Tara has been sailing the Pacific for over one and a half years. As of today, exactly one year of the Tara Pacific expedition remains for the teams of sailors and scientists to accomplish.
Before returning to her homeport in Lorient on October 27, 2018, Tara will navigate the “Coral Triangle”, epicenter of the planet’s marine life biodiversity. Then Tara will rejoin Asia, Hawaii and the west coast of USA, before taking the Panama Canal. Intensive sampling is programmed for this year. Let’s take a short look at some highlights of the Tara Pacific expedition so far.
October 2016 – Papeete – French Polynesia
After leaving Easter Island, the team observed the first effects of climate warming in French Polynesia. CRIOBE had already installed means of surveillance. A strong episode of bleaching was observed on Tuamotu reefs.
Scientists participating in Tara Pacific come from different disciplines, but all are dedicated to studying specific aspects of the reef, a key marine ecosystem for the planet’s equilibrium.
December 2016 – Wallis et Futuna
Continuing their route between the South Pacific reefs, the crew’s observations are not boding well. Warm water masses are continuing to affect the southern reefs that were thought to have been spared.
In Wallis and Futuna, a special mission for the teams: a biodiversity inventory involved researchers, local experts and community leaders of the archipelago. A real dialogue was established between scientists and inhabitants of the islands on Tara’s findings and the treasures of the seabed.
January 2017 – Tuvalu
Continuing the navigation in the Pacific Ocean heading North, Tara makes a stopover in the Tuvalu and discovers an island where the impacts of climate change are very real. During this stopover, the taranauts meet the Prime Minister of this small state, a man who is aware of the countdown that threatens the islands of the archipelago.
February to april 2017 – Japan
Leaving Micronesia and Guam in her wake, Tara reached the Japanese archipelago in February, 2017. Tara spent a total of nearly 3 months in Japan, highlighted by the presence of artist-in-residence, Maki Ohkojima.
Always well received by local populations, Tara welcomes aboard the young public for many visits during stopovers. And of course Junior Taranauts faithfully follow the schooner from their classrooms, especially in France, corresponding each month with the sailors. Today about 60 classes are following Tara’s journey.
June 2017 – Fidji
In June 2017, the longest crossing of the expedition took place: 31 days at sea between Japan and the Fiji Islands.
July 2017 – Auckland – New Zealand
The Taranauts commemorated the schooner’s origins: With the mid-term maintenance in the Whangarei shipyards, Tara (formerly the Seamaster) has returned for the first time since 2001 to New Zealand, the country of her former owner, Sir Peter Blake.
After a rough navigation, Tara and its crew reach Australia and the Great Barrier Reef : a crucial place to continue coral sampling. The largest coral reef in the world offers scientists mixed observations.
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