Every year, most Grise Fiord inhabitants are going to a frozen lake for an Arctic charr fishing competition, the Fishing Derby. We are invited to join them for four days of camping, north of Devon Island, on the other side of Jones Sound. Twenty tents for about sixty people, festive and friendly atmosphere under a splendid sun. Holes in the ice are sometimes done inside the tents, to allow fishing under cover and in the warm! People are trying other holes, tasting raw and frozen fish... Some fishermen can show great talent. First prizes this year are for the same person: the biggest catch, 80.5cm, and the biggest number, 28 fishes.
We also learn how to deploy a net, using an amazing device, from Greenland, which can set up a rope under the ice between two holes. But no luck, Larry's net and ours remain empty!
It's a long trip but pleasant, snowmobiles and sleighs caravan is stopping now and then for tea and snacks, to watch wildlife or to search for the best route through broken ice. On the way back, we meet a polar bear quite close, almost not afraid by our machines. Not long after, we find a harpoon head, and then a seal recently killed, both lost by some unlucky hunters. I leave France, Aurore and Léonie at the village, then I keep on my way up to Vagabond. At 10 o'clock this morning, tired after a night (permanent daylight) and 180km of snowmobile driving, I'm almost surprised to see that all is fine on board: the freezer is working fine and boat batteries are correctly charged thanks to the solar panels, dogs are happily welcoming me, the stove is off but it is 15°C inside the boat thanks to the sunroof, generator pipes are not frozen, neither fresh vegetables and fruits. Time to do the weather report and eat something, then I fall asleep for a few hours. What a trip!
The next day, I meet again the girls in Grise Fiord. We watch the prize giving together, where we meet Mike Beedell, and Hubert and Luc Sagnières, they just did a ski trip on Devon Island. Mike, photographer, sailed most of the North-West Passage on a small catamaran with Jeff MasInnis between 1986 and 1988. He remembers well Vagabond'eux, and her Polish crew, then wintering on Gjoa Haven beach.