02/11/2009


Vagabond - Ten years

Polar bears, belugas, narwhals, seals were many when, mid July, ice broke up and released Vagabond. We left our little Inglefield Bay, our heads were buzzing with memories ...

... Zagrey eaten by a polar bear, unexpected pack ice drifting session with the family, holes made by ice in the hull, earthquake during polar night, snowmobile stuck in frozen river, hundreds of hydrographical measurements, 757 observations of polar bears, first steps of Léonie, storms and northern lights... 

The fifth winter in Spitsbergen was finished, as well as our task for Damocles, European project for pack ice studies. 

With the sea ice retreat, Arctic sea routes linking Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are attracting more and more sailors. Through the Northwest Passage, during summer 2009, about ten pleasure boats and two cruise ships went from one ocean to the other. Through the North-East Passage, transit of two cargo ships was a lot in the media: Beluga Shipping would be the first western company to use the mythical seaway. These ships could meet four pleasure boats also trying to go through the passage. 

One of them turned back, worried with drifting ice. Then two Scandinavian sailboats reached Bering Strait few weeks before Le
Manguier: France, Léonie and I were on board this former tug boat. From Tromsø to Bering Strait, it was exciting to make again this trip (seven years after Vagabond's passage), this time as artist and icepilot-photographer, and with the family! Where white bears are mixed with black gold. 

Since last July, Vagabond is waiting for us at anchor at Liland, not far from Lofoten Islands. In March 2010, she will be back in Brittany for some necessary work after five years in Spitsbergen. In April, our little family will be Ecotroll's crew, for an experimental journey: Lyon - Greenland - La Rochelle, with a motorboat as ecological as possible! 

With a wealth of experience behind us, we will prepare Vagabond for her next departure towards the Arctic, planned for spring 2011 with the Ice Robinsons. Before that, you can meet us at one of our next interventions, watch again our films, order France a watercolour... 

Yesterday, we celebrated the acquisition of Vagabond, ten years ago! A great thank you to all of you that have supported this first decade of Arctic wanderings. 

Eric Brossier 

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