Budding sailors at Tara’s departure

© Maeva Bardy - Fondation Tara Expéditions

Classes of all levels came aboard the research vessel during the 2 days preceding departure. Young people and their teachers from Lorient, Venus de Vannes, Pontivy, Lanester and even Rennes got a guided tour before Tara left Lorient for the 2½ year expedition.

Members of the educational team — Benedicte Durand-Mennesson, Caroline Proux, Jean-Baptiste Favier and Xavier Bougeard — welcomed each class aboard. Divided into 2 groups, the young people were able to experience the special atmosphere of the schooner during the last moments before the  beginning of a scientific expedition. Everywhere sailors and scientists were busy finalizing preparations: setting the mass spectrometer, loading food supplies, verifying the electrical system at the top of the mast, adjusting the satellite dish, etc. The boat was swarming with activity: the kids had to step over boxes, and be careful not to interfere with the crew’s work.

For the educational outreach team, these visits were actually an opportunity to talk with the scientists and sailors about their work, to ask them if they would be departing on Saturday (and if not, where they would eventually join up with the boat), and get them to tell about their previous experiences aboard Tara. These exchanges made the visits especially lively and rewarding for the young people.

Students learn about daily life on board, and are always surprised to hear that access to the internet is very limited. Hard to imagine living without access to their favorite sites! Another surprise is the tightness of the space: cabins seem very small and bunks very narrow.  Everybody loves to climb up onto the deck using the ladder in the front hold.


© Maeva Bardy – Tara Expeditions Foundation

The young people also learn some sailing vocabulary: boom, mainsail, line, hawser, etc.  Sitting beneath the foremast, they get acquainted with the basics of sailing. They also cross the back deck and pass through a corridor where 2 laboratories are set up: a wet lab for filtering plankton, and a dry lab with devices used to analyze seawater and its contents. These devices operate continuously to collect data about the surrounding seawater.

All these ingredients combine to make the visit a memorable moment that we hope will inspire professional vocations and stimulate interest and awareness about the protection of the marine environment so vital to us all.

In addition to these visits, students from Châteaubriand High School in Rennes came to present to the Tara Expeditions team their projects concerning the oceans accomplished during the year.

In a classroom kindly provided by the Anita Conti Junior High School, we listened to their presentations and we were able to discuss and correct certain points. The work was presented in the form of a slide show, and demonstrated the students’ enormous curiosity, stimulated by the exploration of a beach and their visit to the Roscoff Marine Station.

Tara’s departure on Saturday was celebrated with beautiful weather and a festive, joyful atmosphere:  sailors, scientists and the general public were able to meet before seeing the schooner’s silhouette disappear on the horizon.


© Maeva Bardy – Tara Expeditions Foundation


Xavier Bougeard
Responsible for educational outreach – Tara Expeditions Foundation


Other articles :

- Young reporters
- High school students meet Tara scientists
- Tara Pacific’s first moments