Our voyage from New Zealand to Pierre I Island, Antarctica, and Cape Horn lasted two months. That is a long time to sail through hostile waters in total autonomy, and we prepared for it meticulously. The Fleur Australe was designed and built for this type of journey. We owe our success to every aspect of the design, construction, and preparation of our boat. We understood the risks of such an enterprise and knowingly assumed them. In an operation such as this, success doesn’t just happen. Experience, forethought, and diligence are key.
We were supported in this enterprise by two sponsors: GDF SUEZ and Fleury Michon. Without them, this expedition could not have taken place, and we are very grateful for their support. We believe we have shown ourselves worthy of representing these two companies, who understand that accomplishing great things requires true commitment.
We went in search of nature at her most powerful. We sought to convey a message of hope and the importance of preserving our planet. Antarctica is a symbol of peaceful cooperation among the peoples of the Earth, united around a common conviction. A continent that belongs to no one or, even better, that belongs to everyone. The Antarctic Treaty freezes territorial claims and the exploitation of resources. GDF SUEZ and Fleury Michon promote these values, of respect for nature and the environment. They joined our project because they understand what’s at stake for the future in a rapidly developing world where respect for the environment is crucial.
Our journey sought to communicate not only the wonder, adventure, and emotion of our planet, but also its fragility. Nature, which existed before us, deserves our utmost respect and humility. Antarctica, a region explored and conquered just one century ago, must be seen as the hallmark of efforts to preserve our planet. All who journey across the upper latitudes return filled with respect and awe. We have tried to share our impressions of this icy, windswept continent with images that reflect its beauty and power. It is our hope that our journey and our message will reach across all borders and unite people in a common message of hope. In Argentina, the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags is now banned. Everywhere we have traveled, we have seen that small actions such as these translate into big advances toward a more respectful relationship with nature.
The Fleur Australe went in search of the ancient ice adrift in the southern seas. The whales that are repopulating the bays of the Antarctic Peninsula came out to greet us, expressing their joy at being able to swim about in freedom. Seals are no longer hunted for their fat and skin. Many battles remain to be fought if we are to save the albatross from the fisherman’s hook, and the whale from the Japanese harpoon. We have seen too much beauty to remain insensitive to the current struggle.
The Fleur Australe expresses its appreciation to all who have followed our journey. We share with you our pride in having traveled to one of the harshest and most beautiful places in the world.