My mom Brigitte passed away yesterday, April 23rd. The grandmother of our daughters Aurore and Léonie, and also the one of Vagabond, left for her longest journey.
At the same time, exactly, I took off aboard a Twin Otter from Station Nord to Eureka, an exceptional flight, totally magical. For almost five hours I flew over breathtaking landscapes north of Greenland and Ellesmere Island. I will never forget this flight which brought me home while my mom flew away for good.
Brigitte knew that Vagabond's crew was about to gather a few hours later. She knew that after a long separation of five months for Mosaic, this very spectacular international scientific expedition on drifting ice, our little family could carry on with our more modest missions, faithful to Vagabond's spirit.
For the past two months I have been negotiating to get back to Vagabond as quickly as possible, staying in the Arctic, without going through anywhere in the south. A bear even passed by early yesterday morning, as if to make sure that I had left the mission. From one boat frozen in the ice to another, from Polarstern to Vagabond directly, objective achieved!
Aurore, Léonie, France, Stone the dog and the pulka were there yesterday beside the runway, when Kenn Borek's plane landed. What a reunion! It was then on foot on the ice that we went to Vagabond, from where I was finally able to communicate more easily with my relatives confined in France. So many emotions in one day.
Today we are serenely starting on a quarantine on board Vagabond, while continuing our scientific work. The only difference from our usual wintering lifestyle, we have to wait before visiting our friends in Arctic Bay, the neighboring village.