"From the blue moment around noon, that we had in the time of our arrival two weeks ago, the day has got longer and longer. In the beginning of this week the blue time reached the 8 am weather observation and today finally the sun climbed over the horizon. By careful planning of timing our expedition exactly managed to catch the first 30 seconds of the returning sun. It was an euphoric sunny moment and definitely worth bringing both sunglasses and sun lotion! What a great moment on Teiknarneset! The ice edge is kilometres out in Storfjorden now. Yesterday's scientific expedition of two frozen girls in minus 25°C and three inpatient dogs revealed ice thickness's up to 1 meter in the middle of Inglefieldbukta. Helle and Sanja"
"Three days with no wind at all, have touched us with the impressive variations of the sounds of the sea ice. Several times we have been sure that a polar bear was playing basket ball with the scooter or that polar pirates were shooting at us with cannons...Sanja tested the strength of the same fascinating substance by trying to make a hole for swimming. After an hour of effort she decided to have a traditional Finnish slush bath instead. Helle was meanwhile very busy studying in a traditional Danish way...inside in the warmth! Helle and Sanja"
"During breakfast yesterday we had two bears at the boat. This is more effective to wake up than coffee! The first went to sleep behind our drinkingwater-reservoir iceberg:-\ until the second came and chased him away. Beautiful view with the two bears in front of the glacier wall! Today, great long sledging trip to the ice edge...we realised how remote we actually are...strange feeling but we enjoy it a lot! Hilsen fra, Helle & Sanja"
Christophe Agnus, rédacteur en chef de Nautilus, était à bord de l'hélico mercredi dernier, il raconte dans son blog.
Dans le journal de ce jour, Prisonniers volontaires des glaces.
France and I are in Tromso for a couple of weeks, here are the latest news from the boat: "After waving goodbye to the helicopter with Eric and France, we were stroked by a strange atmosphere of total silence and responsibility for the dogs and the boat. The evening went by fine though with cosy dog time and afterwards lots of Swiss chocolate brought by the helicopter :-). Yesterday has been very white, since we had a snowstorm all day. We hope better weather for today to finally go dog sledging and discover the surroundings of the small Vagabond-bay. It seems that the polar bears are not interested at all of our company: still waiting for the first visit from our furry neighbours. Hilsen fra, Helle & Sanja"
Without shovel, we wouldn't be much up here. We have been using them all day: digging out the dinghy to put it on land before pack ice would swallow it up, recovering 2 dog houses stuck to the permafrost under one meter of wind packed snow, and often taking out the snowmobile from getting stuck...
International evening on board yesterday: Elin from Norway, Sanja from Finland, Helle from Denmark, Sébastien from Switzerland, and France and me.
A lot of snow these last days, and a sky too cloudy to enjoy the full moon. The light is there at midday, but nevertheless, we must wait 2 more weeks to see the sun rising. The first team is on the way, we are expecting her this morning, we didn't see anybody since last year ! Elin and Seb are driving Sanja and Helle who will stay on board for about 3 or 4 weeks. 4 of them are working at UNIS, the university of Longyearbyen (www.unis.no).
Yesterday, the equivalent chill temperature went down to -60°C : -29°C actual reading, and 25 knots of wind. A good scarf is nice to go and get some ice at the closest iceberg, to make water! This Sunday morning, the stove had stopped during the night and it was only -6°C inside the boat... Thanks to the central heating, we were soon back in the warmth (+15°C). On the whole, the impact of the little base Vagabond on the environment seems to me quite reasonable : we are using only 7 litres of diesel per day, on average during the 9 months wintering period, and half a litre of paraffin per day during the polar night. This is for heating, lighting (+ about a hundred candles), cooking (on the stove, no use of propane), and making electricity (when wind generator and solar panel are not enough).
That's it! The cable eaten by the dogs last November is temporarily fixed, and we can listen to the radio again, when propagation is fine. A way not to be too much disconnected from the world... In French, we get only Radio France Internationale, and by the way, we'll be live by phone on Monday 29 January at 12:40, with Arielle Cassim. The day before, France will answer questions to Sandrine Mercier on France Inter at about 16:45! It is always a pleasure to share our daily life, some are thinking we live on another planet... Did you know vagabond means planet in Greek?
Since October 2004 that Vagabond is set up at Inglefield Bay, her environment became familiar to us. What was an adventure at the beginning is now part of our daily life. So the polar bear visits (2 more yesterday, flare and searchlight were enough), or the storms. Barometer went 45mb down within less than 2 days, temperature increased from -32 to -4°C. Pressure is rising again now, it's -14°C with up to 45 knots of wind, so -44°C equivalent chill temperature! Thanks to low temperatures (about -30°C for one week), pack ice is stronger, let's hope it will withstand to all next storms. Pack ice became also better to move on. On 15 January, we could measure 22cm of ice thickness, with 30cm of snow on top, including 17cm in the water (negative free-board): pack ice was 'sinking' under the weight of the snow, all was soaked. On 19 January, at the same place, ice was 42cm, snow 12cm (positive free-board +2cm): ice was 'dry' under a thin layer of snow, great conditions for dog sled ging! On land, snow is so much that we need skis or snow shoes to go anywhere.