• Ski chiens
  • David en partance pour Akshayuk Pass
  • France labo Vagabond

The pace is setting up, tasks look more and more routines, and Caroline is coming tomorrow to help. Bloom has started and it is not to miss the event, it is the object of the study commissioned by Takuvik!

The sequence spans two days. Ice station at 20 km southeast of Vagabond, where we installed the weather mast and the current meter: 3 hydrographic profiles + light intensity + fluorescence, down to 100 meters, then water sampling (5 meters depth), and ice cores. Vagabond's Lab (aft cabin): treatment and various filtrations (10 different protocols!), the same day for water, the following day for ice once melted. Here we go again, until the ice breaks up.

Without wind, in the sun, it is almost hot now, mid-day (-15°C, but -27°C in the morning). Perfect for a good family picnic yesterday Sunday. Or for a ski-dog ride Saturday. Early last week, David pitched his tent next to Vagabond for two days before going to Pangnirtung by bike! It was not an April Fool. The day before, it's Charlie who came to taste our clams; nice to share with him, as he told me his techniques to collect them diving under the ice. Passing near the dive site last Thursday, I saw a mother bear and her little cub. We also meet great people in town, or when we have visitors on board...

Starting and running scientific field work (continued)

  • Carotte du 26 mars
  • Labo Vagabond

Takuli and Piculi, two friendly huskies, have become the guardians of our camp. The ice seems to have swung entirely into spring; the sun shines, the days lengthen, seven hours of sunshine per day currently. A huge tabular iceberg has also topple after fracturing, leaving a chaos of ice remarkable between the boat and the village.

About science, the setting up is intensive. For six hours of fieldwork on the ice (alone, two persons or family) for ice cores, hydrographic survey and water sampling, it then takes five hours non-stop in the aft cabin to do the second part of the work: filtrations of water, mixed with some toxic products, meticulous and varied protocols... all in our makeshift lab where it is not so hot (7°C)! No much time left for family life, additional school, playing with children or nice cooking, excluding routine maintenance of the boat... And yet, it does not include all the required filtrations. We would need more than 24 hours to do the daily work required! Protocols currently being adjusted.

In the village, some are beginning to go for few days with family hunting or fishing. Last Sunday, the diving hole south of Broughton Island was a good rallying point for those who took advantage of the nice day. After a big collect of clams, Eric drove the whole family in the sheltered qamutiq, back to the boat and in the lab for a few more hours of water filtrations...

Starting and running scientific field work

  • Reglage capteur de vent

9 hours on sea ice, this is the first effective fieldwork day for Takuvik. Wonderful sunny Saturday, the whole family is out. The weather mast is set up, the auger doesn't want to drill, but after a few hours at the hamlet's workshop and some modifications later, holes are done and the ADCP (current meter) stores its data underwater, as well as the thermistor chains through the ice. A tripod, strange metallic animal, is waiting to support the CTD. The corer has trouble to deliver its first ice core, but it works better after a few adjustments... So goes the trial period.

Not far from us, others are diving to collect clams, or searching for seals. Everybody is busy on the great white ocean!

Enjoying the ice

  • Un dimanche sur la banquise
  • Epaisseur banquise Qikiqtarjuaq 7mars2014
  • Reception 640kg de materiel scientifique

Friday, the icemeter surveyed about 100km of fjords, south of Qikiqtarjuaq, to the entrance of North Pangnirtung Fiord. Beautiful. A privilege to travel on a smooth ice, although snowy, surrounded by mountains and fascinating cliffs.

At the end of the fjord starts Akshayuk Pass, which crosses Auyuittuq National Park to Pangnirtung. It attracts hikers and adventurers of all kinds, summer and winter. Among the first of the season, despite still low temperatures, four runners visited us on board Vagabond before attempting to run the 140km within 48 hours. Soon there will be an attempt by bike! Usually in this season are skiers.

Saturday, with Leelee, we went seal hunting, but we only found breathing holes that had not been used recently... empty-handed. Anyway, it was a great day on the ice!

Sunday, south of Broughton Island, in a nice and warm cabin, Sammy, Philip, Yves and Eric got ready to dive under the ice, helped by wifes and children. Nobody gets tired of these shared moments and everyone feasts on clams.

Thirty boxes of scientific equipment sent by the team of Takuvik finally arrived yesterday... the same day as the first chicks hatch! Swiss residents have brought eggs and made ​​an incubator here, to the amazement of Inuit who had never seen chicks!

It's now time for scientific field work!

more images.

Party in town

  • Commemoration secours exceptionnel

We just returned from a party in the village for a special event: it is the anniversary of an important search and rescue which took place last year. A man was lost for seven days while travelling by skidoo; he was found alive, he had no food and temperature was around -30°C... His father's speech, although in Inuktitut, was moving.

On our side, we are surviving very well on board Vagabond, everyone has a smile, even if cold hands are sometimes unavoidable for smaller ones!

Another world

  • Degager le sable pour trouver des clams
  • Charlie remonte avec sac de clams

Less than a meter of ice is separating us from another world. The water is clear in winter, sunlight passes through the snow and ice, and the rich underwater life contrasts with the apparent white desert at the surface. Diving into water at -2°C, when it is -30°C outside, represents some constraints, but the show is unforgettable. It's mostly a chance to follow Charlie, one of the few divers in Nunavut collecting clams for a living, and to enjoy his warm shelter above the hole!

More news in pictures; see also Leonie's blog and album.