No pack ice in Brittany, where Vagabond's crew is spending the winter, but clams: the Mye Truncata, the same species as the one fished under sea ice near Qikiqtarjuaq, for the last three years, for GreenEdge. And also scallops, spider crabs... happy kayaking and fishing trips in the bay of Morlaix, thanks to our friends Josée and Jean-Marc.
What a pleasure to skate on a frozen lake in Sweden! We were missing ice, in Brittany, far from Vagabond hibernating alone in Labrador... This Nordic getaway was also an opportunity to share with the French students in Stockholm. A big thanks to Sebastien Roubinet, who is preparing for his Arctic Ocean crossing, and to the André family, about to leave for a round the world bike tour!
Vagabond is currently on dry dock in Goose Bay in Labrador until late spring 2017, while her crew is in Brittany for the winter. No Inuktitut at school for children this year, but classmates who speak French or even Breton! From a scientific congress to an adventure film festival, from a boat show to talks in schools, future projects are emerging little by little. They might not only take place in the Arctic, but they should always be related to scientific campaigns in remote areas, and we will keep sharing them. See also news.
Vagabond is rarely docked in Brest, his home port, but a model of the sailboat is now installed in the Polar Pavilion of Océanopolis, with video and pictures of her expeditions. The small red hull and her family crew are a simple mean to attract audiences wishing to learn more about scientific research in the polar region, and about the culture and way of life of Arctic people. Our privileged relationship with the Inuit, who appointed us Honorary Rangers in Northern Canada in 2012, allows us to help establishing fruitful exchanges between scientists and locals, and to work better together. It is today important for scientists to take account of ancestral knowledge to organize the field campaigns and to analyse the results.
Le matin de l'arrivée à Goose Bay nous sommes allés nous promener et nous sommes tombés sur quelqu’un qui est allé à Grise Fiord. Elle nous a fait faire le tour de la ville dans sa voiture puis elle nous l'a prêtée pour le reste de la journée.
Nous sommes allés au resto, au parc, puis à l'aéroport. Le lendemain matin papa est allé se renseigner pour sortir le bateau de l'eau, ils ont dit cette après-midi ou demain.
4 jours plus tard nous avons pris l'avion mais pas de bol, le deuxième a été annulé à cause d'un problème technique. Nous sommes arrivés à Paris !
A gale is coming. Suddenly, in the night, a strong smell of burnt rubber is coming from the engine room: one of the propeller shafts is breaking with the engine! Eric manages to immobilize it with a rope and clamps. A home made repair to avoid loosing the shaft and the propeller, which would mean a big leak. We are not very comfortable with only one engine and we lost a bit of time, Vagabond ends up fighting against 35 knots of wind and swell just before a lovely steep sided pass.
Then we reach out a good shelter where we discover Pachamama! For several years we have been in touch with Dario. This year, after passing Bellot Strait at the end of her Northwest Passage, Pachamama decided to follow Vagabond through Fury and Hecla Strait. We were looking forward to meet the crew, for a good reason: on board are living Dario, his wife Sabina, and their five children, aged from 11 years to 10 months! Léonie and Aurore are so happy to meet them.
Few hours later, a third boat arrives in the small bay, Caledonia. It is a beautiful yacht taking Jorgen and Claudia to warmer waters, after the Northwest Passage. Such a marina here is surprising!
We just reached the "Tree Line" and the first walk gives us a pretty big change: a high enough vegetation to hide in, some mini coniferous forests (about 1.20m!), all kinds of berries and blueberries in abundance! For a year we didn't enjoy so much greenness and we all love it.
Well moored, the three boats wait for the gale to go away. However, Léonie is the first to see two black bears on the bank!
At the next sunrise, sailing south again, we exult discovering real trees, tall conifers, other black bears busy on the shoreline, and surprising sand dunes. It is a dreaming sailing until Nain, the northern most inhabited village in Labrador.
Il y a à peu près une semaine, nous sommes arrivés au Labrador tous les quatre. Yves et Céline nous ont quitté à Kimmirut. Dès le premier jour, j'ai vu un groupe de caribous et un peu plus tard maman a vu un ours, c'était super.
Un ou deux jours plus tard, en allant dans un abri, on retrouve Pachamama, un bateau qu'on connait ! Après s'être défoulé, on se retrouve à bord de leur bateau. Là on joue avec les enfants et ils nous invitent même à dîner, et on apprend que Caledonia, un autre bateau, va arriver vers 6h. Le lendemain, au moment de déjeuner, je vois un ours noir, on prévient les autres bateaux et papa en voit un deuxième, vraiment c'était génial !
Arrival on Labrador. Vagabond takes the narrow passage which cuts Labrador's nose from west to east. First, this option give us two hours of rest, due to over 6 knots of current that pushes Vagabond backwards, even with all her sails on! The current whirls are impressive. Finally we can sail at high speed the 15 miles of the strait. We see 5 caribous, a polar bear, and also williwaws carrying very high water whirls in 50 knots gusts. Once on the East coast of Labrador, we discover another world, with myriad of islands, capricious winds and currents playing in these reliefs.