|Position:||78° 13.7’ N / 015° 36.1’ E|
From the plane we got a first glimpse of Spitsbergen’s impressive terrain of mountains and delta systems. At first glance, this seemed like a wild and inhabitable place, but as we were about to learn it is home to a lot of life. For many of us, Longyearbyen was our first stop, visiting the museum and the church or maybe shopping some extra warm clothes before leaving civilisation. Ready for adventure and exploration we got on board M/V Plancius, the ship that would be our home for the next nine days. We were greeted by our expedition leader, Christian, and our hotel manager, Zsuzsanna, and shown to our cabins with our luggage already waiting for us. Gathering in the observation lounge we were briefed about safety on board. The briefing was held by the Third Officer who was talking about ship safety and how to prepare for the worst. A general-alarm drill (seven short blasts followed by one long blast) was made, and we all took the SOLAS orange life jackets and mustered in the lounge guided by crew and staff. After a roll call to assure everyone was present, we went out on deck to have a look at the lifeboats as Plancius was navigating out of Adventfjorden. In the lounge Christian invited us for another briefing, now about life on board and introducing the expedition team ready to explore the wilderness with us. Zsuzsanna introduced us to the interiors of the ship, hotel operations and dining room where we would be served delicious food. Captain Alexey joined us in the end for a welcoming toast of sparkling wine or juice before we headed down to the dining room for our first scrumptious dinner prepared by Head Chef Ralf and his staff.