Eric and I are sailing all the way straight to Nuuk to meet up with Jochen, for whom we have been collecting coralline since 2015, this stunning limestone algae known as a paleoclimatological marker. This time, he has a family team: his partner Martina, and his two daughters Citlali and Krista. Christian our friend photographer and Jean, another friend diver, are completing our crew. The idea is above all to recover measuring instruments placed in 2019 on good coralline sites for one year. It was before Covid... What happened to these instruments since?
The closest site from Nuuk is not the easiest: it will take 3 dives to achieve our goals! For the first dive, the current is too strong for the divers and the buoy supposed to serve as a marker is sinking, carried away horizontally. On the second dive later in the day at slack water, the visibility quickly becomes insufficient for the divers and safety from the surface turns to be hazardous. Finally the next morning, at low water, our divers easily find the instrument which has been recording temperature and light for 4 years (3 years bonus)! With some more algae samples collected near the logger, complete analysis will be carried out at the University of Toronto.
Four days of navigation later, heading north to the second site. Photographer, wife and daughters are on land, Jochen follows the operations through binoculars from Vagabond, the two divers are underwater and the wind is picking up, getting strong. From the dinghy, while looking after the divers who are difficult to spot in the little waves, I'm worried to see Vagabond pulling on the anchor towards the rocky shore... The divers are coming back, the valuable sensor was found! We leave quickly since the wind is pushing us, still heading north.
Navigating at night between the rocks of the inside route and the rough sea along the outside route, we are getting quickly to Sisimiut where we stop for a few hours to let pass a big swell and a gale. This is the opportunity for Christian to pay his respects for the first time at Kampé's grave, his late great Greenlandic friend. Julien, a French friend who has lived here for a long time, meets us at the harbor: today he is a guide on a cruise ship that we will visit, in addition to a nice shower.
After some mussels harvesting and cod fishing between the islets strewn on our route, and after taking the last water samples, we end up seeing a thin white line haloed with clarity: it is the shield of Ilulissat which is growing, growing to become this wall of enormous icebergs that we admire while sailing along. The show is sumptuous as always. The sketchbook of Citlali, an art student, is delighting. Beyond all hope, the 5 logger instruments from 2019 have been found, mission 100% successful!