Solstice in France

  • Vagabond at Goose Bay, September 28th 2016

Vagabond is currently on dry dock in Goose Bay in Labrador until late spring 2017, while her crew is in Brittany for the winter. No Inuktitut at school for children this year, but classmates who speak French or even Breton! From a scientific congress to an adventure film festival, from a boat show to talks in schools, future projects are emerging little by little. They might not only take place in the Arctic, but they should always be related to scientific campaigns in remote areas, and we will keep sharing them. See also news.

Goose Bay

  • Restau Goose Bay

Le matin de l'arrivée à Goose Bay nous sommes allés nous promener et nous sommes tombés sur quelqu’un qui est allé à Grise Fiord. Elle nous a fait faire le tour de la ville dans sa voiture puis elle nous l'a prêtée pour le reste de la journée.

Nous sommes allés au resto, au parc, puis à l'aéroport. Le lendemain matin papa est allé se renseigner pour sortir le bateau de l'eau, ils ont dit cette après-midi ou demain.

4 jours plus tard nous avons pris l'avion mais pas de bol, le deuxième a été annulé à cause d'un problème technique. Nous sommes arrivés à Paris !

Mechanic and marina

  • A bord de Pachamama

A gale is coming. Suddenly, in the night, a strong smell of burnt rubber is coming from the engine room: one of the propeller shafts is breaking with the engine! Eric manages to immobilize it with a rope and clamps. A home made repair to avoid loosing the shaft and the propeller, which would mean a big leak. We are not very comfortable with only one engine and we lost a bit of time, Vagabond ends up fighting against 35 knots of wind and swell just before a lovely steep sided pass.

Then we reach out a good shelter where we discover Pachamama! For several years we have been in touch with Dario. This year, after passing Bellot Strait at the end of her Northwest Passage, Pachamama decided to follow Vagabond through Fury and Hecla Strait. We were looking forward to meet the crew, for a good reason: on board are living Dario, his wife Sabina, and their five children, aged from 11 years to 10 months! Léonie and Aurore are so happy to meet them.

Few hours later, a third boat arrives in the small bay, Caledonia. It is a beautiful yacht taking Jorgen and Claudia to warmer waters, after the Northwest Passage. Such a marina here is surprising!

We just reached the "Tree Line" and the first walk gives us a pretty big change: a high enough vegetation to hide in, some mini coniferous forests (about 1.20m!), all kinds of berries and blueberries in abundance! For a year we didn't enjoy so much greenness and we all love it.

Well moored, the three boats wait for the gale to go away. However, Léonie is the first to see two black bears on the bank!

At the next sunrise, sailing south again, we exult discovering real trees, tall conifers, other black bears busy on the shoreline, and surprising sand dunes. It is a dreaming sailing until Nain, the northern most inhabited village in Labrador.

L'arrivée au Labrador

  • Leonie avec enfants a bord de Pachamama

Il y a à peu près une semaine, nous sommes arrivés au Labrador tous les quatre. Yves et Céline nous ont quitté à Kimmirut. Dès le premier jour, j'ai vu un groupe de caribous et un peu plus tard maman a vu un ours, c'était super.

Un ou deux jours plus tard, en allant dans un abri, on retrouve Pachamama, un bateau qu'on connait ! Après s'être défoulé, on se retrouve à bord de leur bateau. Là on joue avec les enfants et ils nous invitent même à dîner, et on apprend que Caledonia, un autre bateau, va arriver vers 6h. Le lendemain, au moment de déjeuner, je vois un ours noir, on prévient les autres bateaux et papa en voit un deuxième, vraiment c'était génial !

Labrador, first step

  • Entree McLelan Strait Labrador

Arrival on Labrador. Vagabond takes the narrow passage which cuts Labrador's nose from west to east. First, this option give us two hours of rest, due to over 6 knots of current that pushes Vagabond backwards, even with all her sails on! The current whirls are impressive. Finally we can sail at high speed the 15 miles of the strait. We see 5 caribous, a polar bear, and also williwaws carrying very high water whirls in 50 knots gusts. Once on the East coast of Labrador, we discover another world, with myriad of islands, capricious winds and currents playing in these reliefs.


  • Vagabond en escale a Kimmirut

Nunavut. This is a very special moment to achieve our journey around Baffin, after spending five years in Nunavut.

It is here in Kimmirut that Celine and Yves are leaving us to go back home to Qikiqtarjuaq. It was a good team!

As soon as we touched land, a lack was filled: finally some vegetation. Oh, not high, but what a pleasure to find again crowberries and blueberries on low carpets made of tiny purple leaves, to see again some dwarf willows, nearly 30cm tall! Indeed, since Greenland, nothing. Only some arid rocks and rare lichens. Early this morning, leaving away Nunavut, I feel a pinch in my heart for everything Nunavut has given to us... But already appears the excitement of knowing we will soon pass the tree line, in Labrador!

Fisher Harbour, Big Island, au sud de l'île Baffin

  • Aurore Eric Leonie

Aujourd'hui nous sommes dans une petite baie, il y a un peu plus de vent qu'on le croyait mais bon on est à l'abri alors c'est pas grave.

J'ai un peu aidé papa dans la salle des machines, nous avons nettoyé le filtre à gasoil, nous avons pompé l'eau des fonds et changer un autre filtre à gasoil.

Hier on a fait une petite traversée c’était pas la pleine forme mais ça allait.

Cape Dorset

  • Avec Tim dessinateur a Cape Dorset

After the flat West coast of Foxe Basin, it is a pleasure to see again mountainous South Baffin. And to discover Cape Dorset, the nicest town I saw in Nunavut.

Looking for a shower, we are invited at the school. The high school burned one year ago, so the elementary school is open to the youngest every morning and to the teenagers in the afternoons. The principal, an enthusiastic Kenyan, takes us to every class for an informal exchange with all the students. Then, from his office he plays a piano composition he wrote specially for this school. Good musician, he plays 7 instruments, and sometimes let everybody listen to him through the speakers in the entire school! But about the showers, they are broken.

Ooloosie Ashevak, the school secretary, invites us at home... And there we can't stop speaking about our good friends from Grise Fiord, Larry and Annie, her uncle and aunt, and about their daughters Laisa and Arna. Arna was also Leonie's teacher! The following day we are all invited to her daughter's birthday party. I bake a cake, to share after the feast made of beluga maktak, frozen caribou, fish soup and fresh bannok. Such a warm and simple welcoming!

Adamie, Ooloosie's husband, is a carver, as most men here. Because Cape Dorset is the artistic capital of Nunavut! We are lucky to have a good tour of the lithographic and silkscreen printing workshop. The artists are only from here, coming from artist families most of the time. All their production are sold in Toronto. There are also drawers and painters. We meet Tim, and the boss of the workshop who just came back from holidays discovers his last draws with us. I admire his sense of lines and volume... He shares his time between art and hunting. It is on the land that he observes, gets inspiration, finds his subjects and defines his ideas. Then, without any draft and with a sure hand he achieves the piece which had to be born.

There is also a carving gallery. The soap stone comes from a place at one day by speed boat from Cape Dorset. The gallery doesn't have the capacity to welcome all the carvings from town, so people are also selling in the street. Then we ballast Vagabond with some emerald-green polar bears coming strait from Baffin hillside!

Alicia is leaving us here. She brings back most of the coralline samples to Jochen laboratory in Toronto. The last point to check was not so good, but we hope to get better collection for the last dives of the season.

Foxe Basin

  • Jeune oie chassee par Yves

Yesterday around 6am, after twenty hours of sailing, we hardly managed to enter the very little bay inside Owlitteeweek Island, near the Arctic Circle. Then the wind started to pick up, and we could not go ashore until this afternoon.

There is an abandoned sleigh on the beach, probably left by a hunter from Hall Beach or from Repulse Bay. Many geese are gathering here, before migrating south.

At last, wind dies down and sky clears up, the dinghy is launched and here we are all on land, happy to walk a bit. But a polar bear has chosen the same island, so to be safe we must cancel our excursion, reluctantly. Yves manage to quickly hunt a goose, absolutely delicious for the entire crew before weighing anchor.

Search didn't show anything, no need to dive here, so Vagabond is sailing again, heading to Cape Dorset. We will need about thirty hours to cross Foxe Basin, very shallow, very much unsurveyed. And currents are strong and unpredictable!