A miracle is not going to happen! Despite our determination and the meticulous organisation put in place in conjunction with the French cruise ship operator Ponant to retrieve my Solarboat, we were not able to reach her. Read more “The unpredictability of the Northwest Passage”
Much has happened since I got back to Brittany and, caught up in the frenzy of life back on land, I’ve had a bit of a hard time getting used to the hectic pace of daily life and finding a semblance of balance. The few weeks I spent alone in the Arctic aboard the Icade had removed me for a time from this crazy race we are all running. Navigating through open water and ice, the hours gently slipped by—my daily routine consisted in observing the extent of the ice, the strength of the wind, the height of the waves and the beauty of the wildlife. Life is so simple when at sea. Read more “Good things come in pairs”
It had to come hurtling down in just the most exposed spot, where the barren, rocky coast is the most unwelcoming, to turn the adventure into disaster. In this Arctic region where there is absolutely no place to take shelter, the 47 knots of a frenzied northwesterly wind coupled with heaving seas swept everything away in their path, including Icade. I had even taken the trouble to firmly tie her down, knowing that the weather conditions were going to be brutal, but it didn’t make any difference. My little boat, which had performed like a real champ for almost a month, took several violent uppercuts over a 24-hour period and was thrown like a rag doll on top of a pebble beach. She is still in one piece but no longer in good enough condition to allow us to continue on our way.
The journey ends here for this year. The announcement is a bit brutal but there is no use beating around the bush and imagining some kind of backup plan because there isn’t one. I came out of it unscathed but I still can’t get over the incredible luck I had when I ran into a small team of scientists who picked me along their way before the expedition had a chance to end in tragedy. Eliane, Darrin, Adam and James, I don’t know what miracle put you close to me on July 31, but without you, I don’t know where I would be today… or maybe I know it all too well! Our meeting couldn’t have been imagined, your immense generosity and above all else your solidarity enabled me to overcome the rather violent and unexpected end of this story. I would have so much liked to continue this experimental journey to be able to describe to you this Arctic region that we have so much to learn about.
I would like to thank everyone who supported me throughout this solar-powered polar adventure… I haven’t wasted any time in informing you, but I still have a great deal of things to organise despite the fatigue accumulated over the past few days and above all tthe huge disappointment in ending this amazing 2018 arctic expedition.
I should be able to get quickly on track and work on the next 2019 Arctic Solar by Icade journey.
Stay tuned !
Although the ice made my life a misery and even trapped me for several days making Icade and I its prisoners, I can’t bring myself to be completely happy about its slow demise. I have heard it crack, grind, groan, break up and sometimes topple into the sea over the last few days. I feel like I’m on a battlefield strewn with dismembered bodies. Everything happened so quickly. Last week there were icebergs everywhere with majestic chunks of ice floating aimlessly on the currents as far as the eye could see. But August is upon us and that spells the end of this great white desert at these latitudes. The surrounding landscape is changing… until next autumn. Read more “The End of the Reign of Ice”
July is quickly coming to an end but the ice doesn’t seem to want to melt this summer here in the Arctic. Maybe it’s refusing to yield in places where it still can? In any event, the ice is indeed all around us and at times makes our life more difficult. Picking a path through this labyrinth made up of enormous blocks of ice which are constantly in motion is not the easiest thing in the world to do. Read more “Would you like some more ice?”
I had gotten it into my head that once I arrived in Cape Bathurst, I would head directly to Cape Parry… In the blink of an eye and in one quick hop I’d be there. Yes, it was something I had imagined, but it was only just a dream! The reality of the situation turned out quite differently. While at Cape Bathurst, where I was waiting for the right moment to continue on my way, a white wall materialised before my eyes blocking my path—ice, as far as the eye could see, right where I wanted to go! Read more “Dream versus reality”
I left the little hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk last Thursday under sunny skies and a light breeze. The conditions were perfect for me to get back on my way and I took advantage of them to put some nautical miles behind me. It was both exciting and strange to sail along the Tuktoyaktuk peninsula that I had already kayaked down in 2014 and 2015. Read more “Iced in….”
The trip down the Mackenzie River from Inuvik went a lot faster than I thought due to almost perfect weather conditions. There was plenty of sunshine to recharge Icade’s batteries, just enough headwind to chase away bloodthirsty mosquitoes and favourable currents easing our way… What more could you ask for! I’m making the most of it because I know the Beaufort Sea and Amundsen Gulf will be a whole different story. Read more “Here comes the… Sun!”
I have been playing cat and mouse with the barge on which Icade is travelling for the past three weeks and I am at my wit’s end! The Solarboat was first expected to arrive on June 21, then June 27… and then June 29. As it failed to arrive, I called the shipping company feeling a little hopeless and learned that because of the upcoming long weekend, as July 1 is a national holiday (Canada Day), Solarboat won’t arrive at Tuk until July 3… At the earliest! Read more “Meanwhile in Tuktoyaktuk”