29 to 31 October 2022
A look back at the Seychelles stopover
Stopover in Port Victoria, Mahé.
The S.A. Agulhas II arrived in Port Victoria in the early morning of 29 October 2022. A welcome stopover after the operations in Aldabra and on the way to the Seychelles. There were several highlights: the reception on the 29th of a Seychelles delegation led by the Seychelles Minister for the Blue Economy, Jean-François Ferrari, and a day dedicated to school group visits on the 31st of October. In the meantime, many technical operations took place, such as the provisioning of food and equipment, but also the embarkation of new teams, the departure of the previous ones, with both a small twinge of sorrow for those who remain to see them leave and the desire to reach the next destination, an important objective of this second part of the mission to come: the Saya Bank of Malha… the invisible island. The ship left Port Victoria at around 8pm on the evening of 31 October.
The official Seychelles delegation was able to discover the ship’s facilities, as well as the scientific projects carried out during the mission and presented by Gilles Bessero, Director of Monaco Explorations. The Minister for the Blue Economy, Mr Jean-François Ferrari and Mr Flavien Joubert, Minister for Agriculture, Climate Change and the Environment, were accompanied by the French Ambassador to the Seychelles, Olivia Berkeley-Christmann, the Honorary Consul of the Seychelles in Monaco, Jean-François Noaro and his wife, and Mr Bernard Georges, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF). Dr Frauke Fleisher-Dogley, Director of the SIF, Ms Katrin Perchat, Coordinator of the TFO project and Ms Pascale Chabanet, Coordinator of the Pareo project, were also present. A group of students from the University of Seychelles, accompanied by Jérôme Harlay, teacher-researcher, also visited the ship during the morning.
A day dedicated to schools
On 31 October, the crew, the scientists and artists on board and Monaco Explorations team welcomed around 200 schoolchildren from many of the Seychelles islands on board. This was an opportunity for the organisers of this mission to showcase both an exploration ship and a scientific expedition through exchanges with the researchers, students and artists on board. This day was organised with the precious collaboration of the staff of the Seychelles Ministries of the Blue Economy, Environment and Education. The groups hosted: Baie Ste-Anne de Pralin School, Perseverance Secondary school, International School of Seychelles, La Digue Primary and secondary School, BeauVallon primary school, Anse Boileau Secondary School, Belonie Secondary School, Mont Fleuri Secondary School and the Seychelles Maritime Academy.
Corals leave the ship
The colonies collected in Aldabra and destined to be conserved in public aquariums within the framework of the World Coral Conservatory were transferred on 29 October to stabulation tanks installed in Mahé, before being sent to Europe. This operation marks a close scientific collaboration between the Seychelles, France and Monaco regarding the future of corals, a vital link in the biological balance of the oceans. Dominique Barthélémy, head of the Océanopolis Aquarium in Brest, and Olivier Brunel, head of the Aquarium at the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco, came to help the teams already on board with the logistics on site in Mahé and to prepare the shipment of the colonies by plane.