Welcome to Tara
Emily and I were greeted by Captain Martin at Balboa Yacht Club and boarded Tara on the 2nd of September. In complete awe of the ship, we met the seven remaining crew members with kisses. Nico showed Emily and I to our cabin, which once belonged to Sir Peter Blake. Walking past his portrait hanging outside is a very special feeling, a humbling reminder of our purpose onboard and the incredible opportunity we have been given.
We left the marina to fuel up from a tanker, steaming past pelicans and fishing boats crammed with waving locals along the way. Afterwards, we anchored off a small island to wait on standby for entry through the Panama Canal. The crew quickly got to work preparing the ship and the scientific research equipment for the voyage ahead. A huge storm brewed off the coast with strikes of lightning illuminating the sky and giving us glimpses far off into the Pacific. As night fell, we watched a meter-long barracuda lazily linger by the back of the boat, joined by an even larger mysterious shape, thought to be a shark. Naturally, we jumped off the boat and into the water. The horizon flickered with lights from tall Panamanain skyscrapers as well as gigantic cruise liners and cargo ships awaiting passage through the canal. The water itself lit up with bioluminescent plankton as we swam around the boat. Bats darted around our heads as the lightning grew closer. My imagination would never be capable of creating such a scene!!
Francois and I got out the fishing rod, dreaming of a big catch, but the fish just laughed as they jumped all around us. Next time they won’t be so lucky. After retreating to my bunk, I fell asleep to the laughter and chatter of my new crewmates on the deck above. Exhausted yet content, the first day of our adventure was complete. Absolutely magic. Welcome to Tara.