Merry Christmas! by Valentine and Vincent

  • Au creux de l'aurore
  • Pickup pres de Vagabond

For 3 weeks now, we are able to walk to the village on the sea ice, so we are back to our routine back and forth from the boat as well as having visitors on board. Some of them met France and Eric in Grise Fiord, where they left their mark during their stay. People are often asking about them, and girls at school are waiting for Leonie to come back!

We have a dog since yesterday. Putsch, rather small and very friendly, lent by Jayputee.

At the beginning of December, everyone got ready for the winter : checking the skidoos, preparing the seal nets, doing the first trip away fishing on the ice, looking for « agluus » (holes maintained by the seals to breath) and building a new qamutik (wooden sled)! It is a great pleasure to discover those activities and it is amazing to participate.

We also spent time at the school to do talks about some of our expedition trips and to answer kids’ questions. In the end, the students participated in a project organised by Valentine: describe their day-to-day life to the kids « down south », what they like, which game they play, what they do after school or just what they feel like sharing with them by drawing, writing, filming, etc. An amazing adventure!

Big surprise one morning, a friend came to pick us up… by car! « As soon as the sea ice is solid enough (more than 35 cm) and not too covered by snow, the inuk uses his car » he said looking at our astonished faces! Few days later, 4 big pick-ups arrived next to the boat! Maybe we should start organising a parking lot!!! People of the village are still nevertheless mainly travelling by skidoos and very nicely often give us a lift back. Watch out for that offer: you will need to cover every square cm of your skin.. The outside temperature is now -30 degrees, so the one behind a full-speed skidoo is… quite refreshing!

Here like everywhere else, Christmas is on its way: each house has now its lights and (plastic) tree, everyone talks about the games organised during a week between Christmas and New Year’s and the school concert yesterday was the start of all festivities!

Valentine by Vincent, Vincent by Valentine

  • Valentine et Vincent

After graduating with a Master’s degree in International Affairs, and after two years as an auditor for a major financial company, Valentine Ribadeau Dumas changed course in the direction of her true passion. For the past ten years she has been at sea or on land, running logistics for scientific and exploratory expeditions around the world. By applying her background and experience in administration and logistics, Valentine has contributed to important missions on the field in a variety of roles: expedition logistics manager, crew member on sailing boats, cetacean research captain at the Mingan Island Cetacean Study (MICS) and in several projects abroad. Valentine began exploring the Arctic as co-first-mate in Svalbard aboard a polar sail boat. Then she worked in Resolute Bay (Nunavut, Canada) for an Arctic diving mission (“Deepsea Under the Pole”) and for the “Catlin Arctic Survey” scientific expedition. In 2012 and in 2013, she spent several months aboard the “Students On Ice” sailing boat, a research and logistic base in the Arctic for various projects around Baffin Bay. The wilderness of Polar Regions and the Inuit culture inspire and fascinate her. She started communicating about the lessons we could learn from there and the challenges to face in the next years. Today taking care of Vagabond represents a unique way of staying in the Arctic, living close to the community of Qikiqtarjuaq.

Vincent Berthet spent five years of his childhood living at sea on a school-boat, learning how to sail and navigate in the Caribbean region. On board, the crew participated in archaeology and ethnology missions with native Americans. They also filmed their adventures and day-to-day life, an opportunity for Vincent to discover his passion for filming. Back in France, he graduated from a cinema school and then worked for a company producing documentaries, taking care of the preparation and logistics for a lot of shootings in various countries. In 2008, he joined a sailing expedition “Around North America” as a cameraman. From Alaska to Norway through the Panama Canal, he is in charge of all the videos and pictures of the expedition. During summer 2009, he decided to work in eco-tourism in Spitsbergen, trekking on glaciers and sailing in fjords, discovering then the polar regions. After this new experience, he moved to Quebec in Canada. In 2010, he was a member of the Under The Pole Project which aim was to dive under the Arctic sea-ice between the Geographical North Pole and Canada (Movie: "Deepsea Under The Pole"). 45 days were spent on the sea-ice, sled-hauling and living by -50°C. In 2012, he explored the East coast of Greenland kayaking during 51 days (Movie: “Ice trap”). Finally in 2013, he was the partner of Sebastien Roubinet for the expedition “La Voie du pôle”, an attempt to cross the whole Arctic Ocean from Alaska to Norway with an ice boat. Today aboard Vagabond, he enjoys his first polar night and he is watching the boat getting iced in.

Links:, Catlin Arctic Survey, Students on Ice, Arctic Tern, 69nord, Under The Pole, Wide, La Voie du Pôle.