En attendant le soleil...

One year ago, the family carnival was on, a great time on board, celebrating the end of the polar night, unforgettable.

Today, our projects got a new base camp. After the steel hull for the Arctic, the stone walls for Brittany.

Surrounded with white and calm, my mind is wandering between memories and future.


Today, 17th of February, the polar night is finished. But the horizon was cloudy at noon towards the South, and only groans from the ice pack were there. Between whale song, children moan and door grinding, the sound track was quite in harmony with the grey sky. If, in Spitsbergen, the sun could not share his first light (we'll wait more for heat), in France, the newspaper Le Parisien was telling about our adventures today, and the radio Europe 1 was asking me about global warming.


Around noon yesterday, I saw a light, about 20 km north. Probably a snowmobile, it lasted only few seconds. People from Longyearbyen (70 km from Vagabond) are starting going further also; they are enjoying enough brightness to discover again the area, coming out of the polar night. When the sky is clear, we don't need any torch from 8 am to 4 pm. The weather is really nice today: -30 degrees, no cloud, full moon, light wind. Ideal conditions to reinforce sea ice which will support soon some new scientific equipment. There has been a lot of pressure last week with the wind and ice is all bumpy now, it will not be easy to move around. Far away, I can see an open lead, showing powerful and constant action from the currents. Polar bears are probably along this lead, visits are not so many now. Imiaq, the best watchdog, is less busy, but his companions Jin and Frost are there. If they are not so proud when a polar bear is getting close to them, they don't forget to remind Imia q he is 'new' in the team!


A cold wind has been blowing for the last 4 days, pack ice is everywhere again. Sea and land are getting covered with hard snow, packed by the wind. All prints, from skis, dogs, foxes, polar bears, are disappearing in few minutes. I have not seen any single sign of human life for more than one month, except a satellite in the sky, a star faster than others. Nevertheless, impossible to feel solitude when receiving so many friendly messages, when able to communicate with people and listen to the radio, all from such a pure and magnificent place.

La lune est de retour

The moon is back, first quarter, superb. Like the sun, hidden for about 4 months per year (length of the polar night at 78 degrees North), the moon disappear under the horizon for 9 days every 28 days cycle. Deep silence yesterday night, you could hear your heart. But cold is gone again, and the thin ice is not much resisting to the small passing lows. This morning, I can hear the waves at about 200 m from Vagabond, scientific work could well be delayed.

Chaud janvier

-2.8 degrees was the mean temperature for January (about 1 or 2 degrees less at Vagabond's wintering location), a new record. The normal monthly temperature should have been -15,4 degrees. It has been cold again for the last 3 days, sea is freezing again, the study of the sea ice and of its future should start as planned in 3 weeks...

Réveils brutaux

Light wind these last few days, the sea didn't take away the little fast ice left in Inglefield Bay, the protecting ice berth is still around Vagabond. I finally managed to unfreeze the snowmobile and to move it to shore, near the igloo and the emergency camp box. Then at 7 this morning, I woke up once more time with a start when the dogs barked: a polar bear was trying to open the igloo like he would do with a seal den, jumping on it with his 2 front legs. Before sending him a deterrent bullet, he had put the snowmobile up side down. And time to check the flare gun and to put some warmer clothes, he got the snowmobile back on its 2 skis!

Débâcle précoce ?

All ice in Inglefield Bay has drifted away yesterday. Monday already, during a short trip on the moraine, I could see there was no ice in the Storfjord. The wind changed direction since, and open water reached the Black Iceberg, at the entrance of the small bay where is Vagabond. This is why up to 5 polar bears visited me yesterday, and one this morning, looking for a way to go north. But with no ice, they are stopped on the moraine which is still protecting the boat from the open sea. Ice breaking up could be complete, if the swell and the wind don't stop. At the moment, weather is nice. Of course, everything is not ready on board for sailing now, and there is the snowmobile to bring to shore bu it doesn't want to move (frozen), the dinghy which is the roof of the safety igloo, the dog houses to dig out from the slush, the mooring lines to shore to put again... An ice breaking up alone, by night, with 3 dogs and quite a few polar bears around, I should not get bored! I'm also thinking about Mike Horn and Borge Ousland, trying to reach the North Pole, they want to be the first in winter, they left 2 days ago from Russia. I'm wondering about the conditions they will meet.