de Fabrice et Sanna

"For our first attempt at getting to Vagabond, we chose the "shortest" route... on the map. In reality we got stuck in slush and huge amounts of loose snow so the only thing that seemed short was the distance we were moving for the 12 last hours before we decided to turn back. We were lucky on our second attempt and Ulli came back to Longyearbyen on time. After he left it started snowing and blowing heavily and the temperature went up to almost freezing point. On Christmas Eve we measured a dramatic reduction in the sea ice thickness and as the wind started to get pretty strong Sanna became concerned about her dog Zodiac, and Fabrice, more down-to-earth, about his snowmobile. Around midnight we went out in the storm to move everything on land close to the other dogs. The sea ice was clearly starting to break away from the shore so we got into kind of a hurry. When we came back inside we had a good laugh reading a message from an unknowing mate who said he was envying us t he unstressful Christmas far away from civilisation. The storm lasted the whole night and the following day but fortunately the ice held. During 27 December night we learnt the difference between howling and barking. Suddenly there were not 4 but 5 animals around the doghouses, one of them very big and completely white. We scared him away but he came back some hours later and then again in the evening." Sanna and Fabrice

Fabrice et Sanna

After being obliged to turn back, letting behind a snowmobile which we will get back later, Fabrice and Sanna could try a second time to reach Vagabond, with success. It took 3 days to make this crew change because of last heavy snow falls. Happily the full moon was illuminating the landscape, and Ulli could get back to civilization. He spent 8 days alone on board, to fill the gap between the teams. The next crew change will see France, Léonie and me coming back on board, mi-January. Merry Christmas!


Half way of the 4 months polar night, Fabrice and Sanna are about to replace Ulli, but the snowmobile expedition is getting very difficult. More story soon...