|Position:||78°14.2’ N / 015°35.6’ E|
We gathered from all points on the globe on a beautiful sunny summer day in Longyearbyen, capital (and only real population centre) of Svalbard. The rugged hills around were striped with snow, but the sun heated the rock, and the day was warm. Once off our flights, we were dropped in town and explored the small settlement or went bird watching. From four o'clock, we began boarding the ship, which was our first adventure - we were transferred to the Plancius using the black rubber Zodiac boats that would become so familiar. Once on board, we settled in to our cabins, and later found our way to the Observation Lounge. Once we had all gathered, Chief Officer Janus presented the mandatory safety briefing to show us how to use the big orange lifejackets and how to muster in case of emergency. The briefing was immediately followed by a safety drill, to ensure we knew how to muster in the Lounge, then we were shown how we would go to the lifeboats if ordered to by the Captain.
Following the drill, we were again invited to the Lounge. Our Hotel Manager Sebastian helped us settle in with more information about how the ship works, and Captain Alexey spoke a few words of welcome and proposed a toast to our voyage. We lifted the anchor and sailed from Longyearbyen, through Isfjord and towards open water along the West coast of Spitsbergen just before seven in the evening. Michael, our Expedition Leader, introduced the Expedition Team, and after a few helpful hints from our ship Doctor, we went to the dining room for our first meal on board. There, we sat at tables of six and more, making new friends and wondering what would come in the days ahead.
After dinner, we were called, deck by deck, to the Boot Room, where we selected a pair of rubber boots to use for our landings while on board the Plancius. Finally, tired from the travel, we retired to our cabins to rest and get ready for our first full day of our adventure.