Chronicle of modest adventurers, by Marc Givry

  • 0545 Approche cote Groenland©Marc Givry
  • 0747 Iceberg dans la brume sud Groenland©Marc Givry
  • 1707 Pangaea et Vagabond a Narsaq©EB
  • 1744 Retrouvailles avec Mike Horn©EB

17 July 2023, still in Narsarsuaq,

I've just realised that in this rambling narrative, I hadn't told you how we got here. And yet a blog should be chronologically ordered.

So let's continue. We set off from Saint-Pierre with live music on a foggy night with a rather choppy sea. This was followed by a foggy crossing with fairly calm seas, followed by a little wind and choppy seas towards the end (thanks to the approaching Cape Farewell). The finish was superb, with icebergs and sunshine.

"Happy families have no stories" is how Tolstoi's novel Anna Karenina begins. But for me, happy crossings are full of stories.

For example, remember, before we left we had redecorated the hull of the ship to attract whales and mermaids. We didn't see any mermaid, but we did see whales. Having announced with certainty "a herd of pilot whales to port", I was taken aback by "it's not pilot whales, it's Atlantic white-sided dolphins". Serves me right, next time I'll say "Cetaceans in sight, family Delphinidae, gregarious animals, traveling in large herds".

And then on arrival we met with history, the history of Adventure, with a capital A. In Narsaq, after a few zigzags in the ice, we moored next to a large sailing boat. Impressive, over 30 metres long, rigged as a ketch, her large mast of 35 metres dominates the whole port with its majesty. I'm told, almost with reverence, that it's the famous yacht P. belonging to the no less famous M., the Adventurer with a capital A, known over the world for the extraordinary exploits that have made him a demi-god, or rather a hero, since he remains mortal. But our hero isn't dead yet. Perhaps Athena the Persian-Eyed Goddess is watching over his destiny, as I hope she is watching over ours.

The friendly crew looking after this maritime flagship explain that M. is not on board, but that they have plenty to keep them busy. In fact, their ship is a mobile video production studio and their purpose is to inform the whole world of the ongoing exploits. It may not reach the whole world (let's leave that Urbi e Orbi privilege to the Pope), but at least the millions of 'followers' who need to be satisfied on a regular basis. To ensure this media feast, the generators are constantly running and we are reassured by the constant humming that tells us the adventure never stops.

M., the Adventurer with a capital A, was greeted at the airport when we picked up the geologists. In fact, he's a friend of France and Eric. They've known each other for at least twenty years. They crossed paths in Alaska, them going east on Vagabond, him going west on his kayak.

Twenty years on, the sizes of the ships have reversed, the little ship has become quite big, but Vagabond's size remains the same. The waistline has even shrunk a little, as the impacts of the ice have created some dents in the outside and shrunk the inside (but be assured, there have been no fatal perforations, although we have sometimes been a little worried).

The Carthusian symbol is a cross on a sphere, which means "the Earth turns, the Cross remains". If I was an art teacher, I'd give my pupils the following subject: "The Earth turns, Vagabond remains", with the added bonus of "Translate the motto into Latin".

To finish this rambling account, I'd like to quote a dedication. On a book given to the architect Mario Botta by his friends, he could read: "Mario, we love you, not for what you have become, but for what you have remained".

Vagabond, we love you for what you have remained: modest.