Wednesday night was a rough one. The wind was blowing a mighty 30 knots and Tara was reaching 11 knots of speed, not bad for an old sailboat! The following morning you could tell by the faces that most of us didn’t have a good sleep. On Thursday we didn’t t take any measurements because the sea was still too rough and such conditions could damage the plankton nets. By the evening the sky had cleared an during our high watch we saw an amazing and huge half moon rise, the biggest I’ve ever seen! The stargazing was jaw-dropping as well, with the milky way looking closer than ever. There are definitely some perks at being on night watch.
Today, Friday, the conditions have stabilised, so it’s not as rough as yesterday, although we have head winds so we are motoring and have taken the sails down. In the morning we deployed the plankton nets and helped with all the filtrations and gathering of samples. We are now pretty familiar with the procedure an it feels good to know what to do and how to do the filtrations correctly. Once again, we gathered samples of RNA, viruses, phytoplankton, zooplankton and various other fixations for later analysis. Once we finished, two pods of dolphins came to greet us, almost as a welcome to New Zealand’s EEZ, which we entered over night. Tomorrow we will arrive in Whangarei.
Excitement is growing amongst the crew as we are getting closer to land. Most of the team will leave to go back to France, and some of them are looking forward to it after 4months at sea. We have mixed feelings, It will be nice to Stand on solid ground again, by we really feel like we have become part of the crew now, so it is a bit sad that our trip is coming to an end.Nevertheless, this expedition has been amazing so far, and we have learned so many things about the research that is happening on Tara and about life on board. We also feel like we can understand French a bit better, after listening to it for a week, basically a fast-speed course. It has also been great to hear the stories of all the people on board, where they come from and how they got on Tara. It has definitely been an unforgettable experience for both of us!
BLAKE Tara Ambassador 2017