In August, the travel to the Azores was enabled if a person showed two negative covid tests 6 days apart. Arnaud seizes the opportunity to join the Atlas. The boat has been dry in the port of Praia da Vitoria since last winter. With the progress of the project it seems urgent to start preparing the boat.
The project is then to convoy the boat to Saint-Malo in France and to carry out the various necessary works there. A crew made up of two young speleologists and friends of the captain volunteered. They were ready for 10 days Atlantic crossing to France and planned their arrival for the end of August.
Upon arrival onboard, the captain has worked hard to achieve the regular maintenance in time. The preparation of the boat for this season covered: running riging, engine service, changing the alternator and water pump belts, painting spots on the hull, refitting saewater/bilge valves… Thanks to the help of Matthew he was able to be on schedule and the boat is launched on August 24th!
Volcanic islands cruising and cave explorations
Leo and Oriane, two rugged cavers from Switzerland also arrived on time. But the weather was not the best for a North Alantic crossing at the time. Arnaud decided to take them for a venture to his favourite spots in the Azores archipelago. The islands of Terceira, Sao Jorge, Faial and Pico are in sight!
Going at sea requires desicions to be taken accordignly to the sea, boat and crew conditions! Staying in the Azores was certainly the best thing to do! It was a fantastic time to explore the islands and a great opportunity to train the crew for a big crosssing at another time!
A new crew joins the Atlas with Chicha!
A new crew is coming, and they have arranged to bring the captain’s cat with them! This is a relief for Arnaud who prefers to have her 2nd mate with him. « It is much safer that way! » he says. Chicha is a renown explorer that has sailed since her first months of life! Her experiece at sea covers the waters of the Netherlands, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Portugal and the Azores! She is an essential crew member.
Sail the Atlas & prepare the Glacialis expedition!
Our friends are following the adventure closely and Albert, who has sailed and worked on ATLAS at several occasions volunteered to join the boat together with Glacialis Expedition leader Virginie Wyss! This appears to be a great opportunity for the team to build up sea time together. Also it allows proof testing the vessel for Virginie’s scientific protocols needs.
Mid september, the covid crisis had streghtened on the continent and France is under strict confinment… To ensure an early departure on a direct route to Greenland next year, the captain takes the decision to stay in the Azores over the winter. Though a little more challenging, the preparation of the boat will also be possible on these remote islands!
Also, staying in the Azores is simply feels very right. There is so much beauty out here.
Once again the Atlas sets course for the central group. This time, marine mammal specialist Virginie sets up her observation protocols and the crew quickly gets into the game! A constant 360° watch is kept at all times in the hope of spotting as many marine animals as possible! It was between Horta and Lajes do Pico that we had the most luck. See the article on the Sei whale encounter! The observations recorded during these days are visible on our map!
Glacialis expedition sets its floating office in Santa Maria!
After 12 days of fantastic venture, we let Albert off in Terceira on October 4th and immediately set off again for the island of Santa Maria! It was worth taking advantage of favourable winds for this little crossing of 30 hours!
We have heard that whale sharks have been regularly observed around this little islans this summer and we hope to get there in time to see them!
Santa Maria is home to a marine fauna that is particularly rich for the Azores, thanks to the conservation policies that are pretty good there. It is certainly also beacause of the warmer currents that run through its special underwater relief!
With the help of our Canadian Friend, Mathew Ryle, we are working hard to set up a new folio, prepare newsletters, finish a grant application and think about the improvement and potential funding that Atlas still needs.
Numerous equipment manufacturers are being contacted with a view to sponsoring. The feedback is enthusiastic and several companies are now committed to the project! Among them Polar, In’ Bô, Secumar, Superwind, Peli Cases have already promised to supply their products for the expedition!