Chronique d'une débâcle

  • Vagabond vu du ciel 2 juillet 22h
  • Bathysonde retrouvee

2 July: launching the solar balloon at the end of the day, but unexpected clouds engender a quick drop of the balloon and the camera!

3 July: wind is too strong to go to the middle of the fjord. But we are still cooking outside, at the back of the boat, which is very nice. The stove, that we use most of the time for cooking, is off during "warm" days in summer.

4 July: with a dog, a dry suit and a kayak, I reach the position of the probe, launched at the end of April in the middle of the fjord. But the strong wind from the day before changed the scenery, ice break-up started. I look for the instrument, drifting with ice, with all data since end of April... I stop searching after a few hours, disappointed.

5 July: a big piece of pack ice, which has been hosting Vagabond since October 2011, come off the coast and is drifting on 500 meters. The anchor is slipping, so we try to get some of the chain back, whenever tension decreases. 25 meters out of 60 are progressively got back. Deck becomes suddenly very cluttered up with all our equipment that was still on the ice.

6 July: first trip to shore with the dinghy. We can pull it easily on the ice up to open water. Most of the huge South Cape Fiord is now navigable. A big bearded seal is setting up near Vagabond. Late in the day, for about four hours, I search for the drifting probe with the dinghy. In vain.

7 July: at 8pm, the anchor is finally up, intact.

8 July: drifting with winds and tidal currents, we are still held prisoner by our winter pack ice which is provisionally getting back to its initial position!

9 July: turn to pack ice around the boat to melt enough to break up, Vagabond is in open water at 11am! But shortly later, drifting ice is pushing her on shallow water, hull is scraping on the seabed, the list is more than twenty degrees. France and I are worried, but the girls are laughing and sliding on the very sloping floor! The boat is up again, at least, time to tidy all up on board, and to turn our winter hut into a ship. We take the two dogs on board, quite scared but happy to be in a dry place. Search for the probe is carried out with Vagabond now.

10 July, 1am: from the crow's nest, between many small icebergs, I see with the binoculars the red and the white buoys supporting the valuable instrument. We can recover it intact at five kilometres from its initial position. What luck!