A different bear

  • Belles griffes
  • Decoupe ours a Qikiqtarjuaq

Bear looking for seal, bear passing by, bear swimming, bears curious from Vagabond in any season, we could observe so many of them... And since 4 years in Nunavut, how many bear skins stretched on frames, bear skins cleaned at home with the ulu.

One of them was hunted not far from here and, what is not usual, was brought back and cut up in the village. This is the first time I see a dead bear, intact. To see it so close, still warm, feeling his muscle mass, stroking his fur, warming up my fingers on the hot meat, touching his huge tongue already frozen outside but not yet inside, admiring his claws and fangs, wide legs... Impressive. The bear is on the back, back legs held open attached with a rope connected to the tuk, ready for butchering. Naked bear, all pink... Butchering fast, before the meat freezes. And tonight, for the hunter's family, a delicacy: the bear paws!

The past three weeks were rich but did not let us much rest. The set up of the ice camp was intense and the film crew who came in order to make a report for French TV on clams harvesting monopolized us full time. With this two projects at the same time, our daughters, who had to follow us many times on the sea ice, are asking for a family break. We are happy to prepare our first camping trip for Easter week end, and to spend time at our rhythm, even if it is still -30°C at night!

First ice and water samples

  • Premiere carotte GreenEdge
  • Premieres filtrations par Flavienne

The sun shines higher and higher, but there is still very little algae under the ice. This is what is showing the first ice cores and the first water samples from the Niskin bottle. "No biomass, we did not miss anything!" Flavienne said, when processing the samples in the laboratory on loan from the school, "which allows working under very good conditions."

On April 1st, it is also the anniversary of Nunavut. In Leonie's class, children sang in three languages (Inuktitut, English, French)!

Cargo and potluck

  • Livraison materiel GreenEdge

The whole team is gathering on board Vagabond for lunch, before the arrival of the cargo plane in the afternoon. This is the fourth cargo that comes directly from Quebec, over a ton of freight in each flight, two more are expected before Easter! The base camp is full, the big lab is becoming increasingly crowded, as the tent at the ice camp! All this material is telling us how much work is about to start...

Jean-Jacques Pangrazi, carpenter and photographer, is flying out with the plane, alone with the two pilots. Read also GreenEdge blog.

Potluck at Qikiqtarjuaq's Arctic College tonight, we celebrate the end of Inuktitut class.

Sea ice and radar image

  • Image radar du 28 mars avec question pour equipe terrain
  • Guislain observe crack

The icemeter is out. As part of the partnership between Takuvik remote sensing team and the Canadian Ice Service, we did a sixty kilometres ice survey in the region, towing the EM31 and observing carefully the areas shown on the radar image. A beautiful and rewarding trip, on a fine day. Many bear tracks near the ice camp!

A small detour by Bubble Lake, just to check if the lighter flame ignites the gases emitted by the lake... unconvincing experience, we will come back with a more sophisticated protocol to solve the mystery!

Faut pas Rêver

  • Sandrine et Patrick pour France Televisions

End of five days of shooting with Sandrine Leonardelli and Patrick Méheut for Faut pas rêver program on French TV. A documentary film about collecting clams diving under the ice will air next winter on France 3!

Polar bear and first CTD

  • Premiere CTD pour GreenEdge
  • Ours dechire la tente du camp de glace

A polar bear visited the ice camp and slightly ripped the tent! Some repellent added to the ropes should now be enough when nobody is at the camp...

First CTD profile today. The data indicate that the planktonic activity is still very low, we are not late for GreenEdge.

Start a new scientific season on the ice

  • Mise en place des sondes de temperatures dans la glace
  • Eric perce les 4 blocs
  • Montage armature tente
  • Installation bouee oceanographique a travers banquise mince
  • Equipe construction camp de la tente GreenEdge

For two weeks, scientific projects have been getting real! Instruments and a lot of equipment are constantly arriving. Already three small planes were chartered by Takuvik for GreenEdge program, only to carry cargo from Quebec. Canada Post and scheduled flights to Qikiqtarjuaq are also very much used. Thus came two new snowmobiles, that needed to be prepared and broke in; here are four in total for GreenEdge.

We welcomed the first team on March 15th: Flavienne, CJ, Guislain, José and Jean-Jacques. Time to meet everyone and to set up in the little town, we were heading to the ice camp, 30 minutes south of Broughton Island by snowmobile. First the main hole, made using an auger, then a solid floor all around, and then a large tent on top. Then delivering a cabin to the site, installing heaters and a complete power network... The base camp is in the village of Qikiqtarjuaq. As well as the laboratory, which is no other than the Inuksuit school, beautiful, available for GreenEdge researchers, which also develop an educational program throughout the mission.

A few days earlier, came our inseparable icemeter (EM31) that was sent by Christian Haas from Toronto. Just in time to do some tests and then measure the thickness of sea ice in the area, especially in the area chosen for GreenEdge ice camp. Finally, the distance criteria from the coast, sea ice state, access and water depth took us to the same location than last year.

The day before the arrival of the first team, during a nice and long family day on the ice, the weather mast was installed, with its thirty temperature sensors (from air to sea via snow and ice), at the exact same place than in 2014.

Saturday, I drilled a hole not too far from Vagabond, in a quite thin ice area (50cm), to deploy an Oceanetic buoy from Fisheries and Oceans for Ocean Networks Canada (see the buoy live data).

Sunday, with the whole team, we rode a small summit south of Broughton Island. Like last year, a camera will monitor the melting and breaking-up period, every half hour until August (timelapse). The ice camp is in the middle of the picture!

v The sea ice around Vagabond now exceeds one meter thick, slightly less that a year ago at the same time. Luckily for the team setting up the ice camp, temperatures are 15 to 20°C higher since mid-March!

To follow the GreenEdge project, also read the blog.