Change of crew!
August 22, the stopover in Cambridge Bay is short-lived. Just enough time to disembark Okalik Eegeesiaq (thanks to her for coming on board as part of the Beyond Her Horizons project), and the crew heads back to Tuktoyaktuk.
Taking advantage of favorable weather windows is the leitmotif of polar expeditions. Without a moment’s hesitation, the sailboat set off westwards through Dease Strait. The first 24 hours set the tone: plenty of headwind. With the help of Christian Dumard, the meteorologist monitoring the expedition from land, Que Sera made headway in leaps and bounds. After 260 nautical miles, the crew found refuge in a small bay southwest of Victoria Island. On the coast, a few caribou, a wolf and a polar bear in the distance disturb the peace and quiet of the short rest. The next day, the sailboat sets off again, still with the wind “up our nose”. Progress is slow and arduous, and another stop at “Falaise Bay” gives the team a chance to catch their breath. Conditions remain the same for the next three days. It’s time to get out of Dolphin and Union Strait. Cahin-Caha, the crew make their way to “Summer Bay” to let the last gale pass. Along the way, Paul, a student at the University of Geneva, continues to take samples for the “Arctic Change” greenhouse gas monitoring program.
On the final stretch to Tuktoyaktuk, conditions improve slightly. A few “pingos” appear here and there. This word of Inuit origin refers to the earth-covered ice hills found in Arctic, sub-Arctic and Antarctic regions. A flock of snow geese flies over the boat on arrival in the Inuit community.
August 31, after 9 grueling days without setting foot on land, it’s time to prepare for the crew change. Jessica Houston and Paul leave the boat. Pere hands over skipper duties to Antoine. They take the opportunity to prepare the transects for the scientific project of Noémie Planat from the Beyond Her Horizons team. Megan and Julien replace Léa and Thibaut respectively. It’s good to have a new crew, and the Arctic expedition can continue. A huge well done to the crew who, so far, have successfully completed Que Sera despite the exhausting conditions.
See you soon for the next part.
Photos: Pacific – © Alexis Blanc & Léa Dillard