Once Léonie and Eric left for Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, just on time for school and new position (new research station), we remained two of us, Louis Wilmote and I, onboard Vagabond, for the two following weeks. Louis, before landing in Grise Fiord, made a stop in Arctic Bay in order to dive and recover most of the coralline samples and about ten sensors waiting since last year. Successful job after two stops, on his way to and back from Grise Fiord!
Very busy fortnight: a lot of maintenance, including smelling sessions in the engine room... at anchor in front of town or sheltered behind small islands not far from Grise Fiord, before beaching Vagabond. Finally everything is ready for the first attempt. The tide will reach a sufficient level of water by the middle of that night. In the evening Paul digs with his loader at the same place where Vagabond wintered last year. Everything would have been simple if ... is it the violent gust of wind or the beluga that came two times around Vagabond, who would have decided that we would not see the depth of the hole dug that evening? Vagabond began to drift as the loader was digging. When the anchor hooked again in front of Grise Fiord, the hole was finished but we didn't feel like leaving Vagabond, doubting about the good behavior of the anchorage.
Later on this moonless night, we begin the approach. But we quickly realize, immobilized in front of the shelter and after that broke a line by the traction of the loader, that it is not for tonight...
The following evening Paul digs again around Vagabond, high perched without water on the slope of the foreshore. At 1am, Vagabond progresses 3 meters before the chain slips. Then a second rope breaks... The pressure is rising: there is only one more attempt possible before the tide coefficients will decrease again.
Then comes back Raymond: he is the one who dug last year, "as much as he could"! The next morning he finds a longer and bigger chain that we prepare. Without any notice, at midday he arrives with his loader to make a test. Vagabond turns little bit but the loader rears up! A bit later at the highest of the tide, he comes back with Paul: in line one in front of the other, the two loaders hoist Vagabond without difficulties in its cradle! Before having finish our meal, spectators on the deck, we are in place for winter! Thank you Paul and Raymond for your pugnacity.
Next mission on summer 2022!