Northward ho! Having been picked up at the station in Vlissingen we reached the harbour after a bus trip through the Dutch countryside. We found our ship Ortelius alongside the pier with the other Oceanwide ship Plancius nearby in the dry dock. From around 4pm, boarding Ortelius started, and we were soon checked in by our Hotel Manager and his assistant, Sebastian and Lilian. Our luggage had already found its way into our cabins, so we had some free time to get unpacked and settle in. Shortly afterwards we gathered in the Lecture Room to be welcomed by the Hotel Manager but also to attend the mandatory safety briefing followed by a safety drill. Wearing our big orange lifejackets we mustered in the Bar and proceeded to the top deck for a look into the lifeboats. Our journey and, for that matter, Ortelius’ Arctic season began with the mandatory calibration of the ship’s magnetic compass. Soon after having done the necessary circles we were under way towards out first destination, Aberdeen, heading out of the harbour, passing the beaches of Vlissingen and sailing out into the North Sea. The birdwatchers had taken position at the bow and were collecting the first observations.