What a pleasure to borrow with this beautiful schooner the North Pass of the Grand Récif of Tulear some 40 years after my first stay here as a young student of the Marine Station of Marseille, flying for the first time in her life! And spinning good wind with Antsiva, first to Europa, then to Bassas.
Theconfidence is established very quickly, because how not to be in awe of the address of the crew as they approach the islands? The children themselves participate in life on board, and with what address Lou and Rafael we piloted on the schedule!
For me, it is a first to sail on such a beautiful boat, all sails out ... Flexibility of the navigation, effectiveness of anchorages, kindness of hosts, excellence of the kitchen, super friendly atmosphere of our multidisciplinary group, all this will remain a unforgettable memory.
Here we are back in Tulear. Our mission has been fruitful on a scientific level. Sergei and I, in a week, harvested from Europa about 100 samples that we mostly sorted with binocular loupes installed in the kitchen of Camps Weather, which served as a laboratory.
This allows us to double the number of hydraire species already listed on Europa (65 species). Since there are still many areas of the island to study, we can make the assumption that Europa has a great specific wealth, comparable to that of the Juan de Nova and Glorious Islands that we have already studied. In addition, we have an overview of the distribution of species in the environment. The animals of the intertidal zone, the one that emerges at low tide and that we have explored, support very variable environmental conditions (temperature, light, currents), unlike those found more deeply, where the conditions are more stable. .
Bassas da India had never been studied before! Hence the pioneering joy that invaded me when I set foot at low tide on this fossil coral ring that is totally submerged at high tide. What a pity that Chloé Bourmaud, my colleague and friend, was not there to share this impression with me ... Fortunately there was Sergei! And on each of the areas explored, myopic eyes were excellent to detect small colonies fixed on the bottom or small algae!