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New route for Tara

Etienne Bourgois (President of Tara Foundation) and Eric Karsenti (Research Director at CNRS, and Senior Scientist at EMBL), in agreement with scientific coordinators of the expedition, have decided to modify the Tara Oceans route.
The schooner Tara departed from Lorient on September 5, 2009 and has already travelled 40,000 nautical miles, from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, through the Indian Ocean and the Pacific.
This decision was made by the expedition’s two co-directors because of the present crisis taking place in Japan. Originally Tara was supposed to spend four and a half months in Asia, in particular in the Sea of Japan and surrounding regions. Tokyo was even considered a vital stopover.
At present there is an on-site risk, even if it is difficult to evaluate precisely right now. But for Tara, the decision had to be made rapidly since official requests to sample in territorial waters must be submitted one year in advance.On a global scale, it appears very difficult to evaluate the environmental consequences of this unprecedented catastrophe. It is possible that the dispersion of radioactive products will have an important impact in the Pacific Ocean.
In the coming months, Tara will continue her voyage towards Papeete as planned, sailing to the Galapagos, the Gambier Island coral reefs, and the Marquesas Islands. After Tahiti, the boat will head for Hawaii, traversing the North Pacific “plastic continent”, and will stop over in San Diego (California). She will then pass through the Panama Canal at Christmas and cross the Atlantic, with a planned arrival at Lorient in March 2012. This means an additional 20,000 miles for the schooner, and another 100 scientific stations planned in the program.
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