Fin de nuit polaire

  • Un dimanche apres-midi
  • Fin stage Hip-Hop

The polar night is over for a few days in Grise Fiord, but the sun is still hidden by clouds! The polar night is not as dark as before: the warming of the upper atmosphere leads to greater refraction of the sun.

We were about twenty people on board Vagabond yesterday to share pancakes for Mardi Gras (Shrove Tuesday). Even the Suffragan Bishop of the Diocese of the Arctic, in Grise Fiord for a few days, joined us with the faithful after Mass.

Jeffrey's dogs are now installed in front of the village, on the ice, they finally have enough snow to insulate from ice and to drink. They will leave next month for a polar bear sport hunt.

Monday night, Nolan, 12, killed his first bear, near town. Half a dozen of trucks gathered on the ice for the occasion.

No nightclub, no cinema, no bar, no restaurant... so often, in the evening, young people go for snowmobile rides on the ice! On her side, one of the teachers of the village is working hard to collect the large budget needed to take her students to Ottawa, to discover the capital of their country.

Last week, the whole village vibrated on the rhythm of the workshop "Wellness through the Hip-Hop", hosted by Buddha and his team Blue Print For Life. The final show on Friday night showed the strength of the social work carried out with youth.

The previous week, with Ummimaq school students, Meeka organized bonfire, presentations and workshops to fight against addictions.

End of January, the Nunavut Planning Commission was here to collect, on large maps, knowledge from hunters on important places to protect in the future, throughout the region.

The new management plan for narwhal has been approved, it includes an increase for Grise Fiord from 20 to 50 narwhals from Jones Sound.

Next Friday, while the asteroid 2012DA14 will be passing close to the Earth (!), the Honourable Edna Elias, Commissioner of Nunavut, will present the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Commissioner’s Awards.

On 27 January, following the arrival of the winner of the Vendée Globe, Aurore said: "I want to do the race but with our red boat." She loves to dress up as a princess, and also going to daycare from time to time, to find her friend Lily.

Léonie is delighted at the school where she improves her English and Inuktitut. Two playtime per day (regardless of the cold night!), time at the gym, time in computer room... Back on board, she regularly practice reading and writing in French.

France is looking after our crew's warm clothes: she goes to sewing courses and cleverly uses skins from seal, wolf, hare, dog... for our parkas, pants and gloves.

We sometimes miss being in the heart of the countryside, as well as collecting ice or feeding dogs, but life in Grise Fiord is full of exciting encounters.

Banquise en pleine croissance

  • Cap Sud 2 fevrier

The ice growth is 1.11 cm per day on average since mid-December. It was 0.61 cm/d at the same period last year for the same number of freezing degree-days). The small amount of snow is the main explanation: currently 2 cm against 10 cm a year ago. In addition, the recent acceleration of ice growth shows a decline in oceanic heat source.

Tightly wrapped in a sleeping bag, the icemeter (EM31) has kindly run for two hours yesterday, despite the cold: -36 °C and sustained westerly wind! In my case, I enjoyed the small Plexiglas plate that enhances the windshield 10 cm. The 60 km survey shows that the ice at the entrance of South cape Fiord is thinner, the influence of the ocean is stronger, as we observed when overwintering last year in this fjord.

For its part, the CTD shows that below 150-200 m, ie below the sills isolating the deep waters of Jones Sound, the water is not likely to have changed much in 15 years. In front of Grise Fiord, the depth rapidly exceeds 500 m!

Copépodes etc

  • Plancton 29 janvier 2013
  • Prelevement d eau pour plancton

How to collect plankton by -35°C? The technique was quite effective yesterday: make a hole and fill a large container with sea water using a pump. Bring the container inside, and before filtering, wait a bit as the water warms by just 1°C. Then the filter does not clog with ice.

On the menu: zooplankton (Copepoda) and phytoplankton (Dinoflagellate Ceratium - bottom right - and Diatom Chaetoceros - bottom left). Thank you Pierre Mollo for the identification!

Pas encore la routine

  • CTD avec Aurore
  • Ice growth from FDD at Vagabond January2013

Before receiving a proper auger, allowing us to make holes large enough to launch the CTD, we are looking for seal breathing holes. Preferably in the fractures, where the ice is thinner. Like the hunters, except that we expand the hole without waiting for the seal to come to breathe! The winch is then set up for a CTD cast. A few kilometres from the village, the depth exceeds 500 meters, impressive. Saturday, Jeffrey came back with four seals. While we brought back a few kilobytes.

A fox has eaten one of the cables of the IMB! I protected the other ones with a bit of diesel oil...

The electromagnetic inductive icemeter (EM31) is still giving me a hard time, but it should soon allow us to do long surveys of ice thickness in each of the major fjords around Grise Fiord.

The technique of sampling plankton, before sending images to the program Plankton of the World, is not yet fully developed. Net and screen are freezing too fast, and it is not easy to carry enough water to Vagabond to filter in the warm... All this quickly so that, if possible, the plankton is still alive under the microscope!

Thanks to our daily weather and ice growth data Humfrey Melling is giving us this graph that illustrates the specific character of South Cape Fiord, where Vagabond spent the winter of 2011-2012.

Banquise sous surveillance

  • Ice Mass Balance devant Grise Fiord au clair de lune

That's it, the IMB (Ice Mass Balance) was deployed yesterday on the ice, 3 km from the village. After a few transmission tests from Grise Fiord, and with the hunters' agreement, we first had to carry the equipment to the selected site and drill several holes in the ice before setting up the instruments (designed to measure and attribute thermodynamic changes in the mass balance of the sea ice cover during freezing and melting stages). Everyone will soon be able to access on the Internet all data sent daily by satellite, until early July. The IMB will be recovered before ice breaking up, certainly in a better state than the device found in August 2011! We deployed a previous version in Svalbard in spring 2006.

Rangers honoraires

  • Eric et France nommes Rangers canadiens honoraires

Tonight, Jarloo Kiguktak, the head of Grise Fiord Canadian Rangers (view interactive map), invited us to a patrol meeting. To our surprise, we were named honorary Canadian Rangers! Rangers are the eyes and ears in the North...

Yesterday evening we were invited to share the seal that Jeffrey just caught. A treat, both raw and cooked!

Surprising thaw sensation, while the temperature rose from -32°C to -22°C...

Fin des vacances scolaires

  • La peau de l'ours du 3 janvier

For Christmas, the full moon is illuminating icepack and mountains. At Grise Fiord, this is ten happy and friendly days, the best way to spend holidays in the middle of the dark period. Every evening, people are gathering in the gym for seven or eight hours of various team games. Many prizes are to be won, often useful: sleeping bag, stove, thermos, rope, skidoo oil, smoked ham, electric coffee maker... even an air ticket; our daughters won a lot (too many!) toys, but also a bilge pump and 200 litres of gas. During these ten days, roasted turkey and Santa Claus, midnight mass and fireworks are in favour. But also a seal hunt contest, traditional Inuit games, skidoo race... On January 1st evening, after having enjoyed, raw, the two seals hunted during the contest, as well as frozen caribou, Arctic char and narwhal skin, each hunter is given a satellite tracker device.

Tomorrow morning, kids are going back to school, and everyone is trying to go back to normal hours; it is even more difficult for children, used to go to bed at 5am and to wake up around 3pm!

In front of town, ice is already 80 cm thick. Around the boat, snow has been accumulated to improve insulation. Not easy because there is only 2 cm of snow on the ground, the climate is very dry.

Thursday morning, Jeffrey hunted a bear which was hanging around the community, he skinned it and cut it up with Simon near Vagabond.

Local medias are getting interested with our story (read here), and France 5 TV is today broadcasting Sur le grand ocean blanc, a documentary film about last winter.