Before scientific field work high season

  • Intrigues par le bruit des bulles de Bubble Lake
  • Belle brise pour kiter

Beautiful kiting day for France and me yesterday (Friday 13th!), near Vagabond. It's not every day that the wind setup at 20 knots! Most of the time, the weather here is nice and quiet, so we don't want to miss such an opportunity.

Skis and skins took us out to some nice tours, joyful runs, and Leonie's first summit.

During a picnic at nearby Bubble Lake, stunned by the sound of bubbles under the ice (probably methane), we collected fresh water, clear and pure. Bubbles are slowing down the ice growth, and it is quite easy to access water. Villagers often come to get drinking water. A polar bear has also been there not long before us!

Two evenings per week in March, Lisa teaches Inuktitut for beginners!

On March 8th, Women's Day, Becky Kilabuk and Emily Karpik came to teach throat singing to Qikiqtarjuaq students, and they gave us some explanations and a nice rehearsal session.

A small igloo was born next to Vagabond, lying under the numerous northern lights.

Around Baffin Island

  • Depart de Qik pour Sarah et Erik

Sarah McNair-Landry and Erik Boomer came to visit us on board: exciting evening! We were delighted to meet Sarah, and to see Erik again (we met him in August 2011 in Grise Fiord after he circumnavigated Ellesmere Island by kayak. Launched today in a great journey of 4000km in 4 months around Baffin Island with their 13 dogs, they stopped in Qikiqtarjuaq before heading further north. They should gradually catch up with Jamie and Benno (map), Alex team-mates now by themselves since his accident (blog).

It's great to see these expeditions passing by!

Sunday's dive

  • Yves remonte
  • Yves et Eric collectent clams
  • Derniers reglages pour Eric

It's Sunday, the weather is nice (-35°C), our little family is getting ready for a day out on the ice, everyone is excited! I pack in the sled the usual safety equipment, rifle, fuel... and my diving gear. France is sitting on the snowmobile with me, our daughters Aurore (5) and Leonie (8) like it better inside the sledge, on musk ox and sheep skins, warmly dressed in their Inuit clothing. We need about half an hour drive on pretty smooth ice to go from Vagabond to the dive site.

Sammy is already under water for a first dive. His wife Ena is standing near the hole, holding the safety rope that connects Sammy to the surface. If he pulls three times, she will help him to quickly reach the surface. Close to the hole, Sammy and Philip, two of the four divers in town, set up a hut with a stove, they move it any time they want to change diving site (ice is cut with a chainsaw). I come in with my equipment to unfreeze, and it's time for a picnic. Sammy is just coming out of the water with a net full of clams (Mya truncata and Serripes groenlandicus). While he comes to warm up and have a coffee in the hut, France helps me to put on all my equipment. The dives usually last thirty minutes, 15 to 20 meters deep, the water is at -2°C. A diver is coming back out when his tank is almost empty!

I'm ready to dive, with a light on my head, a camera, a net to collect clams, sea urchins and algae. Soon I will also take what is needed to collect sediments and an instrument to suck the algae that grow under the ice (very few in this season due to lack of light). I explore, I film, I follow scientific protocols, and I also collect clams to offer to some friends in the village and for our own meal tonight! On the surface, our wives are looking after our lifelines. They are happy to be together; Ena is the Inuktitut teacher at school, Aurore and Leonie love her. Hunters stop by from time to time, they come to take news and clams, and to drink tea. Diving combines leisure, scientific work, traditional food collection (modernized here!), social exchange. Four of us are happy to share these moments with our Inuit friends.

Preparing Green Edge project

  • Presentation GreenEdge a la mairie de Qikiqtarjuaq
  • Reco Green Edge Ice Camp 14 fevrier 2015

Marie-Helene Forget and Joannie Ferland, coordinators of the program Green Edge starting in three weeks from now, came from Quebec to meet people and visit places on site before taking final decisions. Finding accommodation, cafeteria, transportation, laboratory, and organizing sea ice field work for up to 20 people together in a village of 500 people, this is not an easy task! We have been working with the local municipality since last December. For 5 busy days, Marie-Helene and Joannie were able to meet, visit and confirm our wish that this program should benefit to the local community using Inuit's skills (sled construction, guides, polar bear monitors, cook assistant...), choosing private accommodation, developing educational projects with the school... To inform about our needs and involve residents, the public meeting at the community hall was a success. During a weekend on the ice, Eric led them to the intended study site to check the route and watch sea ice conditions. On Sunday, everyone went to the diving site. Collecting seaweed, sea urchins and clams, and also sliding on Broughton Island slopes in the beautiful low sun light. Some clams were enjoyed the same night on board Vagabond! It was a week with no school for Leonie and Aurore, who also had fun with our two visitors!