As a nod to the departure of the expedition from Seville almost two years ago, it is again at night that The Ocean Mapping Expedition departs for the second half of its journey around the world. Around 2 AM the night between 27 and 28 March 2017 to take advantage of the down tide of the Brisbane River. The lights of the towers of the business district and those of Story Bridge under which Fleur de Passion passes one last time, then those of all the urban and industrial areas, then the port, lined the shores towards the mouth of the river and the Moreton Bay, gave the impression of a multicolored party to this new departure filled with emotion.
On board, a new crew: Pietro, Yffic, Candy and Péré, who will lead the sailboat to Cairns by the end of May. New passengers for a few days or weeks: Laurence, Serge, Hugo and Linzi. A master diver, Christian. A cameraman, Gabriel. And an eighth draftsman of the program In Magellan’s Mirror, Pierre. Some of them come from Switzerland or Spain, others from Australia or living in Brisbane in this joyful blend which is also the spirit of the expedition.
In the early hours of Tuesday, in clear weather and a more than calm sea, the expedition made a first stop at Stradbroke Island for the launch of a new program in partnership with CoralWatch (see associated News). That was a deceptive calm. Because initially planned to last only one and a half days, this anchorage had to extend to the end of the week or even beyond, as the weather improved in the north and the cyclone Debbie faded after dramatically striking the coasts of Queensland in the Mackay and Townsville area.