Breaking ice, keeping the stove, feeding the dogs, doing the weather report, running the generator for two hours... naturally we went on with our daily routines. I was looking forward to be back on board, and it was really great to find Vagabond kept in so good condition. Luckily, for 3 days, moon and northern lights were offering us a beautiful festival, on our best pack ice. For now, with her little head lamp, Léonie is above all happy visiting the dogs, looking after our small camp.
"Back home... This is with a strong emotion that we have seen the headlights coming closer from the back of the bay with the light of a beautiful full moon. We hadn’t seen people for three months and it was amazing to welcome six people on-board. It was a pleasure to see the Léonie’s happiness finding again her « home boat » and to share a meal with so much things to tell about. After a short night, it was time to leave France and Eric alone to their turn in this wonderful place. Three guides on snowmobiles have driven us during 4 hours through the snow-capped valleys and glaciers with a temperature of -35°C, so the lights of Longyearbyen have been welcome! We have left Vagabond and our friends the dogs with some unforgettable pictures and emotions. Before our return in France we are lucky to stay for one week in Svalbard, living at Anton and Priitta’s home. We are helping them to take care of their fifty sledge dogs. How great it is to drive a dog team! We than k Eric and France who gave us the opportunity to live this extraordinary experience on board Vagabond and they know that if they need, it would be no problem for us to go back on-board…" Amélie, Hervé et Nael.
Despite the cold (-33°C) and the 4 hours by snowmobile, to go to Vagabond, Léonie (2 years old) was suddenly very exciter to find her boat and the dogs! And Nael (5 years old) was very happy to make her laugh by telling stories, after 3 months on board... The "pal" left today with his parents, Amélie and Hervé, under a great full moon, escorted by our 3 friends guides, Erik, Sveinenung and Tommy.
"The most beautiful present: to be here ! There’s still another fifteen days to make the most of the luck to be on Vagabond. Our Christmas carols had been the orchestra of the nature: a strong blizzard blowing in gusts. It didn’t stop and still blows at the moment. We had to clear the kennels filled by the snow but the dogs often prefers staying outside rolling themselves into a ball, in that way, the layer of snow insulates them against the cold. We are waiting a better weather to resume the ice measurements on the ice floe. We are beginning to think about our return in our everyday life and we already know that it will be enriched by this unique experience giving us a real impetus. What a lot of things to talk about and to share. But for moment, we have just to enjoy!" Amélie
Nael, Amélie and Hervé are getting ready to celebrate Christmas on board Vagabond, in the middle of the polar night. Meanwhile, Léonie, France and me discovered few lost icebergs in Brittany... Merry Christmas to all of you ! Eric
"A very special Christmas. On Vagabond, I am preparing Christmas’s day with dad and mum. I have asked to the dogs to yap as soon as they will see Father Christmas, like that, I perhaps could see him. I am lucky because his house must be close by. We have decorated inside, and because there isn’t any tree in Spitsbergen, we have made a cardboard one, and France and Eric let us some tinsels. We are going to prepare a good meal and to make a big chocolate cake. There’s a lot of snow here, the boat is still in the ice and I go with dad and mum on pack ice to measure the thickness of the snow and ice. Now I can write all the letters from the alphabet and I can read some words. I also write to my school friends with mum. I am very happy to be here and to do so many things. Happy Christmas to everybody!!!" Nael (5 years old)
"The pleasure of walking on the ice. In this white, quiet, pure nature, never all our senses have been so lively. For example, it's amazing to feel how different is the sound of our steps on the ice, depending on its appearance and on the snow fallen. It can be a creak or on the contrary a rustling. In fact, sensations change every day and this is the same for all the other senses. At the moment, the weather is calm and before decreasing again, temperatures have been surprisingly high (+2°C), even bringing some raindrop. Every other days, we move away from the boat walking for some hundreds meters in order to do some ice measurements. Arrived to an exact point, we make a hole with an ice drill, to measure the ice thickness and the snow one. We follow a line on witch there is five holes each 50 meters. Then, data are sent to the Polar Institute in Tromso. What a satisfaction to mix work with pleasure!" Amélie
"A festival of light. Just imagine: the snow sparkling on the ground, a clear starry sky, the crescent moon and all around us a red and green curtain of light moving, changing forms. Polar lights are one of the most beautiful sight giving by the nature. They come from solar eruptions and those particles in the form of dust soaks by the Hallen's shield witch is the magnetic shield of the earth. This is a amazing sight that you can admire without never tiring. We are lucky because it's unusual to see this phenomena when the moon appears and we had it during three days! We don't hesitate to go outside during the night to make pictures or just for pleasure. We enjoy walking on the ice floe lighted up and since few days we take more measurements of ice. Inside, Nael has begun to put in Christmas decorations he made himself. It's a feast for the eyes everywhere!" Amélie