TV Planete+ Thalassa

Les vagabonds des glaces, by Hugues de Rosière, on TV Planete+ Thalassa at 21:35.


20/01/2012 at 18:15

21/01/2012 at 19:30

26/01/2012 at 18:10

27/01/2012 at 08:25

01/02/2012 at 18:10

02/02/2012 at 08:15

03/02/2012 at 23:30

07/02/2012 at 00:00

07/02/2012 at 18:30

08/02/2012 at 08:30

13/02/2012 at 18:40

14/02/2012 at 08:20

20/02/2012 at 08:20


  • Premiere sortie en traineau avec 3 chiens
  • Premiere sortie en traineau avec 4 chiens

Twilight is slightly brighter each day, around noon. Horizon is moving back, and we feel like going further away from the boat during daily outing. France made enough harnesses for the dogs, and even already repaired those "eaten" by Marly: we were looking forward to tie them all to the sleigh. Despite the cold (-38°C), Aurore and Léonie were happy on the little qamutik during the first short trips, with 3 then 4 dogs apparently very much waiting for that! It's a real pleasure to travel that way on pack ice, wrapped up warmly in our parkas. Only dogs steps and breaths are nicely disturbing the silence. Also a raven, going around the camp tonight. Light coming back and longer trips should help us to recover our "normal" sleep rhythm. Little by little.


  • Motoneige Bravo pour Vagabond
  • Pleine lune des 8-9 janvier 2012

Bravo. It is the name of the snowmobile I got yesterday in Grise Fiord. Rustic and old style, it has very little kilometres and a reputation of reliability, even when it is very cold. It should allow us to do scientific work in an extended area, and to go to town once in a while, or in case of emergency.

A small adjustment has to be done, however, as I had to change twice the only spark plug on my way back. Unpleasant feeling to have a breakdown, alone with a new vehicle, at 1 in the morning, when the full moon is highly hidden by wind and snow... Fortunately, Robert gave me a box of spark plugs with the machine, few hours before, and temperature was rising. When reaching Vagabond, I was even too hot! Wind had stopped and it was -23°C, as against -36°C in the morning.

Liza and Aksakjuk offered us to keep the big sleigh, that can take the whole family and luggages. It was pretty emotional to came back with it, by ourselves, on 2 January, in the very cold and with no moon! It took us a few days then, to recover after all festivities and tiring trips between Vagabond and Grise Fiord, where a lot of people had flu too last week. All crew is up now to run the place, to go for scientific field work, to answer New Year's greetings, and to plan missions for next spring and summer!

Quelques jours à bord

  • Noel a bord de Vagabond

"Are you going back already?", are asking most people we meet in Grise Fiord on Wednesday afternoon. Here, festivities don't stop between Christmas and New Year. But we need to look after Vagabond and after our four dogs. Even if I already did a return trip, alone, last Monday (all was frozen on board), we decide to go back four of us for a few days, in order to warm up the boat, charge the batteries, feed the dogs... to have a little family party as well, to not stop scientific work, and to rest a little bit!

In the end, Raymond arrives by snowmobile on 24 December around 9am, without notice. I wake up the girls and we all board the big sleigh. It's cold (-39°C), but pack ice is quite smooth and the fifty kilometres are done without a hitch, with a faint midday light allowing us to see the mountains. Splendid. At noon, we are in Grise Fiord! We left the village on 6 October and we are a bit confused with this return to "town". By the time we had a shower (what a luxury), and we gave a hand to the nurse to carve a big turkey (little health problems can wait), we meet all inhabitants in the gymnasium. Tables are laid out for 110 people, Christmas Eve party is organised by the hamlet, many volunteers prepared dishes, decorated the room, wrapped gifts... and everyone is bringing place settings and a gift. After the feast start the first games. Aurore and Léonie are very happy to run around with other kids, on a hard ground and with light clothes. France and I are glad to see again our local friends and take some news. At 11pm, almost everybody manage to enter the little church, which door had remained half open. So everyone keeps his jacket on to listen to Larry, accompanied for songs by Jimmie on electronic organ. At midnight, back to the gym where the arrival of Santa Clause engenders general jubilation. It's Ron Elliott, member of the Nunavut Government, who is having the white beard this year, he gives out one by one all the gifts. Ron came to Grise Fiord to better understand local problems. Without outside link for days, the town was missing food, mail, and travellers were not able to leave or come back... but on 23 and 24, three planes could at least land and resupply the town for Christmas.

The next day, we are invited to a Christmas diner with several families, before another games night in the gym. Nights start around 7pm and can last until dawn (so to speak). The town is sleeping in the morning, the store is open from 3pm to 5pm, a meeting place that cannot be ignored. We buy some vegetables and fruits, and take delivery of many parcels! When leaving the nice house lent by Liza et Aksakjuk, with their snowmobile, the sleigh is heavily loaded (gifts offered by our Grise Fiord friends, gifts won at games, seal meat, bags of washed clothes...). I manage to follow my track from two days before, surprised to be able to tow such a big sleigh with a simple snowmobile. Even so, bends are not easy to negotiate!

Tomorrow, we will go lighter to Grise Fiord, where we are invited to celebrate the New Year.


  • Aquarelle Vagabond Grise-Fiord

On winter solstice we are celebrating the middle of the polar night. From now on, the sun will progressively get closer to the horizon. Next sun rise expected on 15 February. But fortunately, this is not yet half of the winter! Vagabond dropped anchor at South Cape Fiord two and half months ago, she will be kept here by pack ice for another seven months or so.

France just moved the seal net, hoping for better results. She is keeping the holes open and checking the net daily. No hurry, dogs are not yet starving. On board, making gifts, candles, various decorations, biscuits... is keeping all family busy. Amazingly, just before festivities, France would already have an upset stomach, and I have a painful tooth! This will not stop us from going on Friday, if the weather is fine, to Grise Fiord, where we are invited for Christmas.

Cache cache

  • Bella

It is really dark today at noon, when I go for scientific measurements. Moon is set for eight days, sun is at its lowest under the horizon (winter solstice is in two days), and first of all, the sky is cloudy. On top of that, it is snowing and it is windy, so visibility is very poor. For once, I need to keep my headlamp on for the five hours field work. But luckily, I make out my tracks from previous surveys. Actually, I never had to use a GPS so far to find my way across the fjord. Once departure excitement passed, the dog Bella seems to be deep in thought too, until we meet polar bear tracks, quite recent. Hard to say as it is snowing. The animal join the "trail" and is going in front of us. Bella is sniffing actively. The sledge looks far behind, I decide to keep the riffle with me, even if I would be using the alarm pistol first. Tracks are sometimes very well marked, it is not a huge polar bear, but a fair size for now. Previously, I had watched several times polar foxes tracks, also attracted by that amazing "trail" going across the fjord. In the end, four kilometres further, we reach the iceberg near the CTD station, where I come two or three times a week. The polar bear went around, he is maybe having a nap behind, we will not go and check. On our way back, I can hardly see the light on top of Vagabond's mast, it is twinkling between snow flakes.