Sailing nearby Grise Fiord, we share some happy greetings by radio. Then the chairman of HTA (Hunters and Trappers Association), understanding that we are heading towards Jakeman Glacier, warns us of fear about our scientific activities in this area where the narwhals have been for a while. Although we often see marine mammals around Vagabond's hull, not looking any disturbed... There is also a family of hunters in the small neighboring fjord, Fram Fiord, and they have not heard about them for several days. We promise to keep them informed as soon as we arrive there, especially since they are friends and a transect is also waiting for us there.
However, we are living the worst sailing conditions of the summer to get there...
What a pleasure to meet up with Imooshee and his son Terry, accompanied by his wife and children! Terry has set up his own outfitting company, in order to guide sport hunters, photographers or scientists out on the land. For a week in their tents, they have not been able to hunt at sea because of the bad weather. But they had a muskox. We walk together to the river, then have supper on board Vagabond and share our stories. Last winter, during the night, while they were cutting up a seal on the sea ice, Terry and Imooshee are surprised by a bear very close, who is walking straight towards Terry. He hits it with his knife, without any effect. They try to protect themselves behind their snowmobile, but the bear stands up, its front legs on the machine. Imooshee violently hits his fist on the bear's nose, giving to Terry just enough time to grab the gun that was between the bear and the snowmobile, and to press the barrel against the bear and to shoot!
The next day in the mist, the sea calmed down and we carry out our samplings and CTD transect before returning to Grise Fiord since the Jakeman is forbidden to us.
When we arrive in the dinghy, faithful, Jimmy welcomes us on the beach, then Imooshee back from Fram Fiord and above all, Liza and Aksajuk who came by car. Generous as always Liza invites us for showers and laundry. In the warmth of her home, we have the feeling of being again with our grandparents from Nunavut.
The next morning a lot of inhabitants armed with garden tools are walking between the rocks at very low tide looking for clams! Groups of harp seals are swimming quietly in front of town overflown by swarms of birds attracted by the huge quantity of arctic cods whose livers they devour, leaving their remains washed up by hundreds on the shore.
The village has not changed. We are chatting here and there as if we had left the day before. And from these pleasant discussions comes the idea that Vagabond could stay on Grise Fiord's beach next winter! Indeed we have just been informed that Vagabond is no longer authorized to overwinter in Thule in Greenland.