|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 on the marina to board the Zodiacs that would take us to M/V Plancius, our comfortable floating home for the next eight days. Once onboard we made our way to reception where our Hotel Manager Andre and his assistant Katrin 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 Delphine our Expedition Leader, and right after, our Chief Mate Arthur and Third Officer Warren 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 on the deck, peering into lifeboats.
With all guests and their baggage onboard we departed shortly after 1800 and as we cruised into Isfjord we spotted several fulmars and Brunnich’s guillemots. As we sailed away we could see Longyearbyen getting smaller and disappearing into the distance. Our trip had started and there were all happy faces everywhere we looked.
Later on, our Hotel Manager Andre joined us in the lounge 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. Right after the rest of the expedition team were introduced and Captain Evgeny gave a toast to the success of our voyage.
Towards the end of dinner we heard an announcement saying there was a large whale breaching in front of the ship! We all dressed up and gathered on deck to witness such interesting display, especially for a large whale. As we approached closer we realized that this large whale was indeed a Blue Whale, the largest animal that ever lived on the Planet! And there was not only one, as minutes later there were two more blue whales showing up. What a great way to start a new adventure!
We went to bed hoping that it was tomorrow already…