Sun has been shinning for the last 3 days, and I've been able to do some work on sea ice with the CTD, and to travel around with the dogs or the snowmobile. Fantastic. Temperature is still around zero, the thick snow layer has reduced and packed a lot. If conditions are very good to ski around Vagabond, snow has already melted near Longyearbyen, rivers are running and are difficult to cross. We just decided to recover the equipment 8 days earlier. We will start on Tuesday 2nd May to remove and pack all scientific instruments, with Hervé who is coming back alone this time. Is it a race against global warming? Nevertheless we hope to bring everything back to Longyearbyen, with snowmobiles, before all snow disappears!
Yesterday morning, I suddenly saw few tents and skiers, on the other side of the bay, at 3 km from Vagabond. Not long after, 8 French people were on board, with all kinds of questions, and I had the nice surprise to meet up with Dominique, from Grand Nord travel agency, Stéphane, in charge of Paul-Emile Victor Centre in the Jura, and Gérard, the guide of the group. I left Jin and Frost going with them to see the glacier, and I join their camp in the evening with Imiaq. Very nice time in their mess tent heated up with a stove, then I went back quickly on skis with the 3 dogs. I will not forget the extra coffee they offered to me; I was only just back on board, I tipped over my cup and I slightly burnt my hand! Wind speed went over 50 knots last night, but I found their camp OK this morning, when I brought them what they needed to treat some blisters. Later, I could watch from a hill the little caravan slowly moving away.