There has been a sudden change around us last week. Since Cabo Verde, we had lost tracks of the seasons. It was june, hot and sunny: Northern summer. Then it was July, Southern winter in Brazil: hot and sunny again. We sailed down the Brazilian coast in fair breezes, bright days and fresh nights, except[…]
Sonate arrived in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, on the 2nd of July, after 22 days at sea. The tightly crowded winter squalls held the shore hidden from her until the last moment: when the clouds lifted around noon, they revealed the broken high-rise building skyline of the Eastern neighbourhoods of Salvador. Not a tree in[…]
Our boat is usually a wealthy little country: we never lack food, water, electricity, medicine or books. But in Cabo Verde, clean, fresh water is simply not available. It has been nearly three months on the water since we left Marseille, and we are now readying ourselves for the leap across the Atlantic, from Praia, Cabo[…]
A short and unillustrated note about the latest weeks of daydreaming onboard. The unambiguous conclusion: much reflexion is needed about fish. Las Vueltas, Canarias: a large ray lurks on the muddy bottom of the harbour. A row of German holidaymakers, children and unemployed fishermen gesticulate at it from the dock. The beast hovers in a[…]
On April 14th – one month precisely since our departure – Gibraltar is crossed and the Atlantic lies before us. The old sea tried its best to retain us, using the very same tricks that convinced generations of Greek mariners that the world ended between the Pillars of Hercules – the sharp Rock of Gibraltar[…]
Our captain, Marc, and skipper, Flo, have known the sea long and well. But neither me, nor Jean, nor Adrien (who joins us for the first few weeks), have even so little as spent a night on duty out at sea. The first day goes well. As we pass the island of the Frioul, the[…]
Sonate is gone. On the shipyards of l’Estaque, there’s a large empty space, splattered with paint in the shape of a ship.
Although Florian still goes about fixing the position with his sextant and a pencil, such a long cruise is made a little bit easier and safer by a good electronic navigation system – and recording all that data will greatly help for the analysis of biological samples. It is a little bit messier, but far[…]
The Scientific Team
The Norsk Institutt for Vannforskning (Norwegian Institute for Water Research) is the Norwegian leading institution for research on marine and aquatic environments, and focuses on everything from pollutants to climate change.
The Research Centre for Toxic Compounds in the Environment (Recetox), a part of the University of Masaryk (Brno, Czech Republic) is a major European institution for the analysis of persistant organic pollutants in the environment.
The Norsk Institutt for Luftforskning (Norwegian Institute for Air Research) is the Norwegian leading institution for research on the atmosphere – from air composition to climate change and air pollution.
The Alfred Wegener Institute is providing us with underwater autonomous acoustic device to detect and identify whales and dolphins, and measure sound pollution. Sound recordings will be used in both research and concerts.
The Citizen-science Plankton Planet project (founded by CNRS – Tara Oceans members) aims at understanding the biodiversity of plankton through a network of private sailing ships.
The Centre Scientifique de Monaco is specialises in marine biology – in particular coral reef ecosystems, and Antarctic ecosystems.
The Diomedes Project
A Sailboat to monitor the health of the Oceans
The threats to our Oceans are numerous – from overfishing to climate change, through oil drilling and contaminant seep from the lands, and the unseen microscopic garbage drifting all across the sea. To understand these threats, organising official research missions is essential, but it is also long and expensive: there is simply too much ocean to cover for scientific ships alone. Meanwhile, the Oceans are full of independent sailors who explore its most remote corners. Sailing ships are silent and clean: compared to heavy engine-powered oceanographic ships, they have almost no environmental impact. And sailors are an enthusiastic community in love with the Oceans. Every sailor can help understanding the seas. With the help of expert international scientists, we will sail around the world, and test methods to measure chemical pollution, sample microplastic garbage, and measure the abundance of endangered wildlife – such as whales, using underwater sound analysis. Our expedition will show how easy-to-use and low impact methods can be integrated in essential scientific research. Together we will develop easy, plug-and-play methods so that more sailboats can take up the job after us, and contribute in gathering open knowledge about the oceans in the future.
Based in Milano, Italy, Ewol Tech designed a custom-made folding marine stainless steel propeller for La Sonate, which allowed us to gain one full knot of speed by reducing the drag when we are under full sails! This extra speed also allows us to attach more sensors to the outside of the hull and still be able to sail.
Prosensor specialises in data loggers for environmental monitoring. They have supported several research projects in the past, and now they equipped La Sonate with high-tech salinity and water temperature loggers, that will help us understand how contaminants spread in the Oceans.
Viavi is the developer of the MicroNIR near-infrared spectrometer – a revolutionary small instrument that can identify synthetic compounds such as microplastic fragments without the need for a full laboratory. Viavi is lending us one of their new spectrometers for the first months of our expedition !
Chapka Assurances is supporting us with healthcare insurance all over the world during our expedition. Accidents happen easily onboard ships, and could ruin the whole project – we needed an insurance that could help us anywhere from Patagonia to the Arctic..!