|Position:||78°13.7’ N, 015°56.2’ E|
With Hondius anchored in the fjord off the port in Longyearbyen, we began our adventure in fine expedition style with an exciting zodiac shuttle for guests and their luggage. Many guests explained they had been due to make this trip a couple of years ago, but unfortunately due to the covid pandemic it had to be rescheduled. So, you can imagine the excitement everyone was feeling to be finally starting this expedition after a long wait! Most of the luggage was already aboard when everyone donned a lifejacket and stepped carefully into the zodiac to be smoothly driven across the water and enter Hondius through the shell doors for the first time (but by no means the last!). After registering at reception we made our way to our cabins to settle in. Happily aboard and reunited with our luggage, Expedition Leader (EL) Florence and Chief Officer Matei commenced the mandatory ship safety briefing at 17:30pm, during which guests were shown how to put on life jackets and floatation suits, stored in cabins in the event of an emergency situation. As part of the briefing an abandon ship alarm was sounded - we all made our way to our muster stations, either in the Observation Lounge (station B) or Restaurant (station A). Once all guests had arrived wearing their lifejackets correctly, we proceeded to the lifeboat boarding area on deck 6. We were directed to our lifeboats and given further information by Second Officer Kirill Buriachek and Third Officer Don Buren, who would be the masters of these vessels in the (very unlikely) event of us having to use them. Afterwards, at 18:15pm, guests received a warm welcome and orientation briefing from our Hotel Manager William and EL Florence – an overview of life on board and how to access important information concerning our daily schedules. After a wonderful buffet dinner prepared by the galley staff it was time for the third and final briefing of the evening, a video presentation from AECO (the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators) which informs visitors about correct behaviour towards the environment, people and wildlife of the Arctic. Finally, after a long day of travel and lots of important information many of us headed to bed to be well rested for our first full day of expedition tomorrow.