Adonis Diaries

Archive for June 22nd, 2011

Passage of the North Pole, among icebergs, and in family, on a ketch…

The French actress Geraldine Danon published her diary of an adventure, crossing the North Pole from East Canada to Alaska on an aluminum ketch named Fleur (Flower), with her four kids.  The French book is “Une Fleur dans les glaces” (A flower amid the ice).

Husband Philippe Poupon (Philou) is a professional mariner who sailed around the world ten times.  At the time of meeting Geraldine, Philou was building a 20-meters aluminum ketch that displaces 30 tons of water, and can hold 5,000 liters of gas, enough to travel 3,000 nautical miles without replenishing the tank.

The family planned the adventure for an entire year and on February the ketch “Fleur Austral” (Austral Flower) took to sea at the French seaport of La Rochelle for a 6-month sail.  The four kids, Nina (12 year-old), Loup (Wolf, 9), Laure (2), and the toddler Marion (9 months old) and the Jack Russel dog Betti were in the team of mariners.

The “Fleur” had to withstand the tumultuous Gulf of Gascogne to Lisbon (Capital of Portugal), on the Islands of Madera and Canaries, to Banc d’Arguin in Mauritania, to island Cap-Vert, the Antilles islands of Turks and Caicos, New York, Halifax (Canada), Nuuk (Capital of Groeland) and the other ports of Disko Bay, Ilulissat and Upernavik in Groeland, Kangamiut Bay, Resolute Bay, Gjoa Haven, Cambridge Bay, Pointe Barrow, Nome and Sand Point in Alaska, thus, reaching the Bering Straight.

The family had to hire several crew for the essential jobs of tying knots, droping anchor, and knowing how to steady the boat, and keeping watch… Philou adopted the “Tabarly method” of not interfering with the conflicts among the crew members; thus, keeping silent and letting things work out among the crew.

It was the period of short dark nights of only four hours as they crossed the passage among giant icebergs.  In the event the iced water closed in, the ketch would be trapped.  The closed-in environment for weeks on were trying for the kids; and the little Marion kept a high fever for days.

The Inuit tribes (translated as Human Being) have this custom of naming the newborn with the patronyms of those who passed away during the year.  For example, a girl could end up with a male name and be raised as a boy for a couple of years.  The Inuit are mostly hunters of whales.




June 2011

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