|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 with boarding our comfortable floating home for the next seven days – the M/V Plancius at the pier in Longyearbyen. Some of us were missing their luggage. It was stuck in Oslo and was planned to arrive at around midnight with the next flight. 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 Andrew. 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 Jaanus 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 made our way deeper into Isfjord to the north-northeast. We cruised into Billefjorden and on into Skansbukta, while having our first delicious dinner in the dining room.
As we arrived in Skansbukta, we had a chance to enjoy the beautiful scenery of this marvelous place with all its glaciers, tundra, reindeer, some sea ice and the old remains of former coal mining activities. At about 21:30, Andrew called us to the Lounge where Captain Alexey gave a toast to the success of our voyage.
Thereafter, we slowly made our way back west towards Longyearbyen to pick up the missing luggage at midnight, after receiving the good news from the airline that the luggage is on its way to Spitsbergen. We watched the plane fly into Longyearbyen. Two guides immediately jumped into two zodiacs to make their way ashore. The luggage arrived at the pier, we loaded it into the boats and brought it directly to the ship, where it was lifted onto deck with the crane. While distributing it to the cabins and making several people happy, we headed straight out west along Isfjorden to make our way towards Krossfjord, where we planned on landing the next day.