Today’s writer: Johanne From the plane we got a first glimpse of Spitsbergen’s impressive mountain peaks though the clouds. At first glans, this seemed like a wild and inhabitable place, but as we were about to learn it is home to a lot of life. For many of us, Longyearbyen was our first stop, visiting the museum and the church or maybe shopping some extra warm clothes before leaving civilisation. We already needed our water proofs today and got a taste of the sea as we were shuttled in zodiacs to M/V Plancius, the ship that would be our home for the next 13 days. We got allocated our cabins where our luggage had already arrived. We were greeted by our expedition leader, Philipp, and hotel manager, Siggi, and showed to our cabins with our luggage already waiting for us. Gathering in the observation lounge we were briefed about safety on board. The briefing was held by the Chief Officer who was talking about ship safety and how to prepare for the worst. A general alarm-drill (seven short blasts followed by one long blast) was made, and we all took the SOLAS orange life jackets and mustered in the lounge guided by crew and staff. We went out on deck to have a look at the lifeboats as Plancius was navigating out of Adventfjorden. In the lounge Philipp invited us for another briefing, now about life on board and introducing the expedition team ready to explore the wilderness with us. Siggi introduced us to the interiors of the ship, hotel operations and dining room where we would be served delicious food. Captain Artur joined us in the end for a welcoming toast of sparkling wine or juice before we headed down to the dining room for our first delightful dinner prepared by Head Chef Heinz and his kitchen team. After dinner, the staff called us to get our rubber boots which we will use when disembarking from the Zodiacs during this voyage. We were now already out at sea and we could feel the swell and waves, a proper welcome to our adventure onboard Plancius.