With the elders at the ice camp

  • 008 Collecte de plancton avec les anciens
  • 013 Anciens et qulliq au camp de glace

Elders finally came to the ice camp; indeed, for two weeks it was never the good day, bad weather or other priorities... it was becoming urgent before most of them would go to their summer camps.

With curiosity, quite a bit of good mood and kindness, about 15 people aged over 60 years followed us into our flooded tent. Magic atmosphere inside in the darkness, popping turquoise light from the sampling hole, sparkling red reflections from the red bottom of the tent, with about 5 cm of water flooding the floor. Every pair of eyes followed the messenger closing the Niskin bottle, inspected the strange instruments standing by on top of boxes, a filtration ramp here, a large plankton net there... This net also showed us some nice iridescent blue plankton. Then outside, playful atmosphere around the ice core, handmade, with the contest of who will finish the ice core! Algae from under the ice became a reality for each of our guests; some before told us that it was sediments from the bottom of the sea...

At the stroke of noon, some came in the heated hut to enjoy sandwiches and pancakes that we made. Then the roles got reversed. Inuit women offered us the traditional ceremony that leads every important event: one of them brought a qulliq (oil lamp) to bring out the fire. Life. Earth enamelled or made of metal, the container is filled with seal oil. At the edge is placed a small pile of dried plants that are lighted up, and then spread across one of the edge of the qulliq, acting like a candle wick. This was the heating and the stove that kept life and light in igloos and other houses made of turf and driftwood. Helped by one of them translating, patiently, the elders answered to all our questions. We were like children, looking at their past, their knowledge. Scientists and Inuits, like in an igloo, together quietly warmed up by the qulliq. The exchange is real, ending by their words: "We will not forget you, thank you for having welcoming us!"