Sardinian stopover

© Y.Chavance/Tara Expéditions. Tara navigue sur les eaux turquoises de Cala Gonone.

July 2014

Eight days after leaving Antibes, Tara anchored this Saturday, July 5th in view of the small town of Cala Gonone, Sardinia. A few days’ stopover during which plankton and Tara Oceans will be honored.

Despite the many changes to adapt our program, and especially the sampling, to weather conditions, we arrived on schedule near this small Sardinian town — a hamlet with less than 2,000 inhabitants perched on a rugged coastline with turquoise waters and riddled with caves. Everyone on board was eager to get their feet on land or their head under water, but this stopover will not be a vacation for us.

Just after our arrival, some crew members went into town for a press conference, and returned  with a dozen journalists who visited the schooner. Just after they left, the coming-and-going of the dinghy started all over again, bringing newcomers with their luggage onto the deck, while other crew members at the end of their voyage were packing up. All this as usual in the middle of a busy work schedule.

Sunday’s program began with a conference in Italian about plankton and Tara’s expeditions, followed by a workshop on scientific research in the region, including discussions about the establishment of a biological station and a marine protected area. Afterwards a reception took place at the aquarium of Cala Gonone, a partner of this expedition in the Mediterranean.

In addition to this program, our stopover in Sardinia will be the occasion for an important Oceanomics seminar — the mammoth project aimed at exploiting the data and samples collected during the Tara Oceans and Tara Oceans Polar Circle expeditions. For 5 days, researchers involved in this worldwide project will meet in Cala Gonone to discuss their initial results.

On Monday and Tuesday, the Oceanomics scientists will conclude the seminar with 2 days of sampling off Sardinia’s coast. It will be an opportunity to train certain researchers in sampling protocols and better understand where the data comes from that they’ve been analyzing for over a year. So ends this sunny stopover at sea, before departure Wednesday for Albania, with a brief stop at the small island of Ustica.

Yann Chavance

 

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