|Position:||78°14.0’N / 015°37.0’E|
Longyearbyen! Spitsbergen! Greenland! 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 two weeks: m/v Plancius. Our adventures began quite quickly as our first experience would be transporting to the ship via zodiac! We had anticipated this way of travel as part of expedition excursions, but it was a very exciting way to first come on-board. We were greeted by the expedition team at the pier, the staff and crew had already taken care of our big luggage, and at 16.00 hrs it was time for us to make the first steps up the gangway.
Once on board, Hotel Manager André and his assistant Dejan welcomed 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 until all passengers were on-board. Once the manifest was complete we hauled the anchor and headed out to sea for our future days of excursions exploring this great landscape we are on our way!
Soon we were gathered in the Observation Lounge to be briefed about safety and life on board the ship. Our Expedition Leader Andrew Bishop welcomed us yet again and we engaged in a short yet informative briefing by First Officer Jaanus on ship safety and how to prepare for the worst. André introduced us to the layout of the ship and to hotel operations.
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 welcoming toast of champagne or juice. We came to know the members of our expedition team and were introduced to tomorrow’s plans by Andrew. We soon headed down to the Dining Room for our first scrumptious dinner prepared by Chef Ralf and his staff.
The evening light was delightful, 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!