In late September 2016, the expedition is in the archipelago of Vava'u in Tonga. Fleur de Passion anchors in various spots among the different islands available to the crew, while they continue to register underwater sounds and to take samples of surface water as part of two science programs.
The stopover in Apia, the capital of Samoa, earlier in September enabled for a visit on board of scientists of the Oceanic Regional Environment Programme (Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme), invited by the Honorary consul of Switzerland on the island.
Three new crew members joined the boat in Apia: two passengers, Laure and Philippe, and a fourth youth from the socio-educational program Youth at Sea.
First nights at sea and last moorings for the crew of Fleur de Passion before continuing into the Pacific crossing, as reflected in the logbook.
Moorea - Huahine
After a first anchorage at Cook Bay on Moorea just after leaving Tahiti, Friday 2 September 2016, a first night at sea in direction to Huahine is proving challenging for the entire crew. The night is beautiful, the wind in good range. The watches are set for the coming days. But soon, the team members feel the lack of point of reference and a long night of suffering begins for the six newcomers, victims of seasickness requiring attention at all times from the rest of the crew. As a result, the night is short for everyone!
Huahine - Bora Bora
We arrived Saturday 3 September 3 around 14:00 hrs in Huahine. After two mooring changes, we are able to visit the town. The following night is calm and soothing and sailing towards Raiatea and then Tahaa, the next day, much better tolerated by all. We enter the shimmering lagoon of Raiatea which amazes us. It is absolutely gorgeous.
Bora Bora is off in the distance, we'll get there sailing at nightfall with a beautiful sunset for an entry in the night passes. At 21:00 hrs on the dot wee anchored in thirty meters deep in a place spared from the wind gusts. The night is mild and restorative before the real start to the second part of the Pacific crossing.
Monday 5 September, the last postcards are sent, a little bit of the blues hits the younger crowd after a final contact with Switzerland and their relatives for the next several days. At 15:00 hrs, we weighed anchor. The first crossing to Rarotonga ahead in ideal weather. Force 4-5 SE veering NE-N before a depression with strong South swell that we will spend at the port of Avatiu. We have 600 miles to go in four days. "Nana," goodbye in Tahitian.
The Ocean Mapping Expedition returned to Tahiti in mid-August after Fleur de Passion sailed to the Tuamotu Archipelago, northeast of French Polynesia. This trip was a perfect opportunity for some families that travelled from Switzerland, to join the adventure and share the spirit of this unique expedition.
The Expedition has now spent almost three months in the region - first in the Austral Islands (Rurutu and Tubuai), then Bora Bora and finally in the Tuamotus. This navigation allowed to collect new surface water samples and sound recordings in the framework of Micromégas programs on plastic pollution and picking 20,000 sounds beneath the sea of ocean noise pollution. It is now time to gradually prepare to carry on with the Pacific crossing, beginning early September. The two young interns, Aiman and William, returned to Geneva after two months on board and will be replaced by a group of teenagers through the socio-educational program “Youth at Sea” in partnership with the Pacific Association. And a seventh designer, Ambroise Héritier from the Valais region in Switzerland, will take over from Isabelle Pralong.