The dinghy was able to make its way to the shore until recently but in the past few days, we were already reading the signs: local fishermen doing their last boat trip of the year, polar bear sightings becoming more frequent, hunters’ boats filling up with seals while there is still open water and ultimately our visitors on board told us that soon they could not come anymore! The Bay where Vagabond is anchored, small haven sheltered from the offshore swells, is the place where it started… Since November 8th, we noticed those reflections on the water in the morning, the ones that made us get out of bed very early to check it and believe it is for good, the ones for which you can think “and there it goes… for 8 months at least”.
First some thin ice, then packing up, forming pancakes and finally getting stronger every day peacefully, quietly, without chaos! The wind then slowed down the process, giving us time for a sunny week-end busy with a nice walk to Tusinaq (5km from town) where some of the locals have their cabin and with a lot of visits on board: they pass by for a tea, coffee, for playing a game, sharing a cake, some French bread, banik (bread fried in a pan) or fish, we talk about the local news and always laugh! Sharing is a meaningful term around here and it is done very naturally. We are very pleased by those last visits from friends that came to make sure we have everything we need for the few days “stuck on board”, time to get iced in for good. We listened to the elders and their knowledge of the ice. Not enough open water anymore to travel by dinghy, but the sea ice is not yet thick enough to walk on it safely. The same day, one of the local divers, Samy, just back from his diving trip, brought us some clams for dinner!
At the beginning of this week, the ice around the boat was already getting a little thicker and we even tried to step on it, one foot, the second one… we ended up going for a walk on it! We can now get to the point located 1km away from the boat towards the village, but the passage to the village after that is not yet safe.
The sea ice is forming as we write, respecting its own rhythm, -18 degrees today and no wind.