Un ours passe...

  • Time lapse 1er fevrier
  • Fraiches traces d ours

A polar bear is passing... on the other side of the fjord. Tracks are fresh, the animal just explored the end of my trail. This is were I turn back, every three days, while measuring ice thickness across the 7km wide fjord. Ices are broken up, overlapping, piling up along the shore, due to the tides, like on the beach near Vagabond, and hiding-places are not missing! I'm even more vigilant that I'm alone with the snowmobile, without the dogs. Six days earlier, four of them were joining us, Léonie and I, for scientific field work, and together they caught a polar fox, at the same place (read Léonie's story - in French)! Dogs are quietly staying at camp since, still for a few days to make sure they don't have rabies, which is not very likely, hopefully. Another polar fox is following today's polar bear, at a respectful distance, as can tell the little tracks I also meet. Carrion feeder in winter, he is looking for remains of seal, which is making most of his diet before the birds and their eggs are back in spring.

The snowmobile is allowing me to do longer profiles than on foot, the icemeter (EM31) can theoretically work at a speed up to 30km/h, depending on snow surface. It is usually necessary to slow down because of snow drifts created by the wind, even if the ice is very flat. Also, the heat from the engine is good to warm up the CTD, instantly frozen when taken out from the water (it's -35°C today), and then to do several casts in a row. But this is offset by burning gasoline, and sitting in the cold, noise and smell, not as pleasant and comfortable than walking with a dog pulling the pulka!

After 23 January gale, the big snow drifts around the boat are making a great playground for Aurore and Léonie. First trials with the snow bike (ktrak given by Stéphane Rousson, and mountain bike lent by our friends in Grise Fiord): hard snow needed because the rear track is not very wide!

France, who is dutifully checking our net every night, almost finished to make splendid seal skin mittens for me! Thank you Eva for the seal skin.

Twilight colours at midday are beautiful, 8 or 10 days more before seeing the sun again.