"Beau soleil aujourd'hui et le thermomètre au dessus de zéro, ce qui m'a permis de briquer le pont à grands seaux d'eau. Les chiens sont mignons comme tout, j'arrive à les monter et descendre avec leur harnais de traction et un palan de bossoir. Ils ont donc droit à une promenade. Je ne suis pas plus rassurée que ça à me promener sans vous, ne riez pas : aujourd'hui, j'ai gardé un pétard en main toute la balade ! Cet après midi, un beau gros ours est venu tout le long de la rive, en s'arrêtant pour humer l'air dans notre direction. Il est même allé aux niches, et a mis la tête dans celle d'Imiaq ! Merci Petit Jésus que les chiens étaient à bord. Ensuite, il s'est laissé tomber sur ses grosses fesses et est resté là à nous regarder, en baillant de temps en temps. Ce soir, j'ai regardé "les uns et les autres" de Lelouch, franchement barbant."
"Hello! Just a short message to tell you everything is OK. Sea ice is coming in and out in the bay, I don't see many polar bears now, probably because I'm writing and reading a lot. Love and kisses, Nicole, Imiaq, Frost and Yin."
Since Saturday morning, Nicole is alone on board Vagabond. Sea is freezing slowly around the hull, but it is not yet possible to walk on it. Also the 3 dogs are now keeping her company on the deck, very happy to be away from the polar bears and closer to the food! France, Philippe, Thierry, Cédric and I walked back to Svea, the coal mine, at about 40 km from the boat. Not enough snow to ski or pull a pulka, backpacks were very heavy, but a 2 days trek very nice. Last sunbeams before the long polar night, and great full moon... Very warm welcome by the mine company Store Norsk, before flying to France, via Longyearbyen.
Vagabond and her crew left Longyearbyen late on 28 September, the weather was really great. Very nice stop at Hornsund Polish station, where 9 scientists are getting ready for the winter. Excellent conditions then, to do 5 profiles with the CTD, while sailing up Storfjord, enjoying some white beaked dolphins' company. Arrival on 30 September at Inglefield Bay, by night, with lot of drifting ice from the glacier. This one has been loosing hudge parts very often for the last 2 days, creating some fascinating swell. Nicole is getting slowly used to her new place, where she will live alone for the next 3 months. France and I are telling her everything before leaving. Cédric, Philippe and Thierry came to help setting up Vagabond and the camp for the third winter: lines to shore, dog houses, hut, weather station, particles sensor... and regular visits from polar bears!
What time did Vagabond fill up her diesel tanks (4500 litres total!)? Departure in few hours!
Strong wind and snow for the last 2 days, summer is really finished now. Last work and preparations in Ny-Alesund, with now and then some nice parties or projections with the small community of the village. Also when some boats are stopping here: the Nordsyssel, Svalbard governor's ship, could finaly drop the little cabin close to Vagabond's wintering location (the same one from 2004 to 2008); the Lance, Norwegian Polar Institute's , just finished a cruise in Fram Strait, including some work for DAMOCLES. As soon as tomorrow morning, Vagabond will be heading to Longyearbyen, with 2 passengers, Linda, in charge of the small airport of [Ny-Alesund](http://www.kingsbay.no/bins/site/templates/default.asp?_resolutionfile=templatespath|default.asp&norelay_hier_id_B27D6E0=37
&area_2=pages%2Fweather&NC=1240X), and Peter, scientific diver for Alfred Wegner Institute.
Some pictures of our summer navigations and encounters in the fjords: Spitsbergen, summer 2006
Vagabond is at Ny-Alesund since 1st September. France and I are preparing the third winter and are using the facilities of the AWIPEV Research Base. Varnishing, painting, servicing and various maintenance, cleaning, packing, sorting out, supplying of food... activities are many and varied on board! Between 2 jobs, we are exploring the surroundings with mountain bikes pulled by our dogs, paddling at sunset between drifting ice in the great King's Bay, watching the reindeers or polar foxes coming right into the village, talking - and sharing a drink - with scientists or technicians... a talk about our 2 first winters in Spitsbergen is planned here on 12 September, and we will also jump into the jacuzzi!
Oceania, Maria S. Merian, Lance, Vagabond, as many vessels involved in DAMOCLES, and meeting up this summer in Longyearbyen. On their side, Kapitan Dranytsin and Tara are about to meet in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. More info on www.damocles-eu.org. Meeting memories... A bord d'Oceania à Longyearbyen