They’ve been onboard for a month, and others for more than 12 weeks. Nigel, François, and Sophie confide their thoughts to the onboard journalist: their best and worst moments on Tara, the sounds they like or dislike, what they miss, etc…
Chief scientist, embarked at Guayaquil (Ecuador) on May 19, he landed at Gambier Islands on June 22.
The positive: The ambiance onboard!
Best moment of the day: Sunrise. I’m a morning person and I love to see the beginning of a new day.
What do you miss? The silence. A boat is a very noisy place. At home, I can hear all/the little sounds of nature.
What has this trip given you? Meeting people! I rarely have the opportunity and time to discuss as much as I want with the scientists from other laboratories like Roscoff and Villefranche-sur-mer, for example. On Tara, it’s a real exchange platform, rich and creative. I’m originally a biologist and immersing myself into the oceanographic world, which is normally a marginal subject, expands my vision of science.
Message: Preserve the biodiversity! We have to be aware of all life forms! In a hundred years, lots of species will disappear, it’s disturbing and sad… and mankind is partly responsible. We’ll have to try to continue with a maximum number of other species. We depend on them.
Chief mechanic, embarked at Guayaquil on May 19, he will disembark at Papeete on August 15.
Odor: The aromas of surprise pancakes and croissants last Sunday!
Noise: Made by the clutch: it squeals.
Best moment: I don’t know yet, but I’ll tell you in 2 months when I leave.
What do you miss? The latest news! The government debates on television. I love to see them when they argue. At the beginning, it’s not very interesting, but after a while you really get involved.
The worst moment since you embarked: When the desalinator broke down with a defective pipe. I remember it was a Sunday and I had just come onboard. Breakdowns often occur on Sunday. The cooling pumps also broke down on a Sunday, but the second time, it was a holiday Thursday, just like a Sunday…
What you’ve gained from the expedition: Seeing other horizons is always satisfying. Returning to Polynesia. I haven’t been back for over 30 years, since my military service. I can’t wait to see Tahiti again.
The worst moment of the day: On all fours amongst the machines while cleaning the bottom of the hold!
One fear: Not really “fear”, but the anxiety that the desalinator wouldn’t start again at Guayaquil: either we’d stay put, or no one could take a shower…
Scientist, embarked at the Galapagos (Ecuador) on May 7, he landed at Gambier Islands on June 22.
Best souvenir: Seeing the whales circling Tara during a sampling station.
Best moment of the day: Sundown and better still, if there’s an aperitif at the same time!
The worst moment: The alarm going off for “Accuri” (water sampling procedure every 6 hours. Sophie, Céline or Johan take turns at midnight and at 6 am).
The best moment: My observations on the microscopes, working on the samples I’ve just taken in these waters far away from everything, it’s unique. I observe a quantity of organisms that I never could have seen. It’s fascinating. And I love the moments aboard when we’re all together, like at dinner.
Noise: The sound of the water gliding along the hull.
Odor: The smell of croissants and pancakes.
A Fear: Before embarking, imagining almost a month and a half at sea without putting my feet on land.
What do you miss? Doing sports! A boat is a limited space… and going swimming is rare.
What you’ve gained from the expedition: Time for thinking. It’s rare while on land to pause and give yourself these moments.
Scientist, embarked at Guayaquil on April 30, landed at Gambier Islands on June 22.
Best moment: When the boat arrived at Guayaquil! I knew from a friend and scientist onboard, Gabriela Gilkes, who sent me messages, exactly when they would arrive. When I saw Tara in the distance, then approaching the dock, it was an exciting moment. And I would be embarking…
Worst moment: With Nigel (the chief scientist) while stowing material in the forward hold, at the beginning of the leg, I was sick as a dog.
The best moment of the day: Sunrise. Everything is peaceful and the boat is waking up. The lights on the ocean are magical.
The worst time of the day: When I have to wake up for the “Accuri” (see Johan’s remark) at midnight and 6am…and when François Aurat shakes me to wake up.
Odor: The smell of bleach (when others are doing the cleaning).
Noise: The sound of water against the hull, which I can hear from my bunk.
The worst noise: The sound of the automatic pilot.
What you miss: Michel.
A fear: When I climbed to the top of the mast. But even worse was when the shark came at us while swimming in front of Henderson beach. But maybe it was as scared as me…
What you’ve gained from the expedition: Overall the encounters. Being obliged to live together in this space and getting to know each other. The smallest detail becomes an adventure. And naturally, the experience working onboard and discovering species with the Flowcam (imaging instrument in the dry lab).
A message: A little ‘Hello’ to the people back in my lab!