Sunday's dive

  • Yves remonte
  • Yves et Eric collectent clams
  • Derniers reglages pour Eric

It's Sunday, the weather is nice (-35°C), our little family is getting ready for a day out on the ice, everyone is excited! I pack in the sled the usual safety equipment, rifle, fuel... and my diving gear. France is sitting on the snowmobile with me, our daughters Aurore (5) and Leonie (8) like it better inside the sledge, on musk ox and sheep skins, warmly dressed in their Inuit clothing. We need about half an hour drive on pretty smooth ice to go from Vagabond to the dive site.

Sammy is already under water for a first dive. His wife Ena is standing near the hole, holding the safety rope that connects Sammy to the surface. If he pulls three times, she will help him to quickly reach the surface. Close to the hole, Sammy and Philip, two of the four divers in town, set up a hut with a stove, they move it any time they want to change diving site (ice is cut with a chainsaw). I come in with my equipment to unfreeze, and it's time for a picnic. Sammy is just coming out of the water with a net full of clams (Mya truncata and Serripes groenlandicus). While he comes to warm up and have a coffee in the hut, France helps me to put on all my equipment. The dives usually last thirty minutes, 15 to 20 meters deep, the water is at -2°C. A diver is coming back out when his tank is almost empty!

I'm ready to dive, with a light on my head, a camera, a net to collect clams, sea urchins and algae. Soon I will also take what is needed to collect sediments and an instrument to suck the algae that grow under the ice (very few in this season due to lack of light). I explore, I film, I follow scientific protocols, and I also collect clams to offer to some friends in the village and for our own meal tonight! On the surface, our wives are looking after our lifelines. They are happy to be together; Ena is the Inuktitut teacher at school, Aurore and Leonie love her. Hunters stop by from time to time, they come to take news and clams, and to drink tea. Diving combines leisure, scientific work, traditional food collection (modernized here!), social exchange. Four of us are happy to share these moments with our Inuit friends.