After 3 weeks of work, with some parties and unusual trips, Léonie, France and I, with Zagrey, Jin and Frost, are about to leave Ny-Alesund. Heading to Longyearbyen for the last preparations before wintering, and to welcome the crew replacing us for the first part of the polar night.
Wih the help of the same big machine and also 2 powerful boats, Vagabond could leave the beach and go back to the sea. Repaired and newly painted, she is floating again! The local team has been enthusiastic and efficient, Vagabond can now go on her route and look after the given assignments.
Interview of Eric and France in Marie-Claire magazine.
Not long after midnight, at high tide, Vagabond was hauled up onto the beach with help from a mechanical shovel and few people from the scientific base of Ny-Alesund. Our proud ship has not been on land like this since spring 2004. Now she set up for 3 or 4 days in front of marine biology laboratory, time to check carefully the hull, after 4 winters frozen in ice. We mainly want to repair the leaks from the cages protecting the propellers, lightly pulled out by ice during the last winter. For these few days, we set up on land, at the IPEV station.
An excellent scientific mission is finishing. 3 Italians, one Dutch, and one French journalist, came on board Vagabond for 8 days, to study the only known warm springs in the archipelago. The biologists have been sounding carefully Troll and Jotun, at the end of Bock fjord, in the north of Spitsbergen. Water is coming out in various springs, at almost 30°C for the warmest. Nothing very impressive, but a flora that seems suddenly very luxuriant in this Arctic environment. The many samples also allowed to identify some small amazing fauna. We stopped again at Linda's hut, on our way back, and then we met quite a lot of drifting ice. But not enough to stop Vagabond! For the next 3 weeks, we will be at Ny-Alesund scientific station, preparing Vagabond for the next winter in Storfjord.
Report on Vagabond in Super Quark, at prime time on first Italian TV channel.
Linda set up in Mushamna for a year. Her boyfriend will join her in a few weeks to share the long winter, at the very north of Sptisbergen. Every year, the governor is giving this trapper's house to a couple of volunteers. They have to carry on the traditional way of life of trappers. Linda prepared for us an omelet with Eider ducks eggs, gave some seal meat to our dog Zagrey, and offered us few fishes just out of the sea. Delicious stop! The camp will soon be covered with snow, the drift wood is already cut and burning in the stove.
After few more days of sailing in the fjords close to Longyearbyen, the little capital of the archipelago, Vagabond is getting ready to embark 4 scientists and a journalist. The stop was also the opportunity to meet the team of an amazing hovercraft, designed for arctic oceanography. A fast machine that should avoid some research projects to charter an expensive ice-breaker, to work on pack ice. First snow is already covering the mountains, and the sun is getting closer and closer to the horizon, in the middle of the night. Autumn is coming!