Getting ready for winter

  • Plongee avec Yves pour changement anodes
  • Goatamie Leelee et Eric fiord du Couronnement
  • Tournage glacier Couronnement
  • Fin d une belle sortie en kayak

Starting the engines, weighing anchor, leaving the village... I rarely sailed solo on board Vagabond. It's pretty exhilarating, even if I'm not going far, just to the other side of the strait that separates Baffin Island from Broughton Island, in the small protected bay where Vagabond will spend a third winter.

On September 19, I embark with Goatamie, Leelee, Lizzi, Sarah, Sheema and the two journalists (TF1) to Coronation Fiord. A beautiful place to speak about the Arctic and its role as sentinel of the global climate.

The weather remains good: perfect for a kayak trip with Yves, who tries an Eskimo roll (!), then a short climb to get photos from the camera installed on the nearby summit, and a dive under the hull to change the propellers anodes.

The weather deteriorates, I am forced to stay on board, time to store and clean. The wind is pushing the drifting ice and I'm not awakened any more by violent and sudden shocks of ice against the hull! The landscape whitens quickly under the fresh snow.

The supply ship arrives and drops anchor not far from Vagabond, sheltering for two days, until conditions permit offloading the numerous vehicles and supplies expected by villagers. The next ship will not come until August 2016.

Our boat is ready for winter, waiting for the sea to freeze. Leaving it at anchor, saying goodbye to our friends, I'm leaving Qikiqtarjuaq for a few weeks. Moved, but happy to meet with Aurore, Leonie and France in Brittany soon.

Stopover in Quebec for four days to discuss with the Green Edge team at Takuvik, to give a talk at Musee of Civilization, and to meet with Valentine and Vincent at their home. They present me Diego, born September 16th. All three are preparing to fly to Qikiqtarjuaq to watch Vagabond during our absence.

Ilutalik, there is a house

  • Jaypootie decouvre les fonds de sa baie
  • Chez Joanasie a Ilutalik
  • Conditions ideales pour baptemes de plongee a Ilutalik 6 septembre
  • Plongeurs aident Jaypootie pour enfiler combinaison

I have been dreaming about coming back here in summer. Last time, with a colleague and Jaypootie, we were measuring the ice thickness in the area, by snowmobile. We slept in his father's cabin, Joannassie, who lived most of his life here. Narwhals are gathering every summer in the neighboring fiord. So when Laurent Marie told me about his projects, I had an idea in mind...

It is so great to meet them all here, at home. After the avalanche in May, after fishing, hunting or scientific trips, our relations are strong.

Joannassie, Jaypootie, and their families, have warmly welcomed Laurent's team. Jay agreed to be filmed, "I'm gonna be famous!". Then I was happy to see Jay diving with my suit (although I could not dive with him because no more suit!). At the beginning of July, it was him holding the rope when I was diving under the ice looking for coralline (algae that allows to study the climate of the ocean over many centuries). Beautiful and memorable day. What a gift to see almost all the family in the water. Jay, delighted to discover his garden, did not want to get out!

After listening the many advices from our friends, we keep looking for narwhals... Follow Vagabond's journey here.

Disko Bay encounters

  • Vagabond et Atka a Ilulissat
  • Escale Ata
  • Conference a bord du Soleal
  • Leonie grimpe au soleil

For three weeks, nature has been good at bringing discoveries of small bays and wild fjords, whales, glaciers and explosive icebergs. Nature is also generous to treat our crew with plenty of black crowberries (coulis or fresh by handfuls), northern bilberries, mushrooms (delicious when fried), mussels, sea urchins and cod! Aurore and Leonie learned about rock climbing, using ropes on pretty long and steep cliffs. "I love climbing, de-climbing and top-roping!".

Aboard the Soleal, brand new liner from La Compagnie du Ponant, we meet again with Stephane Niveau, the expedition leader (also director of Paul-Emile Victor center in Premanon), and with captain Patrick Marchesseau (also captain of Planet Solar, world tour with solar energy), requesting us a lecture for their 200 passengers. Our friends Babeth and Laurent, and their two daughters Ondine and Lison, on holidays on board Vagabond, join us to enjoy the little swimming pool on board the cruise ship, a good meal and a great time with our hosts! All this is happening at anchor in front the Eqip glacier, where we can find the French polar expeditions base camp (1948-1953).

In Ilulisaat harbour, we share an evening with Atka's crew (former Periple), and with Gildas Flahault, who has been tingling our spine for long with his brushes. The aluminum boat was bought by Ben (François Bernard, polar guide), who visited us last winter.

Then Nanuq came along Vagabond. The project of his captain, Peter Gallinelli, is to winter without fossil energy (Passive Igloo). Professor at HEPIA (Engineering School in Geneva), he had organized a meeting "Energy and Far North" with Eric. Reunion and warm meeting with his family crew en route to northern Greenland.

Chance also allows us, in Ilulisaat, to meet again with:

Happy moments in the most visited town in Greenland!

This is when the Blue Soul's team, filmmakers and freedivers, boards Vagabond. At once in the water, despite the cold, they enjoy the surroundings of icebergs, touching various type of ice, and getting close to whales. On August 23rd, in front of Ilimanaq, Leonie is going snorkeling for the first time, discovering starfish and sea urchins: "It's amazing, the bottom of the sea!".

France, Leonie and Aurore take off from Aasiaat (Greenland), the next day, to be on time for the start of the new school year in France.

From Sisimiut to Ilulissat

  • Pierre1er LadyDana et Vagabond a Ilulissat
  • Retrouvailles inattendues
  • Baleine a bosse
  • Debarquement sur iceberg

Sisimiut is the northern most harbour in Greenland not freezing in winter. What a difference with Qikiqtarjuaq, on the other side of the Strait, at the same latitude!

France: "Once in Sisimiut, together with our friends Celine, her son Guillaume, her mother Eliane and her cousin Anne, we enjoyed the swimming pool: the girls were expecting it for one year! It is outside, with sand at the bottom and mosquitoes as much as you want! It was fun."

Heading North. As we keep looking for the narrowest passes between islands, Vagabond hit the seabed twice! Getting over. At anchor in a little fjord, the crew enjoys fresh mussels. Fog continues, hiding the landscape.

So what a surprise to see Le Manguier right in front of us! Boats manoeuvre, and while Celine (tugboat captain) is keeping Vagabond close to the tugboat, we are happy to share some news. It's been a long time since we sailed the Northeast Passage, in 2009! France was pregnant, Leonie was two years old... Short but nice and unexpected encounter.

France: "Wonderful navigation between a lot of islands, we enjoyed seeing from very close some quiet whales, and South of Disko Bay, we also enjoyed the quiet village of Ilimanaq in the midnight sun. Then, we took the opportunity to spend time in between the impressive barrier of icebergs overflowing from the Ilulissat fjord, with a happy girl in the crow's nest. Hurray for Greenland!"

It's the ninth season for Vagabond around the big island, but it is our first stop in the most visited place in the country. When entering Ilulissat harbour, another surprise, Vagabond gets to moor alongside Peter 1st and Lady Dana 44, Russian and Polish sailboats: colleagues! Peter 1st sailed around the Arctic in 2010, in one season, the same year than the trimaran Northern Passage. We meet again, in the Russian way, but not too much as they have to go to sea around midnight.