• Lune en tete de mat

Winter solstice, northern lights and moonlight.

Vagabond is securely set up for winter, frozen in a beautiful pack ice (60cm thick already). After the solstice, days are getting longer! Before the sun returns, mid-January, our family crew will celebrate Christmas and New Year with the Inuit community of Qikiqtarjuaq, on the East coast of Baffin Island, Nunavut (Canada).

Ice, polar bear, northern lights and trucks

  • Leonie et Aurore rapportent niche
  • Aurore et Leonie partent en voiture a l'ecole
  • Collecte eau douce dans riviere
  • Collecte de glace

First collect of ice from a nearby iceberg, to get good fresh water. We filled up a second container in the river that still flows under the snow, south of the village.

A lot of northern lights these days.

One night, an Arctic hare toured the boat and explore the surrounding area, probably disappointed to find nothing to put in his mouth!

Johnny is proud to be the first to come to Vagabond by truck this year! Two days later, Steevie came to pick up the girls to go to school, without warning! By kindness and for the pleasure of driving on the ice with his new car.

Burger and seal meat party at local Coffee Shop, re-opened a few days ago and which offers snacks, soft drinks, teas and coffees. The building rented as a base camp for Green Edge project is unrecognizable!

On the way home after school, we meet fresh polar bear tracks, not far from Vagabond. He played with a dead raven, probably the one that was hanging on the fence of Johnny's dog yard, on the nearby peninsula, to scare away other ravens. Time for us to have dogs, to warn us in case of a visit, especially in this polar night period. Mary and Sam give us Anuu, he adapts quickly to his new environment.

Two days work to disassemble the engine of one of Takuvik's snowmobile, which must be repaired before the start of GreenEdge 2016.

The crate delivered by boat in September, is finally brought to the boat: 400kg of grocery and dog food, ordered last June!

When the dark period begins...

  • Nunavut Research Institute a Iqaluit
  • Visite Alice et Pauloosie
  • Avec Michele Therrien au Coffee Shop de Qikiqtarjuaq
  • Presentation Michele Therrien et Julie Sansoulet

In order to record stories from Qikiqtarjuaq inhabitants, especially about their food from hunting and fishing, Michele Therrien and Julie Sansoulet came for a few days to prepare workshops that will take place in May. These studies are part of the GreenEdge project which will continue next spring to study the spring phytoplankton bloom, the origin of the food chain.

Michele has learnt Inuktitut in Nunavik (northern Quebec), and then has been teaching it for a long time. Her knowledge on Inuit language and culture is amazing for our friends from Qikiqtarjuaq, as well as her passion for stories! She offers us the opportunity to share more with elders who do not speak English, we are very happy to know them better, and vice versa.

Sunday, while Michele and Julie were on board Vagabond, we had the visit from Pauloosie Keyootak member of the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut. Due to lack of seat in the plane, he could not join us last Wednesday for an important meeting at the Nunavut Research Institute in Iqaluit, we gave him a brief report. Then his wife Alice decided to pose with him for a photograph in front of our small Christmas tree!

Going to school

  • Lunch chez Joannassie
  • Debut de nuit polaire

This morning, our snowmobile is down, we walk to school, it takes almost an hour.

At noon, Joannassie and his family invite us to eat Arctic char and narwhal skin (maktak).

After school, when our snowmobile plunged into the night, on newly formed sea ice, heading back to Vagabond, I ask Aurore, sitting in front of me, holding the handlebars, "Are you OK Aurore?". It is -30°C. She replied: "Yes, yes, I'm singing the alphabet in English."

Arriving at the boat, Leonie and Aurore rush to the swings, set up the day before!


  • Leonie et Aurore retrouvent l'ecole de Qikiqtarjuaq
  • Traces de roues sur la banquise au claire de lune

Sunday, November 22, Qikiqtarjuaq. Very warm welcome, our friends are worried since November 13 events in Paris. It was not easy to leave France and say bye to our relatives.

Our stopover in Ottawa is an opportunity for a last swim in a pool! In Iqaluit, we wait for three days due to bad weather (cancelled flight), so we have time to see some friends and discover more about the capital of Nunavut.

Arriving in Qikiqtarjuaq, happy reunion in the crowded airport, Valentine and Vincent give us Vagabond's key, Yves lend us a snowmobile and Jaypootie shows us the way because the ice is too thin to cross straight to the boat. Vagabond is welcoming, it is installed in the same place for the third consecutive winter. Dinner only needs to be reheated!

Aurore and Léonie are delighted to go to Inuksuit school again, to see their teachers and their friends. France and I are already busy getting things ready here for the coming projects. Valentine, Vincent and Diego, who watched over Vagabond in our absence, delayed their departure and settled in the village for a few days.

The sun is now leaving us until January 14. -32°C, parkas and kamiks are out, the sea ice is almost 40 cm thick around the boat, full moon floods the landscape with silvery light, we celebrate 6 years of Aurore!

Staying connected with France, especially with the beginning of COP21.

Back on board Vagabond as a family

  • Diego et Valentine sur jeune banquise devant Vagabond

We were two persons when we took care of Vagabond in 2013, this time we came back as a family as Diego (8 weeks old) is part of the trip. For the past 10 days, the boat has become his new home, he adapted very fast and seems to enjoy it a lot! Our days (and nights…) are organised depending on Diego’s naps and meals, our trips outside on the sea ice, as well as doing maintenance on the boat.

Those days, the sea ice is freezing up, always a great time of the year! The sun comes out of the mountains only 3 hours per day, northern lights are all over the sky, signs of the start for a new polar night. We were isolated on board for the past 10 days because the sea ice was too fragile to walk to the village. Today, Vincent managed to get there and we will go the 3 of us tomorrow as we can not wait to spend time with our inuit friends!


The ice is completely gone Sunday night with 20 knots of wind for several hours. The entire floe started to drift but Vagabond held on and dug through its channel. Nearly 3cm of ice have reformed that night, it's still possible to go to town by dinghy, thanks to local boat tracks. Vincent, who is looking after Vagabond while we are away, returned to the grocery store in the village with the prospect of reduced mobility in the coming days.

Getting ready for winter

  • Plongee avec Yves pour changement anodes
  • Goatamie Leelee et Eric fiord du Couronnement
  • Tournage glacier Couronnement
  • Fin d une belle sortie en kayak

Starting the engines, weighing anchor, leaving the village... I rarely sailed solo on board Vagabond. It's pretty exhilarating, even if I'm not going far, just to the other side of the strait that separates Baffin Island from Broughton Island, in the small protected bay where Vagabond will spend a third winter.

On September 19, I embark with Goatamie, Leelee, Lizzi, Sarah, Sheema and the two journalists (TF1) to Coronation Fiord. A beautiful place to speak about the Arctic and its role as sentinel of the global climate.

The weather remains good: perfect for a kayak trip with Yves, who tries an Eskimo roll (!), then a short climb to get photos from the camera installed on the nearby summit, and a dive under the hull to change the propellers anodes.

The weather deteriorates, I am forced to stay on board, time to store and clean. The wind is pushing the drifting ice and I'm not awakened any more by violent and sudden shocks of ice against the hull! The landscape whitens quickly under the fresh snow.

The supply ship arrives and drops anchor not far from Vagabond, sheltering for two days, until conditions permit offloading the numerous vehicles and supplies expected by villagers. The next ship will not come until August 2016.

Our boat is ready for winter, waiting for the sea to freeze. Leaving it at anchor, saying goodbye to our friends, I'm leaving Qikiqtarjuaq for a few weeks. Moved, but happy to meet with Aurore, Leonie and France in Brittany soon.

Stopover in Quebec for four days to discuss with the Green Edge team at Takuvik, to give a talk at Musee of Civilization, and to meet with Valentine and Vincent at their home. They present me Diego, born September 16th. All three are preparing to fly to Qikiqtarjuaq to watch Vagabond during our absence.

Ilutalik, there is a house

  • Jaypootie decouvre les fonds de sa baie
  • Chez Joanasie a Ilutalik
  • Conditions ideales pour baptemes de plongee a Ilutalik 6 septembre
  • Plongeurs aident Jaypootie pour enfiler combinaison

I have been dreaming about coming back here in summer. Last time, with a colleague and Jaypootie, we were measuring the ice thickness in the area, by snowmobile. We slept in his father's cabin, Joannassie, who lived most of his life here. Narwhals are gathering every summer in the neighboring fiord. So when Laurent Marie told me about his projects, I had an idea in mind...

It is so great to meet them all here, at home. After the avalanche in May, after fishing, hunting or scientific trips, our relations are strong.

Joannassie, Jaypootie, and their families, have warmly welcomed Laurent's team. Jay agreed to be filmed, "I'm gonna be famous!". Then I was happy to see Jay diving with my suit (although I could not dive with him because no more suit!). At the beginning of July, it was him holding the rope when I was diving under the ice looking for coralline (algae that allows to study the climate of the ocean over many centuries). Beautiful and memorable day. What a gift to see almost all the family in the water. Jay, delighted to discover his garden, did not want to get out!

After listening the many advices from our friends, we keep looking for narwhals... Follow Vagabond's journey here.