Coralline, icebergs, polar bear and patrol

  • Ours pointe Johnson ile Devon ©EB
  • France regle genois ©EB

Devon Island East coast survey is over. Icebergs from Baffin Bay are visiting all of the eight suggested sites and coralline has not much time to grow before being ripped off by drifting ice. France is spending hours in the dinghy with the drop camera to select the best diving spots if any. Samples are then dried and marked, we will ship them to Toronto at the end of the cruise. Clathromorphum compactum is a promising climate archive for improving our understanding of past changes in Arctic ocean and ice sheet conditions well before the beginning of instrumental observations.

Very loud sound, scary. An iceberg is breaking up not far from me... France is watching from the dinghy, she is not sounding the end of dive alarm, so I keep searching for coralline. She tells me later that she was scared too!

On Sunday, a large aircraft suddenly flies very low near Vagabond, twice, before a friendly interview in French! The military patrol is asking us name and call sign of the ship, flag, port of registry, last stop, destination, number of people on board, cargo, radar make and model! To their knowledge, there is no other ship around, neither further North.

In the evening, the surprise is a polar bear. France is alone in the dinghy, focused on the camera's small screen, she announces by radio that the bear is slowly coming down the cliff, then nothing. We cannot see her from Vagabond, we are getting worried, I end up saying to Aurore and Léonie "let's go!". Finally France is answering the radio and meets us at anchor, we are all still a bit nervous. The following morning, Vagabond is sailing around the small island and we can watch the polar bear, still there: I decide not to dive at this site!

Not many shelters, luckily the weather is fine. To get rest at anchor is all about the swell: either we get nicely rocked, either we are swinging incomfortably!