given the huge task she accomplishes, had to join one of the 5 teams.) This Tara family is smaller, but more unified.
On the other hand, the “non-sailors” will no longer be able to sleep through the night. We’ll be taking turns almost every night, every 3 hours, assisting the sailor in his night-watch – another opportunity to get better acquainted with our cabin mates. The next sampling stations will take place in this more familiar atmosphere. We have one week before reaching our next stop – Beirut – and then we’ll spend a week in the Lebanese capital.
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