illuminated blue, the schooner Tara and 36 meters long sparkles in the night, as she slowly crosses the latest cables that separate the platform where hundreds of Lorient ahead.
The massive aluminum hull sailboat slowly approaches the cheers and the sound of a brass band, the “Pétarade Brest”, came for the occasion. Mission accomplished for the two French oceanographic masts after seven months skim ice and thousands of samples to study the Arctic biodiversity. Eliane came with his little two year old son Ewen, wrapped in a big scarf to “see the boat, because it really worth it.” “It interests me greatly, I just whenever Tara hand or returns. For me it is a real adventure,” says Marie-Hélène, a Lorientaise adoption. It’s cold in early December in Lorient. Nothing to do but with polar temperatures (up to -8 ° C in summer in the Canadian Arctic) braved the team for seven months sailing around the Arctic. The expedition was part of Lorient, home port, May 19 In total, the mission “Tara Oceans Polar Circle” has done 25,000 km around the North Pole through the passages of the East (Siberia) and the Northwest Territories (Canada) and collected 5,000 samples of plankton at 55 stations scientists. Fifty-seven people took turns on the boat, 17 sailors and forty scientists. Why deal with the ice and sometimes extreme sailing conditions, which required at times the presence of an icebreaker? Eric Karsenti, the scientific director of the mission, answered in one word: “explain”. “We must explain to the public what the issues are around the oceans,” he said, adding: “What we are trying to explain is the role of ocean life in regulating the climate.” At his side, Etienne Bourgois, President of Tara shipping, which launched the adventure of Tara there 10 years, explains his approach: “It was working with scientists and provide educational tools for understanding (the consequences of global warming, ed.) And to anticipate because they are the men who will toast in a few years. ” The main sponsor of the operation, the designer Agnès B., also the mother of Etienne Bourgois, hit hard Saturday night by throwing the microphone from the deck of the boat: “Children, ecology is very important you know! “Arrival in the Arctic Mission Lorient ended a chapter in the adventure of Tara. Since 2009, the schooner scoured all the world’s oceans, traveled approximately 150,000 kilometers and collected 35,000 samples to better study the biosphere and understanding of climate change. Saturday night, ending its mission “Polar Circle”, Tara also celebrated its 10th anniversary. The anniversary was duly celebrated with mulled wine, always the sound of the band. However the work of scientists do not stop there. Thousands of marine microorganisms collected will be analyzed but the results will be available in many months, even years. “Analyzing the data, it will take a few years but it will be arguments against the climate skeptics,” says Eric Karsenti. “For us it is just beginning”, for its part launched Etienne Bourgois. In 2014, Tara join warmer latitudes with a tour of the Mediterranean, in preparation. The aim is to “work with local scientists and discuss this sea which is under pressure and knows the problems of pollution,” said Etienne Bourgois. (Belga)