The passive igloo provides logistical support, a base camp
and floating laboratory for researchers motivated by an interest
in research in the Arctic regions, whether for scientific
stays in otherwise inaccessible places, navigation or during
the the winter, when the boat is caught in the ice.
Visit of otherwise unreachable places, ideal logistical support
for Arctic research (photo Alain Berthoud)
An inventory of scientific projects carried out since 2015
is now available on this page ...
Wintercamp in Fjordcamp
(October 29, 2018)
The season is coming to an end.
After a short autumn cruise, Nanuq has arrived in her winter
camp in the dazzling Vesteralen, not far from the Lofoten
Islands. The first ice covers the fjords, the sky is clear
and while the low sun still warms at noon, the nights are
crisp with temperatures close to -10 °C.
Moonrise in Vesteralen (photo Peter Gallinelli)
We are warmly welcomed in Fjordcamp
where our place is reserved to spend the winter. The site
is well organized with cozy cottages and hot showers. The
reception is very warm. We are surprised to see no visitors
in this fantastic season of colors and change.
Fjordcamp seen from the hill above the fjord
(photo Peter Gallinelli)
After five days of setteled weather and sunshine, it is snowing.
Nanuq is waiting for the adventures and projects to come.
She is counting on you!
Nanuq ready for winter in fjordcamp.no (photo
Nanuq is waiting for next seasons projects to come. If you
would like to join the adventure, get invoved > contact.
find out more...
Keep in touch, Peter
The passive igloo,
explications (October 08, 2018)
Images: Peter Gallinelli, Kalle Schmidt, Dorothée
Adam Réalisation: Dorothée Adam
CERN photo exhibition
(September 21, 2018)
Nanuq en route, expedition
2018 (August 20, 2018)
Dear Nanuq friends, the english part of the news are not
available. Please come back later or have a look at the french
This work made it possible to realize the magnitude of the
problem. In 2018 Nanuq will take samples all along the way,
from Iceland to Svalbard. Follow the adventure on PolarQuest2018
and bring your SUPPORT.
The passive igloo project - expedition
report (October 24, 2017)
Feedback from an Arctic winter in a self-sufficient passive
Designed according to the principles of the passive building,
the passive igloo project has shown that active heating
is not necessary in temperate climates such as central Europe
and could reduce heating energy in Arctic housing by 10.
But the project also goes beyond the issue of energy self-sufficiency
and addresses complementary aspects that are no less vital
such as food, water or waste management.
Thus, the passive igloo project becomes a complete
laboratory of autonomy and is likely to give inspiration to
housing design and expedition planning in remote and cold
Qeqertat : fuel for one family for one year
(photo Peter Gallinelli)
Meetings of the North
(September 25, 2017)
naturelle de Genève
Tuesday October 10, 2017 at 08:15 pm
The conference will be held in french:
Une conférence qui traite de la (sur-) vie dans
le Grand Nord.
Parti vivre avec son fils pendant une année
sur son voilier pris dans la glace au nord du Groenland,
Peter Gallinelli raconte les aventures vécues
dans un milieu à la fois hostile et miraculeusement
vivant, la nuit, le froid, les rencontres... mais aussi
les effets du réchauffement climatique et d’une
En 2e partie un diaporama réalisé par
Michel Jaussi à Kangerlussuak, Ilulissat, Upernavik
Continuing the scientific projects and partnerships launched
since 2015, summer 2017 was the occasion of a micro-plastic
sampling campaign using the Manta trawl which is now part
of the Nanuq inventory. The abundance of ice, plankton and
jellyfish made it difficult to collect samples. However, observations
were made throughout the voyage, ranging from the West to
East-coast of Greenland.
Manta trawl in operation (Photo Ruben Gaspard)
They testify to an alarming observation: without even entering
the analysis in a laboratory, debris of all kinds are visible
to the naked eye. The predominant origin seems to be debris
from plastic bags and fibres from fishing gear. The crew who
participated with great interest is shocked; finally we sail
in arctic waters, known to be among the most preserved on
the planet. We look forward to laboratory analysis. To be
After leaving the coast of Blosseville and a shaky crossing,
we reach the north-west coast of Iceland, at only 180 miles
distance. We discover a country whose sweetness and abundance
of life contrast with the mineral, glacial and forbidden coast
that we have left a day ago. We are exploring the NW-fjords.
Blosseville coast; the guardian of Kap Vedel - warm and green
Iceland (Photos : Dolores Gonzalez)
At a temperature of 10°C the water is warm. The weather
is calm. The volcanic mountains are covered with vegetation
and even bushes. Blueberries are abundant. The mussels are
excellent. We alternate between sailing in settled weather
and hiking along the paths that linked the isolated farms
that are now more and more invaded by swamps and have returned
to the wild. The decor is grand and immense. A one-hour walk
easily transforms into a one-day hike ending at the glow of
our head lights.
The contrast makes Greenland appear like a mirage or a crazy
dream. But the satisfaction and the images imbued in our memories
testify to the reality of the weeks spent sailing along one
of the wildest coasts of the northern hemisphere. We'll have
to come back!
As by now, Nanuq is awaiting the new adventures to come under
the benevolent gaze of the inhabitants and the gusts of a
gale that sweeps the small town of Isafjordur. The sky is
low and it rains horizontal. In a few hours the little twin-engine
will fly us home to civilization, 'imaqa'; which does not
mean perhaps, but certainly - conditions permitting ... the
loop is closed.
Leg 10 : Maniitsoq - Narsarssuaq : SW coast
Leg 11 : Narsarssuaq - à Kulusuk : SE coast
Leg 12 : Kulusuk - Isafjordur : Blosseville coast
Total : 2200 nautical miles (4000 km)
Leg 12 - the mineral
coast (August 18, 2017)
Traces de 'nanoq' (Photo Ruben Gaspar)
The new crew is embarked and we do not lose a minute to cast
off. The weather forecast for the coming days is excellent
and we have promising ice information (see the DMI
We will have do deal with it; this year the ice is late and
benches stretch 60 miles from the coast, barring the direct
route to Kangerdlugssuaq, a big fjord that marks the coast
halfway between Tasiilaq and Scoresby Sund.
Ice chart for August; in the center Ammassalik region; concentrations
in tenths at the top of the 'eggs'; we avoid concentrations
above 4/10 (source DMI)
A 250-mile leg allows us eventually to get around it and
enter Kagerdlugssuaq under a fairy-tale morning mist. We use
the day for explorations and visits, including the very active
geologists' camp. This place, which seemed so abandoned in
the past, has become a sought after spot, all proportion held:
six scientists spend the summer there and a few sporadic visitors.
Ice front, ice cap in Kangerdlugssuaq (photo
After an incursion into the immense and ice encumbered fjord,
we follow the Blosseville coast. Wild at will, the vertical
headlands of dark volcanic rock named to well-known Arctic
explorers are interspersed with unnamed valleys filled with
ice and glaciers. The summits of Greenland hide in the fog.
We were advised: this is one of the wildest stretches of coast
in Greenland, most of the time inaccessible due to weather
and ice. The maps resemble schemes at most or simply don't
exist. The sailing instructions summarize the 500 km of coast
into one laconic paragraph. Once again, satellite photos are
the most reliable back-up.
Blosseville coast; dark, wild and inaccessible
(Photo Dolores Gonzalez)
This coast is discovered at random and driven by curiosity.
It makes us discover a perfect anchorage at the foot of a
beach of black sand, sheltered from the swell. We are not
alone; the traces of a polar bear witness. A last stop in
the area dedicated to Swiss explorers, such as Grivel, Savary,
Daussy ... and here we are, sailing to Iceland at two degrees
of latitude further south, at the tangent of the Arctic Circle.
Leg 11 - the ice coast
(July 30, 2017)
Cathédrales de glace à l'approche de la région
Ammassalik (Photo : Lisa Gallinelli)
We are in Narsaq to provision food, taste the excellent products
of the local brewery with the evocative name of QAYAQ, bask
in the hot shower of the hotel and do a laundry in view of
the weeks to come. We are also still waiting for our replacement
dagger board, whose transport from Europe has been delayed
due to the collision of the cargo vessel with an iceberg that
has shaken up all the logistics to Greenland.
While our shipping company is doing the impossible to find
a solution, we take advantage of the week to explore the fjords
and discover the farms, experimental for some, that characterize
On July 30 we finally take delivery of the long awaited dagger
board! Nanuq is ready for the coming weeks, cut off from civilization.
We cast of from Qaqortoq, heading to the South and the East
Prins Christian Sund; beginning of August,
still plenty of ice (photos Lisa Gallinelli)
A day sailing takes us to Prins Christian Sund. Our patience
is rewarded: the conditions are optimal after the passage
of the last low pressure system provoking heavy gusts gushing
through the fjords.
Renowned for its beauty, Alpine peaks mark this 50-mile strait
that cuts short to the southern tip of Greenland, famous for
its gales, ice and currents. We are preceded by a Norwegian
sailboat that it is quickly blocked by a bench of ice for
which its polyester hull proves to be unsuitable. Thus Nanuq
opens the way and soon we feel the swell of the open sea,
a sign that the way to the East is open.
We make a last call to Aasiaat Radio which has accompanying
us since 2015 before heading north along a coast that we discover.
For nearly a week we huddle along this piece of inhospitable,
wild and glacial coast that has long since been abandoned
by its inhabitants. Only a few remains remind of human presence,
such as a Loran station (long range radio navigation system
from the sixties, more info here)
or the ruins of a disused village.
Another planet (Photo Lisa Gallinelli)
The weather is calm, with close to no wind and the sky is
imperturbably clear. We sail northward to the Ammassalik region.
The remains of more and more abundant sea ice make us progress
at a slow pace, at times wrapped in a thick mist that only
lets us see a few meters in front of the bow, making any strategy
useless. At times we find ourselves opening our way by pushing
ice sheets and pieces of old ice. The AIS (Automatic Identification
System) unveils other boats visiting the region that has become
a destination of choice for visitors from Iceland ... and
are blocked as well.
Isortoq, the first inhabited place of
the Ammasalik region, coming from the south (Photo Dolores
Nanuq is now on her anchor in front of the small village
of Kulusuk, three kilometres from the international airport,
well, a simple dirt track used by the small two-engine Dash
of Air Iceland and Airgreenland, conditions permitting. While
waiting for the new crew, we catch up with our friends from
our last visit in 2003.
Leg 10 - let's go (July
Nanuq on her way back to the sea after a long and cold winter
in Maniitsoq. Her hull design snugly fits into the local fishing
After an adventurous voyage from Europe to Greenland due
to chaos in the European airspace, we eventually arrive in
Maniitsoq where Nanuq is awaiting us for the season to come.
Our friends in Maniitsoq have arranged maintenance and repairs
and after a short week of preparations we are ready to cast
off for the summer 2017 expedition.
We have now left Maniitsoq two weeks ago, and Greenlandic
summer has not yet begun. Numerous snow patches can still
be observed at sea level and low pressure systems regularly
move northwards over Baffin Bay giving us southerly gales.
We often experience stratus and rain. But Greenland is ever
more beautiful. There is no bad weather, but only bad clothes.
After a weeks sailing we ty up at Narsaq, in time to welcome
Dorothée and Frédéric to start the scientific
programme. We collect micro plastics and samples to analyse
traces of PCBs in the water and the atmosphere. Ifremer and
Oceaneye will take care of analysis once back home.
in Greenland (credits Lisa Gallinelli)
We revisit places we saw on our way in 2015 and discover
new ones. Dorothée takes care of documenting our encounter
with the wilderness and how we manage navigation and everyday
life on board with simplicity and self-reliance. Every day
is completely different and life on board seems timeless.
The last day of sailing to the head of Sermilik (fjord full
of ice) makes us discover an amazing farm. Besides 800 heads
of sheep, they grow potatoes and beet, also known as the apple
of Greenland. We receive a warm welcome and are invited to
share dinner with the family and workers in the amazingly
modern farmhouse. In return, we invite our hosts for a visit
on board and share our experience. While we prepare to leave,
an UAV drone is sent to say good bye - amazing Greenland!
Nanuq by Dorothée Adam (c) 2017
At present Nanuq is moored in a spectacular fjord situated
at a couple of miles distance south of the small settlement
of Qassiarssut, also knows as Erik den Roedes village, who
settled there when he was banned from Iceland in the ninth
century. The surroundings are alpine and steep. Snow covered
mountains raise from sea level to almost 2000 metres altitude.
The sheltered places at the bottom of the valley accommodate
a dense arctic forest with arctic birch and shrubs. This surprisingly
rich vegetation might be le last to be seen before sailing
to the wild and icy East coast in a couple of days.
To be continued...
Quest 2018 takes shape (June 1, 2017)
Preview for a new season that is shaping
up to 2018. PolarQuest with a consortium of scientists
will embark for the Svalbard archipelago and much more
... keep in touch.
The departure from Maniitsoq is approaching
at a great pace; The summer 2017 will see us pass Cap
Farvel, sail up the East coast for a stopover in Tasiilaq
before the crossing for Iceland.
Boat and crew are ready. The equipment and spare parts
are already sent to Greenland; After 3 years in the
north and 3 Arctic winters there is a little maintenance
on the program.
We look forward to be on board of Nanuq, Greenland,
the summer cool of the Arctic and our Friends.
See you soon, for new adventures to come.
conference - hepia on April 25 (April 25, 2017)
Dialogue 35 - Adventure
Peter Gallinelli will present the passive igloo project
as well as the adventures aboard Nanuq, ranging from
exciting navigation through the northern seas to an
epic winter on the frigid coast of Greenland. What was
the climate, how to cope with the cold, must one be
crazy to set up such a project ... questions to which
you will find answers in sound and images.
conference - CERN on February 16 (February 06, 2017)
cliquez pour zoomer
"Peter Gallinelli will present
the passive igloo project as well as the adventures
on board of Nanuq ranging from an exciting sailing through
northern seas to an epic winter on icy Groenland shores.
Please come with your enthusiasm and questions for Peter.
The conference will be followed up in the cafeteria
for those of you who would like to learn more, specially
on how to join as a crew on board of Nanuk."
When: Februar 18 @ 18h30 (30 required for access formalities)
Brought to you by the CERN Yachting Club
kiosks (February 4, 2017)
The Yacht magazine publishes a great
report on the passive igloo: yacht.de
"Am Ende sagt Peter Gallinelli, allein im
Eis zu sein, auf 77 Grad Nord, ganz auf sich gestellt,
das sei eines der "coolsten Gefühle überhaupt".
Was aber genau treibt einen normalen Menschen dazu an,
sich einer solchen Herausforderung zu stellen? Und wie
muss ein Schiff beschaffen sein, damit es als Behausung,
als Zuflucht auch dann noch taugt, wenn es das Eis von
allen Seiten zu zerquetschen droht?" Pascal Schürmann
365 days, 40 ° C, 5000km ... a world separates us from
Qeqertat. We look back to a year of exceptional adventures,
discoveries and encounters and forward into a promising year
ahead: the Nanuq crew wishes all of you a happy new year and
exiting projects to come and to share.
Qeqertat : gathering for new years eve - one year ago (photo
During these festive periods, we have a special thought for
our Greenlandic friends experiencing an unprecedented heat
wave. The analysis is without appeal: + 10°C for the high
Arctic as compared to the reference period (1951-1980).
Temperature anomaly, November 2016 Source: NASA
While in the 80s it still became 2-3 meters thick, in December
the pack ice is not yet formed! The great fjord of Inglefield
Bredning, which can usually be used for dog-sledging by mid-November,
is still open ('Abend vand'): Christmas visits, fishing and
hunting of a still nomadic people are compromised ... never
Open Water in Inglefield Bredning, December 2016 Source :
2017 available (December 20, 2016)
Soon 2017. A draft of the agenda 2017 is available at this
(November 30, 2016)
We have just learned that Janusz Kurbiel, 'captain' of the
Vagabond'elle, has departed by surprise on August 22, only
a few days after a moment of friendship at the head of a fjord
on the west coast of Greenland. More than elsewhere, in the
great north life and death are close to each other and remind
us at every moment of the ephemeral nature of life. This is
the price of freedom. But isn't a privilege to leave in peace
in one of the most beautiful settings in the world? Bon voyage,