Marine wanderer returns to Auckland
A piece of New Zealand sailing history returned to Auckland on Saturday when Sir Peter Blake’s former vessel Tara tied up in Auckland Harbour.
It is the first time the 36-metre schooner has returned to the country since Blake’s death aboard in 2001.
Pirates stormed the vessel, then named Seamaster, while it lay anchored at the mouth of the Amazon River and shot the 53-year-old.
Sir Peter and his crew had started a five-year journey on Seamaster as part of Blake Expeditions. His mission was to visit ecologically sensitive parts of the planet ‘‘to make a difference’’ with a focus on water.
Blake’s boat was renamed Tara after his death, and since, Tara Expeditions have continued and expanded on his programme of ocean research and education.
Since, 2003 the schooner has travelled 350,000 kilometres across the world’s oceans. It has completed 10 expeditions to study and understand the impacts of climate and ecological changes on the ocean.
Now a French vessel, Tara is halfway through a two-year oceanographic voyage studying coral reefs in the Pacific Ocean.
It planned to put in to Whangarei for a refit during the expedition and thanks partly to councillor Wayne Walker a stop at Auckland was arranged.
Walker attended the Paris Climate talks in 2015 and spotted the Tara moored on the Seine with an exhibition attached to it.
He spoke to Tara Foundation Executive Director, Romain Trouble, who told him of the Whangarei refit and Walker said they should bring the exhibition to Auckland and helped organise it with the council.
From July 2 to 9 people can explore the legendary schooner and talk to the crew about the science and life on board. and checkout a photo and video exhibition.
‘‘The crew will be showing visitors around on deck tours, and there’ll be an exhibition on the dock telling the story of Tara and our mission, including footage of Peter and Seamaster,’’ Trouble said.
Walker said the timing is perfect because of New Zealand’s Americas’s Cup win.
‘‘So on the Thursday when they have the parade the Team New Zealand crew will actually be on Tara as part of their celebration,’’ he said.
Tara Foundation executive director Romain Trouble with councillor Wayne Walker in Paris.