12 to 16 October: Eric and France invited to the Adventure Film Festival in Dijon, presentation of "Vagabond, winter in Spitsbergen" (13 min, Samuel Ducoin) on 15 0ctobrer at 16:00
Because of bad weather (icing), the helicopter had to turn back on Sunday morning. Yesterday, conditions were better, and the Dauphin from Airlift landed close to the dogs, scaring away a polar bear who has been eating a seal for the last few hours. We went across heavy brash ice with the dinghy, carrying our bags to shore, then it was time to take off, the pilots didn't want the polar bear to approach the helicopter. Strange feeling for France and me when leaving Vagabond, great and quick flight to Longyearbyen, where we met briefly Marina. She will join Mark, Vagabond, and the 5 dogs within 1 or 2 days. At the moment, the polar bear is probably back, finishing his seal! On our side, after a stop in Oslo, we are already in France, surprised with the warm weather, the trees, the crowd... forgotten since summer 2004.
You will regularly find some news here, from Marina and Mark on board Vagabond. Also look at News page.
Second winter of Vagabond in Storfjord, East coast of Spitsbergen, Eric and France, replaced during the polar night, will be back on board in January 2006, to welcome scientists (collaboration with IPEV and DAMOCLES).
Vagabond is ready for the winter, well anchored in her shelter also with ropes to shore. Our 5 nice friends left yesterday to Svea, the closest inhabited place, which they should reach on foot within 3 days. Mark, France and I walked with them to the glacier, where some left over from a seal, recently eaten by a polar bear, made our 3 dogs really happy. Then we could watch 5 or 6 belugas passing slowly few meters from us, near the glacier front. Wonderful.
The helicopter is expected this morning with the 2 dogs of Marina and Mark, their dog houses, and some equipment. France and I will leave Vagabond, then given to Mark and the 5 dogs. Marina will come few days later, having a lift with another helicopter flight.
After 15 months away from France, we are happy to come back for few weeks, to see our families and friends, and to take part to the Adventure Film Festival in Dijon in 3 days!
The dogs, onshore since we arrived, woke us up this morning, barking after a polar bear who was approaching a bit too much. So we know that our new companion, Ymiak, is efficient to alert about polar bear. France and I are now finishing preparing Vagabond for the winter, setting up the weather station, and explaining everything to Mark. In the mean time, the 4 young guides on training are walking around with their instructor Erik, and preparing their trip back on foot to a more inhabited place.
We reached the East coast of Spitsbergen during Sunday to Monday night, looking at very nice northern lights. The sea became better and better, allowing us to do some sea profiles with the CTD, and to watch a killer whale before entering Inglefield's bay. A polar bear was waiting for us on the snowy beach, like last year when we discovered this very nice and protected bay, where Vagabond is about to spend a second winter.
8 people and 3 dogs on board Vagabond, at anchor in a small bay south west of Spitsbergen. While waiting for better winds to sail around south cape, life is nice on board : with Mark, who will replace France and me when we will be in France, with Erik, guide in Svalbard (trekking, ski, snowmobile), and with his 4 young guides on training, Jeppe, Ingebjorg, Vera and Kristin.
Release of the DVD "Voyages of Vagabond, from Greenland to the North-East Passage"
Vagabond is in Longyearbyen for few days more, as you can see on the harbour webcam : http://www.ssd.no/files/havna/havnebilde/havnbilde1.jpg.
The summer in Greenland was great, the birdwatching and geology programs were very succesful, photos are on line. We are now preparing for the second wintering, as well as for our journey back to France, once Vagabond will be at her winter location and between good hands, in the same bay than last winter.
Vagabond on France Inter (French radio), report from Laurent Gauriat
After a very nice stop at Polish Polar base in Hornsund (http://hornsund.igf.edu.pl/index_en.php) - first shower for a very long time ! - Vagabond arrived at Longyearbyen yesterday. We are getting ready for the scientific programs waiting for us in Greenland. Gérard Guérin, who is back on board for 3 days, is busy setting up a huge hydraulic winch ! Departure within 2 days if possible...