When we arrived at the quayside in Longyearbyen, our adventure began immediately with a Zodiac ride! Hondius, our transport and home for the next seven days, was sitting out at anchor in the fjord. In beautiful sunshine, we donned our lifejackets for the first time for the short but exciting transfer to the ship. We were greeted by the enthusiastic staff and shown to our cabins.
Once settled in, we gathered in the observation lounge for a mandatory safety drill from our Chief Officer, Matei. This included an evacuation exercise ending next to our designated lifeboat station. We then had an initial briefing from the Deputy Hotel Manager, Alfredo, before our Expedition Team Leader, Sara, invited her multi-talented team to introduce themselves to us. Sara then gave us an outline of the cruise schedule and some key safety rules. She also gave us more details on the next day’s activities, including timings (Plan A) and expected weather. Then it was down to the dining room for our first taste of the excellent food on board and to meet some of our fellow travelers and members of the expedition team, who joined us for dinner. There was no stopping even after that, as we made our way down to Deck 3 to be fitted for our essential muck boots. Finally we made our way to bed, tired but excited. Our adventure had begun!