Tara’s Journal – Tara, Sea, Bears and Little Paper Boats

© A.Deniaud/Tara Expéditions

Taking inspiration from the expedition that took the Tara to the Mediterranean Sea, and the children’s book The Rainbow Fish, sixteen budding artists in the little school of Kernascléden (Brittany) put together a special animated film. Tara Expedition News looks back at a wonderful collaboration between a Breton school and the schooner Tara.


Back to School 2014

The single class school of Kermathias in the Breton village of Kernascléden got involved in the Tara Mediterranean expedition thanks to their new teacher Aurore Guigny. To get an idea of the many miles already covered by the scientific schooner, the pupils made a close study of the ship’s log.

Older pupils read the log and then wrote simplified summaries for the younger ones who were barely 5 years old! “Tara went searching for plastic and also microplastics, and she found a lot. Animals eat the microplastics because they are tiny, and this is bad for them.” In his own words Esteban summarizes in a single sentence one of the major goals of the Tara Mediterranean scientific expedition: “hunting for plastic pollution.”

And to get the most out of the experience, the young teacher used Internet videos to bring her pupils closer to the scientists and sailors aboard the Tara. “By following the Tara’s adventure the children acquired knowledge about the sea, an environment they know little about because they live in the centre of Brittany far from the coast,” explains the teacher. Through articles, photos and videos the children of Kernascléden developed a passion for the marine environment and, in particular, plankton. “I didn’t know plankton lit up at night, it must be beautiful to see for real,” enthuses 6 year old Youen, a pupil at the school. Once again the Tara’s presence in school leaves a raft of new-found vocations in her wake: “I want to be a scientist and study plankton,” confides Jonathan. Esteban is going to be a sailor, and that’s that!


After a seven-month expedition in the Mediterranean Sea the Tara returned to Lorient. But for the little school of Kernascléden the adventure continues. Hungry to learn more, the young mariners decided to follow the Tara’s past expeditions Tara Oceans and Tara Oceans Polar Circle. Once a week, while the younger ones are resting, the older pupils discuss the schooner’s other trips across the world’s seas. “Why does ice thaw?” … “What are icebergs?” … “Why didn’t the ice break the Tara into pieces?” They ask questions and look for answers in books and especially on the Internet. And they dream too. “I would have loved to have seen the bears, because they are beautiful,” beams 7 year old Tifenn. After sailing across the world’s oceans, without ever leaving terra firma, the pupils have only wish: to step aboard the Tara! Unfortunately the schooner is undergoing works and will be closed to the public over the winter. They will have to be patient… As a consolation Marion Lauters, cook on the Tara, paid them a visit. It was a memorable event and the pupils discovered some secrets about the schooner. Sh…


Five paper boats, including an orange one. © A.Deniaud/ Tara Expéditions


Why don’t we make an animated film about the sea? Aurore, the teacher, floats the idea. Everyone agrees it would be a good idea to do a film about the Tara combined with one of their favourite stories: The Rainbow Fish by Swiss author Marcus Pfister. The film’s background is laid out on a low table. A piece of blue fabric represents the rolling sea. A red and white lighthouse is made from cardboard. A few houses. Five paper boats, including an orange one, the Tara. Behind the camera and stationed around the background, the children work together to bring their story alive, frame by frame. They use a simple mobile phone to record the voice-over. “Me, I made Tara and I know the text by heart,” says Eurydice proudly (she’s still at nursery level and hasn’t started learning to read yet). Poetic it may be, but the story finishes on an environmental note: “Take care of the Earth, the prettiest planet!

JUNE 2015

At last, it’s time for the young artists to set out for the Breton port of Lorient to meet their favourite boat of all: Tara. ¬



An animated film by the children of Kermathias School in Kernascléden:

“We spent the entire year working on the adventures of the Tara, expedition schooner based in the Breton port of Lorient. We invented a story which focused on the early years of the boat and how she didn’t want to share things that were beautiful. We took more than 600 photos to make the film.“

- Étienne Bourgois: “Tara Expeditions is also the Science of Sharing!”