Two things sailors dread in high latitudes: to touch an unmapped rock, to hit
an iceberg. Done for Vagabond! First the hull, in Canada, not long after
having left our wintering site. Then the nose, in Greenland, after our stop in
Nuuk. Those responsible: heavy fog and lack of vigilance at the end of a night
watch. To keep looking at the sounder and at the radar... Vagabond is strong
and take it, nothing can stop her, she continues her route with only nice
Careful, we enjoy the inside route, protected from the swell and funnier than
the offshore route. There are beacons along most of the West coast of
Greenland, for small boats, and we meet a lot of them. Despite only a few
stops, we are inside the landscape and we mix with Greenlanders. Here a
caribou on top of a rock, there a fox looking for food on a beach. Great
coastal sailing. Near Paamiut, a wreck, a big fishing boat, is calling for
caution! All the more so as the night, the real one, dark, is showing up
again, in the south of Greenland (60°N). Temperatures and vegetation are
On July 31st, we arrive at Ipiutaq, a very much
expected stop! We meet again with our friends Ina (7), Agathe and Kalista.
This little French-Greenlandic family is breeding sheeps and hosting guests in
a magnificent environment. Life at the farm, great French-Greenlandic cuisine
by Agathe, char fishing... the day is too short, we will come back!
We avoid the formidable Cape Farvel. About 100 km of fjords are allowing boats
to sail from the West coast to the East coast of Greenland, between 1500
meters high mountains. We didn't know that route in 2003 (journey around the
Arctic), and it was blocked by ice in 2011 (Brest - Grise Fiord), also we were
looking forward to discover it. On August 3rd, we drop anchor for a few hours,
then we exit the fjords when daylight is back.
Excesses and contrasts of the East coast, so wild: many glaciers and icebergs,
a lot of snow (early August!), maps ten times less detailed and not accurate
(up to one kilometre offset), strong contrary current (from the Arctic Ocean),
numerous shallows demanding to slow down, no beacon, no village, nobody along
more than 700 kilometres of coast... Only one boat seen, a tall ship, like
coming from another time!
Six meters of swell is against us, stops are needed. Twice we find a fine
enough shelter, time to stretch our legs waiting for better weather. Aurore
and Leonie, well sea adapted, are enjoying the cruise: playing, listening to
music or to stories, watching a cartoon (if not too much swell), reading,
eating (often!), sleeping, watching the landscape and the animals. In the end,
a long but nice 17 days voyage, more than 1400 milles (2600km) from
Qikiqtarjuaq to Tasiilaq. On our arrival, the sea is calm (at last!), full
moon and less dark night, right under the arctic circle.
On August 9th, we stop at 3 places heavy with memories. At Tasiilaq, at
Peroni's, we get a rifle and the equipment for the geologists. Showers and
store too. 3 hours later, at Kulusuk, Laurent Geoffroy and his team are
boarding. At Sermiligaaq, we drop anchor for the night, and go ashore to find
another rifle, this time a working one. We have not been here for 13 years,
this region was our first destination in 2000 an 2001, already for Laurent
Geoffroy's geological missions.
Follow Vagabond's track