Ice were about to keep Vagabond near Narsaq, we had to work hard to find our way out of the fjords! So much that we broke our sonar. Then, it was open water all the way up to Nuuk, where we spent two days near the yacht of a little Austrian family about to attempt the North-West Passage. On June 9th morning, a short while after our arrival, the French Ambassador came to visit us to invite the entire crew to French Days in Nuuk. This was absolutely not expected, and we were very glad to meet again with Max Audibert, Jean-Christophe Victor, Henriette Rasmussen, Pierre Tavernier... around a nice buffet with French cheese and wine! The following day, Max came for a little party on board, as we were happy being together again (we met in 2000 on the East Coast), also to say goodbye to our team mates Léa and Vincent (now going surfing in Iceland), and for my birthday. For Léonie and Aurore, the best moment of our stop in Nuuk was at the swimming pool. It could be more than a year before we will see again a real city.
News about Vagabond on Carlos' blog, our friend Chef at French Embassy in Tunisia:
Vagabond is leaving Ipiutaq guest farm, and is heading for Nuuk, Greenland's capital. Arrival is planned in two days. The junior seamen Arthur and Arnoul are staying with Jacky Simoud, and will be back to school in Brest by the end of the week. Jacky is French and has been leaving in Greenland for 35 years, he promised to get our two crews busy up to their departure! He was on board last night, at anchor at Ipiutaq, for a little party with Agathe, her husband Kalista, and their daughter Ina, same age than Léonie. We have been waiting for this moment for a long time, to share our experiences with this little French-Greenlandic family. They are breeding sheeps and have a guest house. Somehow, there are many similarities between holding a remote farm in Greenland, and keeping a floating hut in the Arctic.
Three days ago, after sailing through and around drifting ices (and their many seals!) for a long time, keeping us away from Cape Farewell, Vagabond entered the magnificent fjords of South Greenland. It took us three weeks, since our departure from Brest, to meet up again: France, Léonie and Aurore have been expecting us for already nine days in Narsaq! It is also there that our friend Carlos joined our crew, and we are now eight people on board. A few pieces of ice taken on our way allowed us to have some good fresh water, until we could fill up tanks yesterday from a nice waterfall.
It is still early in the season, and drifting ices are pushing Vagabond and her crew away from Cape Farewell. After several lows, ices will soon start playing with our track! We will probably not see the famous cape, but weather forecast is quite good for us to meet again with icy waters and then fjords. The next ice chart will tell us more tomorrow. And maybe Aurore, Léonie and France will see us arrive in Narsaq on June 2nd or 3rd.
For now, on board, Léa, Vincent, Arthur, Arnoul, Piem and I are living together nicely in less rough conditions, and are dreaming about a glass of really fresh water.
When leaving Kilmore and her Fish and Chips on 17th May, Vagabond sailed across the Irish Sea, protected from Westerly winds, up to Port Ellen, on Islay Island, in Scotland. Technical stop on 19th May before crossing the North Atlantic Ocean to Greenland: the auto pilot is working again, also the winch, fresh water tanks are full...
Amazing coincidence, we are moored for these few hours near Damien's sail boat, on his way to Spitsbergen. He was working at Ny Alesund for IPEV and took care of our dogs Jin, Frost and Imiaq when Vagabond left Svalbard (summer 2009). At least I meet him, he is wearing a Tee-Shirt Vagabond and has nice pictures of our dogs in his boat!
Then, it is a quite difficult progress to the West, doing our best with each low passing over (we don't count them anymore!). Not much good winds for this rough trip, in conditions getting a bit more complicate with sea water in diesel or leaking windows, for instance... Our main goal is to reach Greenland with minimum damaged on Vagabond and on her heavy equipment and supplies. Fortunately, there is a good spirit on board, six of us are well sea adapted now, and know more and more about the boat. Few pilot whales and many birds, watched mainly when weather is better. For Christian, our faithful and important weather advisor, "the crew will remember this cruise for a long time". Despite the strong westerly winds forecast from tomorrow, drifting ice are still surrounding pretty much Cape Farewell (Southern tip of Greenland).
France, Léonie and Aurore, if the Island's volcano agree (no yet black sand on Vagabond's deck!), should arrive tonight in Narsaq, South of Greenland, where they will wait for us, for a few days or more.
Moving departure from Brest, last Friday. Followed by four Greenlandic kayaks, and the yacht of the Junior Seamen School, Vagabond slowly headed north, heavily loaded for another long polar mission.
Pictures of final preparations.
Short stop at Isles of Scilly Saturday night, before meeting up with Oceanopolis film team in Kilmore, South Ireland, for more shooting of "Octave and Zoe". Very nice day among birds yesterday.
Vagabond will be sailing from Brest on Friday, May 13th... around 13:00! Final preparations and loading supplies, thank you very much to all our partners.
In two trips at sea, to shoot a feature film on biodiversity, on the initiative of Oceanopolis, a ROV was take onboard. Conclusive tests for future missions.