Heading to Qikiqtarjuaq

  • Maree basse

Stopped at Ipiutaq, time to wait for better weather, and to see our friends about to start gathering their hundreds of sheeps.

Winter projects are confirmed, we are heading to Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut, on the East coast of Baffin Island, in Canada. There, our friends, our dogs, the school, and quite a lot of equipment are waiting for us for another winter in the same little bay 3 kilometres away from the village.

Summer missions are done, five great and intense weeks in Tasiilaq region. We were delighted to discover again that part of East Greenland, successively with our colleagues and friends Laurent Geoffroy, Michael Charavin, and Christian Morel, and their respective groups.

The last group left last week, while Clémentine and Adrien joined us for the long trip back. They know the route from the sky, when they flew around the world by ultralight plane. Pilots (Wings for Science), they were quickly sea adapted and they are sharing watches with France and me. Nights are long now, drifting ice is sometimes hard to see due to swell and precipitation, despite the powerful headlight and the radar.

Our friend Christian Dumard, routeur, is looking after us: conditions were good since we left Kulusuk, smooth sea, favourable currents and winds, northern lights and moon light, it was pretty easy to zigzag between numerous growlers. Only one short stop was needed, Wednesday night. When approaching the coast and a possible shelter, wind was suddenly gusty (100km/h), visibility very poor in flurries of snow, one engine stopped for a moment, and the main sail got slightly damaged. Not long after, at second attempt, the anchor was holding, the crew could rest.

We enjoyed once more the southern fjords to avoid Cape Farvel! Minke and humpback whales welcomed us on the West coast. Aurore and Léonie were overexcited.

Clémentine and Adrien cam with a drone for Vagabond, first trial yesterday, at Ipiutaq, amazing! Fun and useful, the pictures it can take are beautiful.

Before leaving Kulusuk, the pilots could organize a photo mission for Laurent Geoffroy. I went with them in the rented P68, it was my first time in a plane in Greenland (where we already spent eight summer seasons)! After four hours of flight and thousands of pictures, studied geological massif will be soon examined thoroughly in 3D on a computer. It was fascinating to see from above these fjords, islands, glaciers, well explored with Vagabond during 2000, 2001 and 2014 missions.

Follow Vagabond's track here.