This time it will be the North Atlantic!

The “7th Continent” expedition will depart from the Port du Marin harbour in the Martinique, heading due north to the Sargasso Sea in order to reach the heart of the North Atlantic gyre. This has been localised thanks to the amazing maritime stream calculators, provided by Mercator Océan.

The Sargasso Sea, which was discovered by Christopher Columbus owes its name to the huge mass of “Sargassum” algae found there. This exceptional mass is due to the gyre phenomenon (circular maritime currents) in this particular area of the North Atlantic, which are static and waveless just like a real lake. Unfortunately, this mass of algae is increasingly being added to by plastic waste from humans, deposited in the sea via streams.

Scientists from he CNES, ESA, Mercator Océan and CNRS are involved on deck and on land. Numerous scientists will accompany the “7th Continent” expedition, who will be responsible for finding the chief pollution convergent zones in the North Atlantic. They will attempt, along with the CNES and the ESA to locate pollution, which isn’t yet visible by satellite.
The CNRS researchers will analyse the presence of pollutants with the means of sensors. Samples of the developing biodiversity in this waste will be analysed in laboratories.

The area will be reached a week after departure. The following week will be spent in the gyre to discover and understand what is going on as much as possible. The return journey is scheduled for around May 25th. The data collected will then be analysed in laboratories.

Objectives 2014 – 2015:

Exploring the oceans of the planet. The same phenomenon exists in all the seas of the globe. This pollution, whose environmental consequences we know little of, is apparent in all the oceans. Providing a detailed and scientific report on the state of the oceans.


Name of the expedition: The 7th Continent

Head of Mission: DEIXONNE Patrick
Scientific Coordinators: PUSINERI Claire, CREPIN Georges
Photographer: LARDEUX Soizic

Localisation of the area: Atlantique nord

Departure of the mission: Le Marin Martinique, roughly 2000 nautical miles.

Date: beginning May (2014)

Duration: approximately 3 weeks

The innovative projects

– Testing of sensors, which could identify plastic in the water
– Analysis of the water pollution and the food chain with new pollutant sensors from the IMRCP lab in Toulouse;
– Geolocalisation for images Spot & Jason;
– Casting off drifting buoys from the NOAA with a long-term follow-up