A Boat-Show Full of News

End-of-year deals, base expansions, new cruising grounds, and support for environmental research in French Polynesia are unveiled. From "Charter Briefing" for our October 14, 2010, CW Reckonings

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Expedition Biosphere Fakarava, aboard the Moorings 4600 catamaran, included scientists, their family, and crew.Courtesy Of The Moorings

Just back from the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Maryland, over a Columbus Day weekend endowed with splendid weather, I can assure you that Jack and Jane Tar are doing their part to energize the U.S. economy.
The traffic on the docks overall and particularly at charter company booths was more than brisk-it was overwhelmingly hectic, and vacation sailors were eager to consider bookings that came with discounts of 20 percent or more. Some deals remain through the end of calendar year 2010, so don't hesitate to do some web surfing and book that bareboat trip to Tahiti or the Pacific Northwest that you've always dreamed of.

It's worth noting that individual U.S. charter companies are finding ways to make vacations in remote archipelagoes more accessible to North American sailors. You'll be the first to find out about some of those changes here in the Charter Briefing, so stay tuned.

Staff for the Moorings charter company used the boat show to make a number of announcements, including the expansion of its base in Belize, in the western Caribbean, into a full-service marina facility.

And, continuing its commitment to innovation and sustainability in the marine environment upon which it relies, company executive Lex Raas told a crowd that the charter company had recently lent a 4600 catamaran as a base of operations in French Polynesia to a research team of marine biologists.

The scientists aboard the cat, led by Michael Poole, cruised the Tuamotu archipelago to track, count, and listen to activity of humpback whales and dolphins.

The goals of Expedition Biosphere Fakarava, so named for the Tuamotu atoll municipality that's earned the biosphere reserve designation from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, are based on a number of factors, according to Poole.

"This area may harbor a distinct humpback whale population, as well as several dolphin species that remain poorly understood, and could be a crucial component for the conservation and management of marine mammals throughout the South Pacific," he says of the research, which earlier had taken the team through the Gambier islands, also situated in French Polynesia.

"All of our data here are research firsts," Poole said. "No one has ever before photographically identified humpbacks at these islands; no one has recorded whale songs here; no one has obtained DNA from whales here. So, this is all very good and very important for understanding this endangered species within French Polynesia and across the entire South Pacific, which in turn allows appropriate conservation measures to be taken on their behalf."