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Tara in the starting blocks

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Tara in the starting blocks

Tara in the starting blocks

Tara is ready to go back to sea. The rigging was checked thoroughly. Yesterday Samuel Audrain (chief mechanic) and Grant Redvers (expedition leader) dove under the whale’s tummy. Aside from small impacts on the two propellers these are the ice blocks that slid under Tara during the passage of the ice-edge, the hull is intact.
What a ship! After one year and a half of extreme cold, of pressure with incredible power and a titanic wrestle to cross the ice curtain before finding open water, the aluminium hull does not have a single scratch. That is incredible. The whale is nearly twenty years old and without a single wrinkle.

Today, an open door was organised onboard. Announced in the local press, it attracted more than a hundred people. Marion Lauters, Ellie Ga, Audun Tholfsen and I improvised as guides. It was very nice to be able to share what we have experienced. Especially with people who know the cold and ice. We had cleaned and tidied up the boat so that nobody would fall. A boat carries as many traps and obstacles to cross over in order to discover its secrets. Even more so a polar schooner, with ice and snow scattered on the deck. A very pleasant moment in any case. The visitors had shining eyes which pleased us most. Maybe there were among them, the future polar adventurers of tomorrow.

After a week of tidying up and checking the state of Tara, we shall enjoy on Sunday some leisure time in the Spitsbergen : going on a sledge pulled by the dogs and going out on a moto snow outing before leaving the Spitsbergen on Monday afternoon. Farewell Arctic polar circle. Farewell white desert. We shall return toward more tempered climates. Tara will set off to Portsmouth before ending in Lorient one year and a half after her departure and at the end of a drift that is now historic. Kenavo!

Vincent Hilaire   

Tara 2006-2007

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