Rendezvous in Qaanaaq

  • Arktika a Qaanaaq
  • France Eric et Leonie avec Emmanuel Hussenet et Gilles Elkaim

Behind an icebergs barrier appears Qaanaaq. Only the orange sail from the boat Arktika, at anchor in front of town, can be seen in the distance. We arrive just on time to meet Gilles Elkaim, he bought his boat two years ago, with the idea of having his dog team on board one day. After his four years journey in Siberia (we just missed him when we sailed the North-East Passage in 2002), he set up the Camp Arktika in Finland, to breed sled dogs. Gilles is a hunter, bearded seal meat is drying a bit of everywhere in the mast, and a muskox head has pride of place at the stem. They are nine on board to attempt the North-West Passage this summer. Jacques Ducoin is part of the crew, with his camera; he was on board Vagabond in Greenland in 2001, with his son Samuel, to shoot the film Mission au Groenland (included in the DVD Vagabond around the Arctic), we are happy to see him again as well! Made by the same shipyard than Ecotroll, Arktika is a strong work boat, ready for adventure. We have some good times all together.

In Qaanaaq, first of all, we have appointment with Bénédicte, Catherine and Emmanuel. They have been warmly welcomed by Hans, owning the only hotel up here, we are happy to see him again. He is also accommodating Alex Hibbert, preparing a long skiing expedition for next winter, the Dark Ice Project. As agreed, we are bring some food and fuel depot for him further North... We are getting about 400kg cargo more on the deck!

With the new enthusiastic team, we start our journey towards the North, to meet ices and history, looking for cairns and other remains from past expeditions and migrations. Emmanuel Hussenet is particularly in fascination with Octave Pavy's life, we will pay tribute to him on our way. But today, he mainly wants to witness and inform; his dream is to reach Hans Island, but ice conditions don't look very good...