The dairies
    July 7th, 2006
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- The financial project was approved -

Saint-Denis de la Réunion.

Preparing the equipment at Saint Pierre air base (Reunion Island)
Credit : J. Mouret

The good news came in late June. The Reunion territorial assemblies (Regional and General Councils) accepted to finance the project, after it had been approved by the General Direction of Cultural Affairs.
From that moment onwards, we could start the implementation of our mission.

Loading the equipment on the Reunion Island
Credit : J. Mouret

In an agreement signed with the Armies (commander-in-chief of the Armies in the southern Indian Ocean), we established how our equipment was to be brought there.

Unloading the equipment on Tromelin Island.
Credit : J. Mouret

On Tromelin Island, the Air Force Transall planes regularly supply the Meteo France weather station. So together with the Air Force and Meteo France, we agreed that we could use some of the air freight if we spread our equipment on several flights.

So the first flight arrived on 7 July 2006. We had decided to bring our most needed equipment, especially a motor pump which was lent by a Reunion association called « la confrérie des gens de la mer » (brotherhood of seafarers). The Groupe de Recherche en Archéologie Navale (Research Group in Naval Archeology) signed a cooperation agreement with them, and many of its members were going to take part in the operation.

Joël Mouret, the meteorologist behind that project (he drew our attention to the Utile’s story), also embarked on that plane. It was his turn to stay on the island for a while. His stay coincided with our research campaign on 9 October and 8 November 2006. So he took advantage of his stay to make a photographic report of the mission.

Motor-pump lent by the « confrérie des gens de la mer »
Credit : J. Mouret

At Saint Pierre air base, the packaged material was loaded on the Transall used to fulfil the mission.  

On Tromelin Island, some handling machines unloaded our equipment as well as Meteo France’s. In front of the Transall there was the runway, followed by the sea which surrounds the island over hundreds of kilometres.

The 61-MT Transall at the end of the runway on Tromelin Island.
Credit : J. Mouret

Our historical research highlighted a paradox. On one hand, this tiny and very low island has always been seen with difficulty –this was partly responsible for the sinking of the Utile. But on the other hand, hydrographers have tried for years to establish the island position as accurately as possible but have never been able to reach it.

 

Rédacteur : M. Guérout

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