Visiting the Vagabond after the Arctic Arc resupply

Published on 11.04.2007 - The Arctic Arc

International Polar Foundation

International Polar Foundation

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Last night it was -36°C out on the ice and Alain and Dixie had called to say that they had just had the worst day of the expedition with strong northerly winds, and had hunkered down early to sit out the storm. Despite the southward drift, they had still managed a decent distance. Viktor will fly up to Barneo again today, and it is good to know he is there close by in case there is any problem.

This morning, thanks to the help of Ghislain, Jean-Louis Etienne's young assistant, we flew with the Sysselman's helicopter out to see the Vagabond frozen into the ice in the Storfjord. The helicopter was carrying out the rotation of scientists to the ship, and Eric Brossier had said we could go along as well to pay him and France a visit.

However, after crossing Spitsbergen from the Advent Fjord to the Storfjord, the helicopter pilot felt that it was not possible to switch off the engines, as the snow was too deep and we couldn't settle. So, with the rotors turning overhead, barely able to hear or speak, we quickly exchanged a few words, and took a few pictures and then I was back to the helicopter with a German film crew that had come out to the Vagabond and switched places with the French group from Brest.

We arrived back in Longyearbyen and ran into Etienne Bourgois from the Tara Expedition. The Tara is drifting up to 87°N, but the resupply operation is delayed because of the difficulties in getting permits. A group of scientists from the DAMOCLES project will arrive in Longyearbyen today or tomorrow to join the ship but will probably end up spending the next week or so here.

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