Coucher du soleil

  • Le soleil se couche pour 112 jours

We did not see the sun today, there was a clear sky though! We should have seen it yesterday briefly, but it was snowing and the sky was cloudy. We have now to wait until 15th February 2012 before seeing it again...

Solar panels were pretty useful since we arrived at South Cape Fiord (amazingly, Vagabond's stem is pointing North accurately), but now we can store them for four months!

Gradually, Vagabond is getting back to winter organization. Survival suits and other sailing equipments have been put away until next summer. Fresh water tanks are now empty, and iceberg collected ice is melting in barrels inside the boat. Safety camp is ready, in case of fire for instance. Ladder is in place to go down easily on pack ice, already forty centimetres thick. The swing too is installed! Warm clothes are replacing sailing clothes, temperature is down to -22°C today. And two days ago, we emptied out the deep freezer, contents are now in boxes outside. There should be less mild spells here, south of Ellesmere Island, than in Svalbard, and our deep freezer will be off probably until next May. Like if Vagabond settled in a huge deep freezer...

Respirer sous la banquise

  • Devant trou de respiration d un phoque

Alone in the middle of the fjord, on thirty centimetres thick pack ice, while I'm taking up the CTD to the surface, I suddenly hear a breath, powerful, very close. I look around in vain, ice is very smooth all over many square kilometres, not a bump to hide an animal. Then I see a little dome, with a small home on top of it: a seal came to catch his breath, using that hole he is maintaining, and that he is able to find again under the ice I'm not sure how. These holes are many in Vagabond's surroundings. Despite a frozen scenery, there is a lot of life under the ice! A seal even came to breath at the back of the boat, in the hole made by rejected water from the engine. When the weather is calm, anywhere on pack ice, we only have to wait for a few minutes to hear breathing. Then we don't feel alone so much, almost being watched.


  • Traces de visite

Finished the huge ice rink. Pack ice is covered with a thin blanket of snow. Visitors are now leaving foot prints behind! Already three times in two days we had polar bear visits, probably the same young one each time. He only chew a little bit a buoy. We'll be more relax when the dogs will be here to announce visits. They should have been coming by boat, but conditions were too bad. Boating season is ending. The fiord seems to be frozen as far as we can see now, soon the hunters from Grise Fiord should be able to travel on ice. And the dogs should come.

Epaisseur de la banquise

  • Glaciometre

First measurements with the icemeter, for Christian Haas, from University of Alberta, in Edmonton (Canada). The electromagnetic instrument (EM31) is detecting ice-water interface. By pulling it on pack ice, we get a thickness profile. One or two holes are done with an ice drill to calibrate the results.

Mer figée

  • Leonie pulkayak

We didn't expect a so quick progress, a perfect sequence: Saturday, we prospect in open water, and decide to drop anchor by six meters depth; Sunday, surface is freezing; Monday, the dinghy is taken out from young ice and hoisted in the stern; Tuesday, we do our first steps on ice; today Wednesday, on about thirteen centimetres thick ice, the trip from the boat to shore is done without getting one's feet wet! Also, the direction of the boat seems very good, considering prevailing winds. Around us, a huge mirror has formed, sometimes floodlit by oblique sun, sometimes by full moon. Without snow, this clear, bright, and dark pack ice is fascinating.

South Cape Fiord

  • Banquise de moins d un jour
  • Sillage d arrivee de Vagabond au site hivernage

76°26.9'N - 84°41.1'W. The position of Vagabond now should not change before July 2012. Pack ice is being formed, beautiful. Yesterday, we were already walking on the ice, around the boat. Today, we moved a little bit Vagabond, not to ground at every low tide. Tonight, the moon is lighting stripes of water full of ice crystals, taken by a good northerly wind.

Before coming to South Cape Fiord, fifty kilometres West of Grise Fiord, we went around Brume Point, following Aksajuk advice. Ice is suppose to be very stable there and above all, this is close to the village. I could reach it on foot indeed, after four hours walk (nice trip but hard terrain at this time of the year). But we were willing to be in a little bay more protected from winds and swell.

On our last stop at the village, on 5th October, the sea was unusually calm, at first. Time to do some shopping and waves made embarkation too difficult. So we were welcomed for the night. In the evening, Aurore and Léonie enjoyed playing with other kids in the gymnasium, then we watched hunters coming back (nine seals, a big fish and a few ducks for Liza and Aksajuk!). On 6th morning, I had to slip on quickly a dry suit and jump in the dinghy to catch up with Vagabond: she was disappearing between snow flurry, drifting offshore with the wind. The anchor didn't hold. Norman and Jimmie helped us a little later to take on board the family, the sledge and everything else. Then we were heading west on a fascinating icy swell.

After weeks spent juggling with swell, it will take us some time to realize that now wintering is starting and Vagabond is about to become a hut on the ice again. To celebrate this, and before polar night, each of us got a new rechargeable head lamp!

Vent du nord mais rencontres chaleureuses

  • Banquise en formation

Last days of preparations, before sailing to our winter quarters. We've been at anchor once more, for the last two days, in the nearby fjord, waiting for next lull to go back to Grise Fiord. Freezing spray and night are making navigation more difficult. Chill temperature today, with the effect of the wind, is about -30°C.

Last Wednesday, when arriving at the village, new polar bear tracks were welcoming us on the beach! A few people saw the animal the same morning... It was "Terry Fox" day, with a run for everyone to fight against bone cancer, a national event all over Canada. Departure was from the school, where we show a film about Vagabond a few days earlier.

Little by little, we get to know Grise Fiord inhabitants, who are welcoming us very generously. Clothes, food, toys, candies... so many gifts! Some Inuit are already enthusiastic about visiting us soon, to share their experiences and discover our unusual home. Tom or Norman would come to show us how to use a seal net. Jimmie is thinking about some collaboration with Arctic College. Mark is interested with our daily reports on ice and weather for the Hunters and Trappers Association. Wendy and Harold, from the Health Center, gave us some advices for the children, and completed our medicines. Lisa, at home, showed us how to make kamiks (traditional skin boots), and then drove us to the dogs for a first contact with our future companions. Amo was happy to find his anchor, using our dinghy!


  • Test lampes

Message from Marc Givry: "September 23rd, 2011, 9:04, date and time of equinox, all humans are equals with 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night."

Time to check torches and headlamps, while a gale is keeping us on board! Anchor slipped last night, but is holding well since...

Trois tonnes

  • Plein carburant Grise Fiord

Yesterday evening, the sea was calm in front of the village, and Vagabond got three tons of diesel oil. Tanks are full now, enough to feed the stove, the central heating, and the generator for the winter. Also the engines to sail to the wintering place. Here in Grise Fiord, each house needs about five hundreds litres of heating oil per week. Almost ten times more than Vagabond.

Today, there is swell again... Last Saturday, it was the biggest waves people have ever seen here. A little hut was even flushed away. There is no more drifting ice coming from the Arctic Ocean, to protect the village. Hunters are having more and more problems to launch there boats. Last night, they were all gone for seal hunting, and when they came back, dogs could eat finally.