Vancouver Island

  • Shellfish Tour Vancouver Island

Last week I was invited by the Municipality of Qikiqtarjuaq to participate in an 8-day trip on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, with two of my fellow divers. There, the production of clams is very developed, as well as professional diving and scientific research. Many encounters and exciting tours, which should contribute to develop a sustainable commercial exploitation of the coveted natural resource. The Government of Nunavut had a big budget voted in January 2015 to develop the exploitation of marine resources. The scientific interest in clams is also important because their shells tell the characteristics of the ocean throughout their slow growth. Currently ongoing studies are measuring inventories, describing accurately the species and its habitat, and setting up possible quotas.

The first clams consumers are walruses, which can be seen in the summer, a few dozen kilometers from the village, when the ice breakup. Qikiqtarjuaq saw its first divers in 1997 and could become a pilot village for other Nunavut communities. Today, only four divers collect clams, in a very traditional way, selling them directly to local consumers, $1 to $2 per clam. Only business to one of them, complementary activity to the others. Concerns about food security, safety of the divers, and associated costs with diving prevented commercial operations since the early 2000s.

Eric away for ten days

  • Degraissage peau de phoque a l'ecole

Only girls on board for ten days! Regarding weather, we get white out, snow, blizzard... but an exciting week at school: a kamiks lesson is given by the elders, they pass on their knowledge. For 3 weeks, Leonie's Inuktitut teacher gives us a lively course. Each class comes to attend (young kids) or try (older students) all manufacturing steps. Degreasing seal skins, cleaning, drying them with frames, tanning manually. Same thing for the soles with the famous bearded seal, which skin is black when shaved and is so thick and waterproof. Each step is as precise as tricky! Then comes the stitching, preceded by the softening that gives cramps to hands! I'm lucky to participate in this workshop, it's an opportunity to change the soles of my kamiks, to give a hand and to practice these traditional techniques. I also notice the nuances that exist among villages. Aurore is happy to join me, and I discover how comfortable she is in her school environment. Leonie is proud to observe her mom at work, during her course of Inuktitut!


  • Fin de plongee pour Sammy
  • Moins 41C

-41°C. Not hot today. Not a good day for heating problems. However, the complete service of the boiler was necessary. Fortunately, once replaced, a few hours later, it started like clockwork. But meanwhile the stove stopped and the temperature quickly became negative in the boat! Cold air was falling so hard down the chimney that we needed several hours and a lot of smoke to get a nice fire again. Relief.
Wednesday night, I was invited to talk about Green Edge to the council meeting in Qikiqtarjuaq, on behalf of the laboratory Takuvik, who we work for since 2013, and who is leading this scientific program for 2015 and 2016. I had fifteen minutes flat, the atmosphere was very solemn, and there has been little debate: the municipality approved the project! An ice camp will be set up for four months in the south of Broughton Island to allow nearly fifty scientists to contribute to a major study of the phytoplankton spring bloom. Everything must be ready for mid-March, busy time!

Researchers are happy that I can do various underwater sampling, I also enjoy gathering with my fellow divers under the ice, picking up clams for us and for some friends (in addition to scientific sampling), and sharing some family time around the diving hole and inside the diver's shack. Good news, after repair, my suit is waterproof again, much appreciated!

Alex Hibbert for whom we dropped a large supply north of Greenland (September 2013), came to Qikiqtarjuaq with two fellow-countrymen and a very ambitious project. Probably too ambitious, as the previous one: the depot was eventually offered to a caribou hunter. This time, they want to ski the Northwest Passage (3200km), without assistance, without resupply. Why? "Because it's harder!" Alex replied when he arrived. A week later, the various trials have questioned everything, it is now to organize resupply, to put harnesses to the dogs, and to try to reach Pond Inlet (800km). A great trip, anyway. Good luck!

End of holidays

  • Piem et Francois 2 janvier

Last Christmas games happened on January 4th. Three days later, Aurore and Leonie were heading back to school... not easy for them to wake up at 7am when they were used to go to bed around 5 in the morning, back from the games!

François and Piem are heading back today to Grenoble and Barcelona. We had great time together. We climbed the mountain above Qikiqtarjuaq, we went to bubble lake for a fishing competition, we got stuck in rough sea ice, we enjoyed many northern lights, we jumped above a fire on the ice during New Year's Eve. We felt we were Charlie.