As a nod to the departure of the expedition from Seville almost two years ago, it is again at night that The Ocean Mapping Expedition departs for the second half of its journey around the world. Around 2 AM the night between 27 and 28 March 2017 to take advantage of the down tide of the Brisbane River. The lights of the towers of the business district and those of Story Bridge under which Fleur de Passion passes one last time, then those of all the urban and industrial areas, then the port, lined the shores towards the mouth of the river and the Moreton Bay, gave the impression of a multicolored party to this new departure filled with emotion.
On board, a new crew: Pietro, Yffic, Candy and Péré, who will lead the sailboat to Cairns by the end of May. New passengers for a few days or weeks: Laurence, Serge, Hugo and Linzi. A master diver, Christian. A cameraman, Gabriel. And an eighth draftsman of the program In Magellan’s Mirror, Pierre. Some of them come from Switzerland or Spain, others from Australia or living in Brisbane in this joyful blend which is also the spirit of the expedition.
In the early hours of Tuesday, in clear weather and a more than calm sea, the expedition made a first stop at Stradbroke Island for the launch of a new program in partnership with CoralWatch (see associated News). That was a deceptive calm. Because initially planned to last only one and a half days, this anchorage had to extend to the end of the week or even beyond, as the weather improved in the north and the cyclone Debbie faded after dramatically striking the coasts of Queensland in the Mackay and Townsville area.
Have a - picturesque and spectacular - look at the maintenance work currently being done on the hull of Fleur de Passion at The Yard shipyard, on the Brisbane River. The boat was lifted out of the water on 5 March 2017 and will return to her natural environment on 14 March after the work has been completed by a team of dedicated specialists who came specially from Europe, as they’ve working on the boat so often and know her by heart.
Let's not be afraid of this paradox, it is now summer in Australia, and it is very hot in Brisbane, the capital of Queensland. However, this is the period when Fleur de Passion "hibernates", as it was completely unrigged and prepared for the shipyard in the region where it will receive its annual maintenance in a few weeks time. The sailboat will then come out of the water - for the first time since its departure of Seville in April 2015, that is to say nineteen months ago - thanks to a crane of a certain size to hoist its 100 tons dry. But for now, it is the occasion of some unusual photos of Fleur de Passion with bare poles at wharf A in Rivergate Marina, downstream of the city.