Weather: cloudy and windy
The first day at sea was characterized by two natural elements: wind and swell. It started just after leaving Tromso and the protected area of the fjords in northern Norway. During the day the conditions became better, giving a good chance that the weather tomorrow when we do our first Zodiac tour will be a nice sunny arctic day.
The morning started late for our guests with a lecture by our onboard photographer Kristine Hannon with the significant title “Getting Started”. She was giving compositional and technical advice to our guests before they really get started tomorrow on Bear Island.
Approximately eight guests joined the wine tasting session with our Head Sommelier Maurice in the Panorama Lounge.
Today’s lunch was shared with two very nice couples from Australia. They were flying all the long way from their home country to see the fascinating nature on the other side of the earth. Lunch was, as always, very delicious. One of the Australian gentlemen enjoyed the dessert having Macadamia nuts with chocolate. Very proudly he told me afterwards that Macadamia nuts originally come from Australia.
At 14.00 hours Expedition Leader Robin West presented the mandatory AECO briefing and the general briefing for the Svalbard part of this cruise, explaining to our guests where and when we will go the next 7 days, as well as the briefing for tomorrow for the first Zodiac tour on Bear Island.
An interesting lecture filled out the rest of the afternoon on board the Prince Albert II. My colleague and onboard geologist Juan Carlos Restrepo was talking about “Earth What Lies Below”. A “Geology 101” lecture to introduce you to the basic terminology and concepts needed to understand the geological features of the places that we will explore. It was an excellent preparation for our next day excursion that will take us to the southern cliffs of Bear Island and its wonderful geological characteristics.
Nearly the whole afternoon my colleague and onboard naturalist Chris Srigley was on whale-watching duty at the Bridge because the area around Bear Island is known for its frequent observations of dolphins and humpback whales. Unfortunately, Chris didn’t observe any whales this afternoon. But like always up here in the arctic, Northern Fulmars were accompanying the vessel and it was interesting to watch them gliding over the sea surface.
In the evening Captain Alexander Golubev gave his Welcome Cocktail Party and afterwards a delicious welcome dinner was served to our guests in The Restaurant.