We take advantage of the Rangers, on their trip back to Grise Fiord, to travel under escort. Two days later, the patrol is gathering for a festive meal at Liza's, she is offering beaver and seal fur mittens to those who distinguished themselves during the trip. Then all Rangers in town are meeting at the gymnasium where they present their annual parade, with awards and honours. Jason, 18, finished his training and becomes officially a Ranger, he was before a Junior Ranger (12-18 years old).
Since light is back, hunters are skilfully providing varied food to everyone; that's how, during these three days, we eat some caribou, muskox, polar bear, seal, narwhal skin... and turkey coming from the South by plane!
Larry is taking me to check his net. We drive three kilometres by car on the ice, remove planks and tarpaulins which are a little bit insulating the holes, break the ice in the three holes and clean them, free the ropes at both ends one after the other to bring the net through the centre hole, get the seal trapped in the net, put the seal in the pick-up, set up the net again, and go back home with the seal who is right away climbing the stairs and waiting his turn quietly in the entrance, in the warmth!
I give a hand to Amon to hang his polar bear skin to dry, in a warm garage. His son is here too, he is getting ready to go tomorrow to Whitehorse to represent Grise Fiord in badminton at Arctic Winter Games. Raymond is supplying us with seal meat for our dogs; Annie gives us dog fur for clothing; Liza, arctic hare fur and muskox meat; Geela, muskox wool to pu inside our mittens... But not much fresh food in the shop, some people are looking forward to get eggs, maybe soon by plane. We still have powder eggs on board.
For the trip back to Vagabond, by ourselves, it is cold: -44°C, which is -80°C with the chilling factor when driving at 40km/h. The girls are wrapped up warmly in sleeping bags, lying on mattresses and caribou skin. Aurore is sleeping all the way, Léonie doesn't want to miss the scenery. We arrive at Vagabond at sun set, the sky is reddening, beautiful. The stove is purring, the generator starts easily and its sea water pump flows right away: water is still liquid under the hull, despite the ice thickness (1.10m), getting close to Vagabond's draught.
Yesterday was a test day on the ice with the icemeter as we have some worries about the calibration of the instrument.
Léonie is five years old today, party on board!