TARA crew members blissfully met with Veolia employees and aspiring local school children on board during their stay in Hong Kong. They have come a long way to tell some sustainability challenges our oceans are confronting and the urgency to get involved in conserving and preserving precious water and marine resources. Everyone was thrilled to get on the schooner and enthusiastic students particularly excited to be part of the TARA Science Education Outreach Program designed to interest and engage them in a series of science activities. Also, boat crews unveiled their adventurous life working and living on a floating laboratory, opening up to our visitors their unforgettable moments on the ship. Visitors could imagine themselves being one of the boat crews as they explored the ship deck, walkways, cabins and corridors. A life at sea was both challenging and meaningful!
Sailing to the Hong Kong harbour for the first time, Taranauts had not forgotten their important mission - to collect samples of coral reefs in the city. The crews headed out to waters near the Crescent Island, northeast of Hong Kong and the Lamma Island, west of the city, for coral and plankton samples. One of the expedition’s objectives was to study the impacts of global warming and pollution on marine lives in waters in Asia and their change of behavior in order to adapt to new habitat conditions. Last but not least, Taranauts were able to take advantage of their stopover to participate in a beach cleanup campaign organized by the local French community.
TARA is currently in Shanghai, its last stopover in China, and will stay till 29 April before sailing back to its base in France. During its stay, it would attend a conference on health and the environment, in collaboration with the Rui Jun Hospital and the Jiao Tong University. It was hoped that long term partnerships with Chinese researchers could be established.
The French NGO Tara Expeditions has been studying the impact of climate change on the oceans since 2003. In the Tara Pacific expedition, they would examine the biodiversity of coral reefs and their evolution in response to climate change and human activities.