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06/11/20

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 …

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.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

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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02/19/20

On our way to Paris

On November 23, the schooner Tara returned to her home port in Lorient (Brittany) after 6 months at sea on the …

On November 23, the schooner Tara returned to her home port in Lorient (Brittany) after 6 months at sea on the 2019 Microplastics Mission. Then followed a period in dry dock to prepare Tara for new adventures in 2020, starting with a stopover in Paris from February 29 to April 13.

2 months in the shipyard

After sailing 9 of Europe’s major rivers for 6 months to study the origins of plastic pollution, Tara was lifted out of the water in December.

In Lorient, the crew was very busy. Inside the schooner, the 8 cabins, passageway and forward hold were cleaned and repainted. On deck, ropes were replaced, and winches cleaned. In the schooner’s central space — the kitchen/mess room — a new gas cooker was installed in view of upcoming festivities in Paris. On the mechanical side, a new power generator was installed in the forward hold, and the lifting winch put in the rear hold. No break for our sailors!

saidSaïd, a welder (SLTIM), during Tara’s overhaul © François Aurat / Tara Ocean Foundation

On January 31, at dawn’s first light, the schooner returned to Lorient’s fishing port and the crew settled in with mattresses, books and cushions making them feel cozy. Tara was almost ready. At dock, her two 27-meter high masts would almost make the Eiffel Tower feel jealous. However, in order to pass under the Seine’s bridges on her way to Paris, Tara will have to be dismasted. To prepare for this, the crew built wooden supports to hold the masts in place (lying horizontally on deck) during the short trip along the river and through its six locks.

Dismasting and sailing up the Seine River

Early February, Carole, cook and sailor, embarked aboard Tara once again with her big smile, her bag, and many recipe ideas. The captain was hurrying the crew and, from cockpit to rear hold, everyone on board was busy, eager to return to sea. Departure time was close. Paris was calling.

DSCF4170Storm over the Channel © François Aurat / Tara Ocean Foundation

On February 14, the schooner left Brittany and her home port, with 40-50 knot downwind and carried by the heavy Channel swell, heading towards Le Havre. Under the Mirabeau Bridge flows the Seine. Will the flood-swollen river let the schooner go through as planned? Let’s remain optimistic, there’s still one full week left!

Thanks to Martin, Nico, Daniel, Fanch, Leo, Monch, Carole, Thibault, Tommy, Fred, Saïd and all the volunteers present during Tara’s refit for their work and assistance.

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© Nicolas De La Brosse / Fondation Tara Océan
02/19/20

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. …

“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

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© François Aurat / Fondation Tara Océan
12/20/19

Heading into a new year

Looking at the horizon for 2020, this will be the year of biodiversity and climate. To start off, the Tara …

Looking at the horizon for 2020, this will be the year of biodiversity and climate. To start off, the Tara Ocean Foundation will invite the general public to join us in Paris! Leaving the maintenance site in Lorient, Tara will sail up the Seine and dock in Paris from March 2 to April 12, to share with the widest audience possible our scientific expeditions and knowledge.
Also planned for 2020 is a major new mission. By the end of the year, the schooner will set sail on new adventures focusing on marine biodiversity, often invisible to the naked eye, yet essential to sustaining life on Earth. Discover the highlights of our commitments to the Ocean for 2020.

2020, the year of the biodiversity

Clown_Fish©Vincent_Hilaire_Fondation_Tara_Ocean©Vincent Hilaire / Tara Ocean Foundation

2020 UN Ocean Conference: a high-level conference on the ocean

Aboard Tara, the Tara Ocean Foundation will join a major international meeting aiming to preserve the seas and oceans: the second edition of the UN Ocean Conference, will take place in Lisbon (Portugal) from June 2 to 6, 2020. The UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG 14) and its implementation will be central. New commitments are to be expected (compared with the first edition of June 2017), focusing mainly on science and innovation.

The IUCN World Conservation Congress will be held in Marseille (France) from June 11 to 19, 2020

This world congress brings together a large network of stakeholders (policy makers, civil society, indigenous peoples, academics, economic players, etc.) to preserve nature in the face of the challenges posed by human activities and their impact on the planet. This is a key step in view of the UN Biodiversity Conference, to be held in October 2020. Docked in Marseille during the congress, Tara will support advocacy actions for Marine Protected Areas, especially in Antarctica and the Pacific Ocean, where France plays a key role at the regional level.

COP15 to the Convention on Biological Diversity – China

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), adopted by 168 countries at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, established an international legal framework for the conservation and use of biodiversity. In an international context increasingly aware of the challenges related to preservation of biodiversity, the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15), scheduled to be held in China in October 2020, will provide an opportunity to redefine ocean protection goals, with a renewed ambition to implement Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). In connection with the activities proposed in Marseille during the World Conservation Congress, Tara will support proposals for effective and well-managed MPAs, based on the best scientific criteria that particularly address the climate challenge.

Fourth session of the Intergovernmental Conference on Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ)

The fourth session of the conference will be held at the United Nations headquarters in New York in March and early April 2020. In the face of persistent disagreements, a postponement of the end of the negotiations, scheduled for 2020, is to be expected, leading to a delay in the approval of the treaty regulating activities in the high seas. Present as a UN Special Observer, the Tara Ocean Foundation will advocate an ambitious, universal and binding treaty with strong ambitions for international scientific cooperation.

COP26: first assessment meeting 5 years after the Paris Agreement

In keeping with the “Blue COP25” that took place in Madrid in 2019, political recognition of the ocean’s role in climate regulation now requires integration into national action plans. For the Tara Ocean Foundation, ensuring that science is recognized as the basis for informed and appropriate decision-making will remain our main challenge.

Around plastic: implementation of national commitments

2019_06_08_Ramassage_Dechets_Scolaires_Mains©Marilou_Bourdreux_Fondation_Tara_OceanCollecting plastic waste with students in St Malo  (2019) © Marilou Bourdreux / Tara Ocean Foundation

Following the vote by the National Assembly to ban the sale (and distribution) of single-use plastic packaging in France, the first provisions will be implemented on January 1, 2020, with the prohibition of non-recyclable plastic cups, disposable plates and plastic cotton buds, as well as the use of plastic water bottles in school canteens.
The ultimate goal of banning plastic has been postponed until 2040. It is unrealistic to believe that a single solution exists, immediately applicable to plastics in the environment. The use of plastic, its applications, volume and indispensability, as well as the complex issues related to using alternative materials, all imply that we must act at different levels, by applying solutions throughout the life cycle of plastic – from manufacturing to recycling and reuse – and changing our production and consumer habits.

Romain Troublé, executive director of the Tara Ocean Foundation
Etienne Bourgois, president and co-founder of the Tara Ocean Foundation
André Abreu, Director of International Policies, Tara Ocean Foundation

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© Maëva Bardy / Fondation Tara Océan
11/20/19

End of the Mission Microplastics 2019

On 23 November 2019, the scientific schooner Tara will return to its home port – Lorient – after 6 months …

On 23 November 2019, the scientific schooner Tara will return to its home port – Lorient – after 6 months of an expedition dedicated to the study of thousands of plastic particles collected in estuaries and upstream from 9 of the main rivers in Europe.

Rendez-vous the weekend of November 23-24 at Lorient’s Cité de la Voile Éric Tabarly to celebrate the return of the sailors and scientists!

#TaraMicroplastics2019 #FondationTaraOcéan

© Fondation Tara Océan
09/05/19

Tara is back in the Mediterranean Sea to track pollution from rivers

Tara is once again studying plastic waste in the Mediterranean Sea. The Tara Ocean Foundation’s long-lasting interest in plastics is …

Tara is once again studying plastic waste in the Mediterranean Sea. The Tara Ocean Foundation’s long-lasting interest in plastics is fully justified. The issue has become so important that the word “continent” is often used when referring to the billions of tons of plastic fragments scattered in the oceans. Five years after Tara’s first expedition dedicated to plastic pollution at sea, research is still under way. The behavior of plastics and their impact on marine biodiversity are still poorly understood.

2014: Assessing the amount of plastic and studying its relationship with living organisms

For almost 10 years, Tara scientists have been investigating the problem of plastics at sea. After observing that plastic litter is absolutely everywhere, the 2014 Tara Mediterranean expedition revealed that microplastics in this semi-enclosed sea are 4 times more concentrated than in the North Pacific Gyre. Tara scientists also studied the living organisms associated with these tiny fragments.

Today, they define plastic material as “a new ecosystem because “some microorganisms that are a minority in the water column have found a new habitat where they feel particularly good and therefore proliferate”, explains Jean-François Ghiglione, a CNRS ecotoxicologist and scientific director of the new 2019 Microplastics mission.

2019_07_28_Hoedic_Huitre-plastique©Lucas_Blijdorp_Fondation_Tara_OceanA piece of polystyrene found inside an oyster © Lucas Blijdorp / Tara Ocean Foundation

2019: Studying plastic flux to combat its dispersion

Building upon the early work quantifying and qualifying microplastics from the Mediterranean Sea, the schooner has returned to study this semi-enclosed sea. Tara is, of course, navigating in the open sea, but also sailing up 3 major rivers that flow from Spain (Ebro), Italy (Tiber) and France (Rhone) into the Mediterranean Sea. Motivating the Tara Ocean Foundation’s new 2019 Microplastics mission is the fact that 80% of plastic material at sea comes from land and microplastics represent 60 to 80% of all plastic debris present in rivers.

DCIM101MEDIADJI_0007.JPGSampling of microorganisms and microplastics in the Ebro River (Spain) using a Manta net © François Aurat / Tara Ocean Foundation

Given the severity of plastic pollution and the lack of research on the problem, the urgency is all the more pressing. “Since the problem of plastics has no solution at sea, we need to understand the sources represented by rivers and identify the unique characteristics of each of them”, Jean-François Ghiglione says.

Scientists aboard Tara are taking samples of water, microplastics and plankton, at sea, in estuaries, as well as in key locations along the rivers to assess the impact of major cities.

“We will also investigate the microorganisms living on microplastic debris, and other organisms, such as mussels, oysters, sea urchins and bass, to understand the bioaccumulation of pollutants attached to plastics.” In addition to these measurements, a model will be designed on the scale of the Mediterranean basin allowing scientists to describe and compare the influences of these 3 rivers regarding plastic influx to the Mediterranean Sea.

Margaux Gaubert, journalist

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© François Aurat / Tara Ocean Foundation
06/17/19

First samples from the Thames

Tara went to sea to reach the first European river for sampling: the Thames. Jean-François Ghiglione, scientific director of the Microplastics Mission 2019 shares these first impressions, observations and questions.

Tara went to sea to reach the first European river for sampling: the Thames. Jean-François Ghiglione, scientific director of the Microplastics Mission 2019 shares these first impressions, observations and questions.

A thirteenth stroke of midnight was exceptionally struck by the schooner Tara for her departure from Saint Malo. Some faithful friends made the trip in the middle of the night to wish us good luck. We pull our rain gear over our ears and everyone is on deck with a big smile for the start of the Microplastics Mission 2019. We congratulate each other for all the preparatory work it took to launch this new mission. Let’s go hunting for microplastics!

The sea is calm to slightly agitated — ideal conditions for testing the equipment. The dress rehearsal will last two days. Time to create that special link between sailors and scientists; time for everyone to find their bearings. Protocols are discussed, materials are secured, labels are affixed so that the precious samples can then find their way to the 12 partner laboratories.

The famous London smog welcomes us for our first sampling at sea, off the Thames estuary. We are a little tense, afraid to botch this first sampling. The sea has considerable swell, but the crew is experienced in deploying the Manta net we will use to filter microplastics from more than 100,000 liters of water. It will take 2 hours of sampling and 3 hours of processing to finish this first station. But the tide doesn’t wait, and we must leave for the second station in the estuary before we’ve finished the first. Our work day will end at 3 in the morning. We’re not yet broken in!

Sampling stations will follow one another along the Thames. We’ll use a light boat to collect samples below London while the schooner Tara remains moored close to the famous Tower Bridge. Later, all the equipment will be transported ashore by the team to avoid the locks and to complete the sampling above London, which will serve us as a reference to evaluate the effect of this large city on pollution.

Echantillons_mains_Alexandra_Ter_Halle@Noëlie_Pansiot-12 2

Alexandra Ter Halle, scientific on board Tara, studies the first samples of microplastics © Noëlie Pansiot / Tara Ocean Foundation

Under the microscope, microplastics are present. By the hundreds. Many are microbeads used in cosmetics. There are so-called ‘mermaid’s tears’, granules that come directly from plastic manufacturers. There’s much more plastic than what the team usually observes at sea. Fibers from clothing, expanded polystyrene pellets from food trays, pieces of plastic bags. A lollipop stick and some candy packages are the only ‘big’ garbage collected. Microplastics (< 5 mm) make up more than 90% of the harvest. The first observation of this mission: most plastics arriving at sea from the Thames are already in the form of microplastics. Is this an exception or a generality? What about other rivers in Europe? The schooner is already on her way, continuing the journey to answer this question.

 Jean-François Ghiglione

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03/04/19

[Tara in dry dock] 450 SIKAFLEX adhesive cartridges!

Four months after her return from the Tara Pacific expedition, the schooner is getting ready for her next mission thanks …

Four months after her return from the Tara Pacific expedition, the schooner is getting ready for her next mission thanks to the valuable know-how of her sailors and some local businesses. Designed nearly 30 years ago by the architects Olivier Petit and Luc Bouvet, Tara is a unique vessel. Sheltered from bad weather in the west wing of the ship repair area in Keroman in Lorient, the schooner’s maintenance is in progress. Conducted every 3 years, the work includes major renovations and small improvements.

450 Sikaflex cartridges!

The mess room is an essential living space. It is where Tara’s team members work, welcome guests and officials, eat, chat and even dance! During the last transatlantic crossing, the crew noticed several leaks around the Plexiglas panels. The seals had aged, and required repair. First, the mess room was entirely emptied and the panels removed following a well-defined procedure. Then came the famous Sikaflex, an adhesive mastic to be warmed up in a water bath. For the 2 largest panels alone, almost 50 Sikaflex cartridges were used and a total of 450 necessary to complete the entire job.

IMG_2437Application of Sikaflex mastic to ensure the proper sealing of the Plexiglas panels © Lucas Blijdorp / Tara Expeditions Foundation 

As for the Plexiglas panels in the PC-Com area, the first plate of double glazing was cracked and needed replacement. Plexiglass plates are molded then pared down to fit  precise dimensions. Plates are made larger than their final shape. A jigsaw and careful attention are required because the slightest error can cause the Plexiglass panels to crack or melt. A slow cut is made under running water to keep the plates constantly cool. This demands rigorous attention with millimetric precision.

Mess room refurbishment

In the mess room, the headliners – linings inside the hull – damaged from leaks, have been replaced, and new cork flocking was installed to improve insulation. From the icy Arctic Ocean to the warm turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean, the temperature inside the schooner requires regular adjustments. Ensuring thermal and sound insulation is absolutely crucial, so Tara’s crew can enjoy the warmth of the mess room in the Arctic Ocean and its coolness in warmer regions. By the end, the entire mess room will have been refurbished!

Tara_Chantier-3-Keroman-2019_FrançoisAurat-FondationTaraExpeditions.jpg.jpgTara at Keroman dry dock © François Aurat / Tara Expeditions Foundation 

Tara’s masts

Since Tara had to be dismasted, the sailors took the opportunity to perform some checks and repairs on the masts. First step: removing rust from stainless steel parts, such as the guy ropes attached to either side of the mast to stabilize it. A protective acid-based product is then applied before rinsing thoroughly. Strands – cords, twisted together, that make guy ropes – halyards and sails are also inspected. Finally, the mast heads are given a coat of orange paint, Tara’s signature!

Generators, windlass, rudder, etc.

One of Tara’s major ongoing repairs is the replacement of her two generators (GE1 and GE2), located at the front of the vessel. To carry out the necessary work, each generator has to be brought into the rear hold. Very heavy and too large to pass through doorways, the generators and motor are separated to allow their removal from the vessel. This operation is complex because there is no hook on the hold ceiling to fasten a hoist. As a result, the power generators have to be manually extracted and moved with the assistance of a plate.

At the same time the crew overhauls, repairs and replaces many parts of the schooner – the windlass (winch used to let out and pull up the anchor), forestay and backstay (cables that stabilize the masts), wheeling system and rudder.

On the rear deck, a new coat of white anti-skid paint will be applied and the electrical capstans (winches used to roll up or down ropes) are being renovated.

Getting ocean-ready

The maintenance is well under way, but there is still much to do before Tara can set sail again. Crew and volunteers are getting ready to step Tara’s mast by mid-March. The schooner will then leave on a European mission about Microplastics. Scheduled departure in June 2019.

Bon courage to everyone at the Keroman chantier!

 

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© Tara dans la cathedrale de chantier 1 © Lucas Blijdorp Fondation Tara Expeditions
01/11/19

News from Tara… on land !

Tara completed her tour of the Pacific after 29 months of expedition and 100,000 km: the equivalent distance of two …

Tara completed her tour of the Pacific after 29 months of expedition and 100,000 km: the equivalent distance of two and a half times around-the-world. For the sailors, satisfied to have brought Tara back to her home port, and after a short well-deserved break, the work resumed, on dry land this time.

A few days after Tara’s return last October 27, everyone became active on deck and on the ground: Tara left Lorient La Base wharf for the Keroman naval repair area. The schooner was then hoisted out of the water with two large cranes and is now sheltered in the west cathedral of the dry dock site. Until April, the sailors and some outside workers will overhaul the boat to be ready for the European tour scheduled to begin in May 2019.

Prevention and restoration

Tara will undergo two types of maintenance: preventive and restorative. The first is the verification of a large part of the instruments, fins, rudders, generators, main engines, pumps, etc. Everything will be disassembled and some parts replaced if necessary. The restorative maintenance includes partial or complete changing of tools, as well as a “beauty treatment”: painting the deck, cleaning the hull and the submerged parts of the boat for better navigation performance.

P0670067Tara in the west cathedral of the Keroman repair site © François Aurat / Tara Expeditions Foundation

Security and compliance

Registered as a merchant marine vessel, Tara must comply with current international standards. This involves an annual visit including multiple verifications, for example, measurements of hull thickness. To return to sea, it is absolutely necessary for Tara to get a certificate of compliance with the standards of navigation, safety, security, care and protection of sailors aboard.

Volunteer reinforcements

New crew members, volunteers and outside help are expected to arrive in the coming days, a useful and highly anticipated reinforcement. This 5-month overhaul will allow Tara to leave for new adventures safely and comfortably!

Good luck to all at the Lorient Base!

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© Marie-Jose Gruber
11/06/18

Video : 10.27.2018. Tara back from the Pacific expedition

After navigating for 2 and a half years in the Pacific Ocean, where 40% of the planet’s coral reefs are …

After navigating for 2 and a half years in the Pacific Ocean, where 40% of the planet’s coral reefs are found, Tara returned to Lorient, its home port on October 27, 2018. The odyssey #TaraPacific comes to an end, but the scientific mission is only starting now ! To know more about this : oceans.taraexpeditions.org/?p=115283

Directing and editing : © Céline Bellanger / Fondation Tara Expeditions
Drone images : © Muriel Vandenbempt / Fondation Tara Expeditions

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© Céline Bellanger / Tara Expeditions Foundation

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