The Fleur Australe has reached the little port at Piriapolis, Uruguay, a small coastal town a few kilometers from Punta Del Este and 60 km from Montevideo. It has been hauled out for a good rest after our long expedition through the southern seas. The boat met all of the demands of this challenging journey. The hull withstood collisions with the ice, and the mechanics of the boat functioned perfectly. The only problems we encountered had to do with the water, which froze in the tanks, one of the heaters, which stopped working, and some minor tears in the sails. The success of such an expedition depends on having a boat you can rely on, and the ability and materials to make repairs. In this regard, the Fleur Australe was well designed and well equipped.
We had some encounters with icebergs and the ice pack, and suffered some gale-force winds, but we were always in control of the situation. The crew also held up well under difficult conditions. The southern seas and Antarctica are not easy turfs open to all comers. There are risks, but when they are kept under control, the journey takes on a dimension unlike any other.
Throughout our journey, we collected samples for Ifremer, which will be used to corroborate the temperature and salinity readings recorded by the boat’s sensors. We also sent readings each day to Météo-France. These will be used to assist with weather forecasting. Information from such remote areas is scarce, therefore of all the greater interest to scientists.
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