Phone call with Vagabond during opening ceremony of a specific department of Brest's Hospital, where rooms are given some boats names
Another storm, pack ice is sinking due to the weight of the snow and is flooded with about 30 cm of sea water. Also, when removing the thick layer of snow, we reached Frost's doghouse, it was filled up with freezing water, rescued just on time. Toilets, which were working yesterday, are frozen again, and with this weather, we cannot find any shelter to expose our bottom to the air. Better to need to go not to wait too long with the trouser down to the knees. But we need to take time and dress up properly (gloves, cap lamp, balaclava, and toilet paper) and then sweep up the snow from the deck! Daily little adventures are keeping us busy... About our last attempt with the pulka, pulled by the dogs, snow became hard after the strong winds, and they were going so fast that it was really hard to slow them down! Happy Birthday to Eric (2 years old !) and to Jean-Claude for who we are happy to study the packice.
The snow has been falling down a lot last few days, and the storm is finishing sculpting our new background. Huge snowdrift took us a doghouse, the safety case, the hand drill, the dinghy, the pulka... a good shovel party is starting! Pressure is coming up (40 mb within 36 hours!), still some wind (50 km/h), -15 degrees, which is about -40 degrees with the chilling factor. Sky is clear now, stars are shining at noon like at midnight, and northern lights are crossing the canopy of heaven. The lost polar bear cub settled in the rear cabin, waiting for the sun to come back, cohabitation is easy, unusual, amazing...
The south-east wind increased the temperature over 20 degrees within 24 hours, it's too hot here! Snow is heavy, clothes are wet, ice around the windows is melting inside the boat... but sea ice is easier to drill with the hand drill. Today, 10 minutes for 54 cm thickness, but 30 minutes (and a good sweat despite the - 25 degrees) for 59 cm 2 days ago! Also, the pack ice is not cracking anymore along the hull, muffled creaking is finished... until usual average temperature will come back. Regarding water draining (toilet, basins, sink, bilge pump...), outlet pipes are still all frozen, and Vagabond keep being about 1 degree tilted on port side, since freezing in, probably till June.
With the clouds, there is no difference between noon and midnight, also we are not going out so long every day, and we enjoy longer the warm inside.
We hadn't seen any polar bear since 20th November. Yesterday around noon the dogs suddenly barked a lot, a polar bear was already very close to the boat, it was hard to see him in the darkness, although there was a nice moonlight... We scared him away, but he came back few moments later, he was even looking bigger, we moved and shout as much as we could and he finally gave up. Today, during oceanographic observations on pack ice, while snowing heavily, we were probably more careful than usual!
Here we are, far from the busy Paris Boat Show, where Vagabond was in the limelight a year ago, after her circumpolar navigation. This year, the moon for projector, and the pack ice around the hull is well real, but no visitor to contemplate the enchanting surroundings with France and me.
We found a good stock of fresh water, a big block of ice coming from the glacier, and trapped in the sea ice close to Vagabond. How old is this ice sputtering while melting, and giving a unique taste to our tea?
Some results of our oceanographic observations are on line here: http://www.lodyc.jussieu.fr/~sandra/VAGABOND/
Picture session with the moonshine, which is giving us more light now than the very soft midday light still existing when clear sky. All lights on, Vagabond was in a festive mood yesterday night, one month before Christmas! Soon online.
-25 degrees but no wind for the last 2 or 3 days, also we need to break the magic silence and run a bit more the generator to charge the batteries, the wind generator doesn't move.
NB: thanks for all your messages! SMS from 24/11 around 19:30 was deleted by mistake, before reading it...
Snow is enough now to ski on the ice pack. Today was the first trial behind one dog, very happy with the harness!
Laurent Gauriat vient de nous appeler, vous pourrez ecouter l'interview samedi 27 novembre a 13h15 sur France Bleu.
This morning, polar bear and fox prints next to the hull, though we didn't hear the dogs during the night... and later today, while walking around on pack ice, we saw a polar bear running away. Inglefieldbukta is still busy these days! Tonight the moon is back and soon, she will not disappear for about 10 days. Temperature is -21, or -40 with chilling factor, and 10 inside.