It was a lovely sunny day for the start of our voyage and after a day exploring Longyearbyen we made our way to the Plancius, which was moored at the coal pier just outside town.
We were met at the gangway by members of the Expedition team and shown to our cabins by the hotel staff. After settling into our cabins, we were invited to the Lounge for the mandatory safety briefing from our First Officer Maikel. This outlined procedure in the event of an emergency on board. We had an abandon ship drill and donned our big orange lifejackets as we gathered in the lounge before making our way to the lifeboats.
Shortly after the drill, we watched the mooring lines being cast off and we were on our way on our Svalbard adventure! How exciting! It was a calm evening as we sailed out into Isfjord and we hoped this weather would be with us for the next 9 days.
It was then time to reconvene once again and this was a chance to meet and toast our voyage with our Captain and also meet members of the Expedition team, the guides who would be taking us ashore in the coming days.
Dinner was served and we got to meet some of our fellow travellers who would be sharing this voyage to Greenland. As we began our navigation out of Isfjord there was a call over the PA system that a polar bear had been seen along the shore near the beautiful peak of Alkhornet. It was quite hard to see as it then went into the water and began swimming but with binoculars and help from the expedition team we were able to get a glimpse of this top predator of the Arctic. What a great start to our trip!
After dinner the last task of the day was to collect our rubber boots ready for the landings we would be doing in the days ahead. What a long but exciting day!