Tara Pacific: 100 first days of expedition

© Romain Troublé / Fondation Tara Expéditions

On this very day 10 years ago, Tara started her Arctic drift, locked in the pack ice. Happy coincidence, Tara also celebrates the 100th day of the Tara Pacific expedition. The polar schooner pursues her route towards the warm waters of the southern seas and their coral reefs.

On May 28, Tara departed from her home port to begin her 11th expedition and sail across the planet’s largest ocean to investigate coral reef biodiversity in an unprecedented way and to better understand its evolution in response to climate change. One hundred days later, she is now anchored in Rapa Nui (Easter Island – Chile), one of the most remote inhabited lands in the world, famous for its mythical granite giants. An opportunity to step back and review the images and videos of the defining moments of the first 100 days of the Tara Pacific expedition.


Departure of the expédition from Lorient on may 28

Tara left Lorient, her home port, under the fervent acclamations of the audience after a day of celebration dedicated to coral and Pacific cultures.


The Atlantic Ocean crossing

On her route towards the Pacific Ocean, Tara’s Atlantic crossing lasted 30 days. It was an opportunity for the scientists on board: the early days of navigation were used to complete the huge plankton database established during the Tara Oceans expedition, and to test the aerosol sampling protocol at the ocean surface.

A transatlantic during which sailors ensured the smooth running of the schooner. Their daily life was punctuated by wheelhouse watches where they took turns day and night.


Stopover in Miami from June 28 to July 5

Miami was the first port of call after Tara’s departure from Lorient – a logistical stopover to supplement food supplies and refuel before transiting the Panama Canal to the Pacific Ocean. Tara’s crew also took advantage of this 6 day-stopover to raise awareness with on-board visits from the general public, as well as discussions with scientists and the media. Together with its scientific goals, the Tara Expeditions Foundation also advocates a long-term plan to encourage decision makers to find solutions to preserve the Ocean. This port of call was an opportunity to bring together many players and stakeholders during conferences, including Thomas Gass, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations.


Passage of the Panama canal

On July 15, Tara transited the legendary Panama Canal to reach the Pacific Ocean where the first coral samplings of the expedition were taken. Captain Samuel Audrain followed the instructions given by a pilot embarked aboard the schooner for the duration of the canal crossing. On deck, the entire crew was mobilized to help pass through a series of locks designed to reach the highest point of the canal, located 20 meters above sea level – a symbolic passage for a sailor.


First coral samples

Pearl Islands and Coiba (Panama) were the first 2 sampling sites of the Tara Pacific expedition. The dive team collected a total of 1225 samples from 145 coral colonies and 42 fish. Between dives, photographic surveys, coral and surrounding water sampling and specimen processing: discover the first moments of the expedition in the Pacific Ocean.


Malpelo Island (Colombia)

From August 2 to 9, the Tara team experienced a special break in their long quest of coral and lent a helping hand to the Malpelo Foundation to study one of the Pacific giants: the whale shark.


Crossing the equator

On Thursday, August 18, 2016 at 2 pm UTC, Tara crossed for the 9th time in her existence the mythical equator. A crossing into the other hemisphere which sailors traditionally use to baptize neophytes in a rite of passage.


Follow Tara’s route live


Tara back in Rapa Nui

The schooner and her crew finally arrived on Wednesday, August 31 in Easter Island for a 1-week stopover. The sightseeing of the Moais, gigantic granite monoliths, was brief as the agenda for this port of call was extensive. Between welcoming newcomers, dives to sample corals and visits on board (organized in partnership with a local NGO, Rapa Nui Ocean), the crew was busy during Tara’s second visit on Rapa Nui.