Tara in Paris until July 19th 2020: the Ocean comes to town

From the estuary to the quays, the research schooner Tara has sailed up the Seine, passing through its locks and is currently doing an exceptional stopover in Paris until July 19th 2020. This is an opportunity for the Tara Ocean Foundation to share our research with the general public and students of the Paris area. Come and discover 16 years of research and exploration of the Ocean and embark on a guided tour! On deck, we invite you to travel, dream and discover the major issues linked to the Ocean and its preservation. Biodiversity, climate, food, oxygen… The future of humanity depends on the Ocean.

All information about Tara’s stopover in Paris and booking here! 

An event intended to awaken wonder and promote commitment 

The research schooner Tara, representing the Tara Ocean Foundation, is currently docked in Paris. Through guided tours of the legendary boat, we invite you to travel, dream and discover. On the eve of the 2020, what if we take a fresh look at our relationship with the Ocean and marine biodiversity?

Visiting Tara

During the week and the weekend, from June 13 to July 19, the Tara Ocean Foundation will be happy to welcome you aboard to learn about the schooner and the various instruments used for scientific research. Children are welcome as long as they are accompanied. Unfortunately, the access on Tara is not adapted to welcome people with reduced mobility and animals are not accepted on board.


Book your ticket here (online registration only) !

Please bring your ticket, digital or printed, for your visit!

During the week (except Tuesdays): from 2 pm to 6 pm 

During the weekend: from 10 am to noon and from 2 pm to 6 pm

Exceptional opening on Tuesday 14 July: 10am to 12pm and from 2pm to 6pm

Last day of opening on July 19th from 10am to noon only

Tariff : 5€ / free for children under 12 years old

Quai de Seine (left bank), Alexandre III bridge, 75007 Paris

Between Pont des Invalides and Pont Alexandre III
Metro: Lines 8, 13 and RER C at Invalides / Lines 1 and 13 at Champs-Elysée Clemenceau

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A look back at a stormy navigation in the English Channel

“The schooner Tara is leaving the “five port city” (Lorient, in Brittany), foghorns sounding the charge against Aeolus and his forces. Indeed, the sea is far from calm. A few fishermen greet us in their eternal foul weather gear.

A yellow sky accompanies us, the water is gray, and the wave crest fades as we sail out to the open sea. After 2 months in dry dock, the schooner finds her marks again as she exits the harbor. Sails are flapping, the rope tension is being adjusted, winches are rattling, the whole structure is adapting until it reaches a high point: gentle breathing.

The captain wants to achieve wind/rigging symbiosis. He praises softness: “When you can feel the boat breathing, it means she’s a little loose”;. Regarding the rigging of booms, he says: “See there, it’s slack; now, it’s good”;. The whole crew is active: the chief engineer is casually strolling around the deck, wearing hearing protection; the first mate has lost his thermostat once again and is setting the sails; Monch is carefully coiling ropes in a figure-eight pattern; the cook is sharpening her knives, and the deck officer is inspecting the rigging. The captain is finally sailing away from mainland, his cap secured on his head, looking pleased through the igloo opening, sometimes asking around: “Are you happy?” Caring about everyone’s opinion, he often consults the other crew members.

The swell makes the schooner oscillate between two fictional points. Her beautiful female curves, rounded hips and wide hull make Tara a protective matriarch in the Ocean matrix. We are near the Glenan Islands, a pod of dolphins surfing ahead of the bow. Let’s seize the moment, resting on the yankee, the slow motion of the stern, the swell breaking into a constellation of ocean spray while we sail around Armorica, a peninsula stretching westward, a promise for dusk. We will lower Tara‘s masts and sail up the Seine. Lutetia awaits us to hoist them again.”

Tommy Jegou, sailor on board

No Tobacco Day: 400 butts picked up on the beach by Taranautes

No Tobacco Day: 400 butts picked up on the beach by Taranautes

Saturday, May 31, the crew answered the call of the Surfrider Foundation Europe. Equipped with garbage bags and gloves, the Taranautes walked the beaches of Charmettes and Le Cros in Six-Fours (Var) collecting trash.  This “Ocean Initiative,” the second this month, allowed them to collect 200 liters (20 kg.) of rubbish. Plastic was clearly present in all its forms, but cigarette butts  especially caught the crew’s attention. Volunteers collected the cigarette butts one by one for two hours, participating in their own way in the World No Tobacco Day.

Responsible for education at Surfrider Mediterranean, Benjamin Van Hoorebeke said with a big smile,  “The tobacco industry had a good idea in making the filters yellow: they show up really well in the sand!” It’s true, the color draws attention. When you bend down to pick up a butt, you quickly realize it’s not alone. Sometimes 3 or 4 others are lying near the first. Brigitte Martin, a volunteer for Surfrider for almost 3 years, is particularly disturbed to find the butts lying right next to a trash bin on the beach. “Tossing a cigarette butt is an automatic gesture. You even see it done in the movies.”

Sunbathers lay down their towels between the crushed and abandoned butts left on the beach by careless smokers. These small pieces of cellulose acetate – plastic in fiber form – are excellent travellers. A cigarette butt thrown on the ground in the city will float in water washing the sidewalks, flow into the road, and finally end up on a beach, as they do here, arriving via a rain water spillway. “The butt will then break up into micro-plastics.” Benjamin Van Hoorebeke adds, “The main impact from butts is the toxic substances they contain: nicotine, cyanide, mercury. A single butt discarded in the environment can by itself pollute between 300 and 400 liters of water. On the ledge there, I walked 10 meters and I found 56 butts !” Organizer of this event, Benjamin Van Hoorebeke regrets that smokers who throw cigarettes on the ground often do not even realize they’re polluting.

Each year, 4,300 billion cigarette butts are discarded in the streets – 137,000 per second! – enough for a never-ending trash collection. Surfrider’s campaign to raise awareness is essential. According to Benjamin Van Hoorebeke, “Awareness is the first step toward accountability.” Partner of Tara Mediterranean, Surfrider will be present at the schooner’s stopover in Nice in 10 days. A great opportunity to become consciousness-raisers, and educate the public about the issues of pollution.

Noëlie Pansiot

Tara is in its initial running-in period

“We are at the stage of setting up protocols”
Interview with Samuel Audrain, captain of Tara

Since last week, there’s been excitement on board: the captain’s phone hasn’t stopped ringing, the crew expects deliveries, and many groups take turns visiting the boat during this stopover in Toulon. In chief mechanic Martin Hertau’s workshop, adjustments are being made on the sternposts. Paul Dufay, a talented electronics trainee is optimizing the electric panel wiring. There are final purchases to be made and parts to be found for minor repairs. The deck officer, François Aurat, has the shopping list: hydraulic bladder, plumbing for the dry lab, ampere-meter clamp, cyalume stick. All crew members are busy preparing the boat, leaving nothing to chance for the expedition. Samuel Audrain is aboard Tara again, captain for this leg.

Tara has been docked at Toulon’s “Quai d’honneur” for the last week.  The crew welcomed nearly 1,000 visitors aboard in just three days. Outside of visiting hours, what is happening onboard?

I recently embarked and this stopover lets us speed up preparations of the boat. We are still in reach of our French suppliers, making it easy to order parts. We have to anticipate the up-coming seven-month expedition (with stopovers in many foreign countries).

We carried out a safety check and tested each of the life jackets for buoyancy. We’re making sure we have all the necessary equipment on board before departure. As for the machines and motors, there’s always something to do on a daily basis.

We’ll be in the Mediterranean and it will be hot, so we’re looking for fans. All these things take time. Yesterday, technicians came aboard to check the air-conditioning in the dining room. Our stopover in Nice will be as long as here in Toulon and will let us finish installations. We have to advance every day and not wait until the last moment. And all of this while welcoming visitors — the general public and schools groups. But I really enjoy starting the expedition and sharing our experience with the public during stopovers.

Who are the embarking scientists?

For the last couple of days, Hervé Le Goff, CNRS engineer, has been responsible for setting up the dry lab for the Mediterranean mission. Jean-Louis Jamet, professor at the University of Toulon, has just boarded and is scientific coordinator for this leg. He is in contact with Gaby Gorsky, scientific director of the TaraMedPlastic project and designer of our entire scientific program. We are all discussing the implementation of protocols for data collection and sampling.

In short, many things are being finalized and this stopover is rather intense. We are in a phase of setting up protocols, and want to be efficient from the very start, i.e., from the 2-9 of June.


Noëlie Pansiot