Margaux Chalas is a professional cook. More recently, she obtained her diploma as a professional sailor. In 2015, she joined the Octopus Foundation, where she takes care of a vital role: stewardship. Furthermore, she is the eyes and ears of the diving crew when they are underwater, looking out for dangers and always available to help her colleagues.
What is your role within the Octopus Foundation ?
Mainly, I take care of the stewardship and parts of the logistics during the field missions. Basically, I am responsible for buying and cooking the meals. I also take care of the logistics base, whether it’s the sailing boat or a house, in order to anticipate the needs of the crew and other things that may have been forgotten during planning. For example, I organise the first aid kit, with enough sunscreen and bottles of water for the whole day. My goal is to look after the crew, so they can remain focused on their tasks. Now that I come to think of it, I am little bit like their mom.
What motivated you to work for Julien and his team ?
Christophe Vignaux, with whom I was sailing back in 2015, told me about the Octopus Foundation. He offered me to join the group during the 2015 mission in Greece. After this first successful experience, I felt that I was part of the team. Julien is the type of person who brings up the best in other people, while giving them enough space to do what they do best and how they see fit. Once in the crew, we all want to give the best of ourselves, as much for the Foundation as for Julien, because without him, none of this would be possible. All in all, we are a group of passionate people that take part in extraordinary projects. What more can we ask for?
What drives you ?
I love traveling! When you combine travels with the Octopus Foundation’s missions, it’s like discovering a new place or a country with an objective in mind. Locals welcome us differently when they know we are here to work, especially when our goal is to give credit to their heritage. Now that I got a taste of this, I can’t really see myself hit the road with no clear “objective”. I am also very fond of the group’s alchemy. We all have our own personality, our role, all working to achieve a combined goal: the success of the mission.
What are your best memories with the Foundation?
It’s a difficult question, there are too many that come up… The adventure in Greece was truly incredible, but I must say that the freeing of Homerous, the marine turtle of Lampedusa, was definitely an incredible experience. We are not talking about a shipwreck, a piece of wood, metal or some archaeological remains. It’s a living being. We are talking about Daniela Freggi’s life work and struggle. We are talking about a tremendous commitment. It changed me.
Can you take us through one of your typical working day with the Octopus Foundation ?
Let’s consider the 2017 mission to Oricum, Albania, as an example. Typically, the team wakes up at six in the morning. Some eat a little breakfast, some don’t. Then, I prepare the lunch bags for every one, made up of sandwiches I prepared the night before, drinks, fruits and biscuits. We load up the gear in the vehicles and head towards the working site.
When we arrive, each crew member takes up his assignment. That’s when I assist whoever needs my help the most. Whether it’s topography measures with the archaeologists, taking notes, repairing stuff or many other useful things.
Later in the day, I quickly go to the shops and make supper and the sandwiches for the following day. We usually eat altogether in the evening, and our day ends with a debriefing at around 11PM.