During the forced wait during the ice-block, the day before yesterday, Polarquest crewmember Kevin Monneron, the expedition’s diver, has asked some of his fellow crewmembers to summarize in a few words their role and activity onboard. Here is a brief self definition provided by them.
“Here are my activities in the last few days aboard Nanuq:
-Securing the UAV during topography and flora censuses
-Mapping the flora on a given perimeter
-Drone fishing doesn’t always bite! The magnetic pole might make its head spin. I’m here in back up, ready to wind the red nylon thread that connects us…(*)
-Ensure the shuttles between the boat and the land by the tender. A small leak, an engine sensitive to the cold, a team alien to the bear… Non-existent harbours, anchorage is a must! So we have to relearn the art of touching land.
-Pilot the dinghy during probe measurements. The fjords are home to a lot of elements and make taking measurements complex. A biting cold, humidity through all ordeals, the sea current, drifting icebergs, the visiting bear, a capricious engine, data to collect…”
(*) The drone is tethered to ensure that it does not fly-away in case of malfunctions to its magnetometer. Such problems may affect drones of that type at high latitudes, from time to time.
Tamara & Kevin
-Installation, follow up the images taken by the gopro on the mast
-Spontaneous support during sampling excursions
-Attentive and active watches
The project to sample sediments by snorkeling at the bottom of fjords and lakes is led by our teammate Kevin. With water temperatures dropping to -0.5°, I’m keeping a close eye on him during his dives to be ready to react quickly and efficiently in case of health issues. He dives with his fins up and I start my stopwatch, the seconds are slow until he reappears among these giant ice cubes. Current, wind, drifting iceberg, unclear water, various elements that require faultless attention, I accompany him during these sampling dives to give him the necessary equipment and take note of the important data (depth of the bottom, ts, gps, etc.). The reports are then drafted, together in the cockpit, dry and warm.
Gaël & Claudio
Once the ground team is dropped off, we leave on board the dinghy to make the first series of measurements. Sophie is the pilot, Ophelie is in charge of the video documentation. With Claudio, we take the measurements. The fjord is dotted with icebergs and a light wind makes us drift constantly. Sophie tries to keep the boat in a fixed position as best as she can. After 1 hour, we go back to NANUQ to get the data. We discover that the probe has only recorded 3 dives out of 8. Analyzing the data, we understand that the probe only records 14 min of measurement. All subsequent measurements were not recorded without a complete stop of the probe. This first day was not a great success but it allowed us to target the weaknesses of the device.
Two days after our first measurements, we set off for a new series of measurements in an unnamed fjord at the foot of an unnamed glacier .
The new strategy for retrieving the probe’s measurements is bearing fruit. 6 measurements out of 9 are validated. It’s not perfect yet. Another problem has arisen. From time to time the probe only records a fraction of the measurement. The source of the problem is as yet unknown. But Claudio and I are plunging through 700 lines of code to try to find the bug.
-My role is to film and document the different activities and research of the crew as well as the navigation of Nanuq.
Every day on board Nanuq is a source of ideas and creativity, whether it is the progress of the ship through the ice or the activities of the crew, new surprises and discoveries are constantly emerging. With my camera, I film and document everything avidly with the final goal of producing animated video clips. These will retrace our adventure and enable us to communicate scientific research to the general public. The images thus play a promotional role for other expeditions and raise awareness about the preservation of our environment.
-On-board Logistics Co-ordinator
I operate as a UAV pilot in the GREAL project led by Professor Gianluca Casagrande. The objective is to map by aerial photography the flora of the east coast of Greenland in order to contribute to the enrichment of the biological inventory of the region. The captured images will then be sent to the lab where they will be analysed and used to understand how life evolves in these regions. The interest is also focused on the foot of the glaciers. Additionally, there is particular interest is the location and nature of thermal zones where biological samples, rich in diversity, can be observed.
The difficulty of this task is mostly due to the instability of the GPS connection, which requires rigorous team work. (*) Yet the latest drone data acquisitions took place in good conditions and enabled us to obtain extremely rich image samples. I also have the role of co-coordinator of logistics on board. I took part in the complete organization of the voyage as well as the preparation of these 15 days of sailing in complete autonomy.