|Position:||78°14.1’ N/ 015°38.3’E|
Since Longyearbyen’s foundation as a coal mining settlement in 1906 by John Munro Longyear, it has been the starting point for many historic and pioneering expeditions
Our adventure began as we gathered in the rain at the floating dock to wait for an exciting Zodiac ride to M/V Plancius, our comfortable floating home for the next seven days. Once onboard we made our way to reception where our Hotel Manager Andre and his assistant Heidi greeted us and the hotel staff showed us to our cabins.
Once everyone was confirmed to be onboard we gathered in the lounge to be welcomed by Brent our Expedition Leader and his assistant and trustworthy translator Christian. Andre soon joined us and gave a quick talk to describe the layout of the ship and inform us of all the interesting things we would need to know for our stay aboard. The most import was of course the location of the coffee and hot chocolate machine.
Our Chief Mate Janus presented a mandatory safety briefing before the lifeboat drill which provided an opportunity for dressing up and getting to know each other as we huddled together like orange-breasted sea birds on the deck, peering into lifeboats.
With all guests, their baggage and the Pilot safely on board, we departed shortly after 1800 and as we cruised into Isfjord we spotted several fulmars, black guillemots an Arctic skua and even our first Atlantic puffin!
After a short while we returned to the Lounge where the rest of the expedition team were introduced and Captain Alexey gave a toast to the success of our voyage.
Before we were called to dinner it was advised that we take necessary precautions against sea sickness as the conditions were forecast to become a bit rougher as we sailed out of Isfjord and into open seas on our journey north. This proved sage advice and despite best intentions, several of us decided it would be more advisable to leave dinner early.
A few hardy souls braved the conditions and remained up in the bar for a while longer before retiring to their cabins to get some sleep prior to tomorrow’s activities.