|Position:||78°13.8’N / 015°36.1’E|
Longyearbyen! Spitsbergen! The Arctic! – While some of us had just arrived from the airport, others had had a few hours or even days to explore the archipelago’s small main city. All of us were very excited to finally make our way to the pier and to our home for the next week or so: m/v Plancius. We were greeted by the expedition team which took care of our big luggage, and at 1600 hrs it was time for us to make the first steps up the gangway. Once on board, Hotel Manager André wel-comed us, and with the help of the hotel team we were shown to our cabins. We used the time to wander around and get acquainted with the ship.
Soon we were for the first time gathered in the Observation Lounge to be briefed about safety, and life on board the ship. André introduced us to the layout of the ship and to hotel operations. We were also briefed by First Officer Jaanus on ship safety and how to prepare for the worst. Afterwards, we rushed outside to see Plancius leave the pier – we were on our way!
A drill of the General Alarm (seven short blasts followed by one long blast) was made, and we all went to our cabins, put on warm clothing, grabbed the huge orange life jackets and mustered in the Lounge guided by crew and staff. It was made sure everyone was present, and upon hearing the Abandon Ship Alarm followed by an announcement of the Captain we went out to the lifeboats hoping to never actually have to use them.
We returned to our cabins briefly before regrouping with Captain Alexey in the lounge for a wel-coming toast of champagne or juice. We got to know the members of our expedition team and were introduced to tomorrow’s plans by Expedition Leader Andrew. Then we headed down to the Dining Room for our first scrumptious dinner prepared by Chef Ralf and his staff.
Fog had moved in, the waters were calm, and only a slight swell was felt when we made our way out of Isfjorden and towards the North. Many of us were a bit tired after a long day of traveling. Thus Plancius’ gently rocking us to sleep was very welcome!