Day 2 |
Jul 17, 2013

At sea, en route to Bear Island, Norway

By Christian Walter, Historian

Co-ordinates: 72° 16’ 19” N, 28° 15’ 22” E (noon position)
Weather: Partly Cloudy
Air Temperature: 7° C
Pressure: 1009 hPa
Wind: 16 kmh

A day at sea means that I can sleep in (or at least a little longer) and have a leisurely breakfast. I woke up at 6:30 a.m. to what appeared to be a “White Christmas”- the light coming in through the portholes illuminated our suite in such a way that it looked as if there was snow outside. At second glance, it was just an optical illusion. The sky was partly cloudy and we were making good speed on our way to Bear Island.

During breakfast we discussed the plans for today: lectures, briefings, gumboot-distribution, and an evening cocktail-reception that Captain Adam would host to welcome our guests.

At 10:00 a.m. I gave my first lecture in German about Fridtjof Nansen and his very interesting career as a sportsman, scientist, explorer, writer, and diplomat. Peter also gave a similar lecture in English. We were followed by Richard Sidey, our very talented photographer from New Zealand, who demonstrated how to take better pictures.

During lunch I sat with a Swiss family and we talked about Norwegian museums, and the things to come during our time in Svalbard.

The AECO-briefing came next. As would be the case for the rest of the voyage, the German-speakers convened in the Observation Lounge and I gave the AECO-briefing, Zodiac-briefing and the briefing for our visit to Bear Island. Gumboots were then handed out to the guests as we were surely going to have wet landings on this voyage.

During tea-time in the Panorama Lounge, Juan conducted “Team Trivia” with about 20 guests. After three teams had the same number of correct answers, Juan asked a Geology question about Gondwana-Land for the tie-breaker. During trivia, guests also caught a glimpse of Atlantic White-sided Dolphins that swam close to Silver Explorer.

Uli, our German marine biologist, left early, as he had to prepare the Observation Lounge for his lecture, which centered on his dives in the North Atlantic (Orkney Islands, Norway and Svalbard), and the creatures encountered in cold waters.

There was hardly a moment to rest today as there was always something happening. Guests even took advantage of a bridge tour and asked about the intricacies of taking a ship into the ice.

In the evening, Captain Adam invited all Silver Explorer guests to his Welcome Cocktail Party and promised an interesting voyage to this remote and pristine area in the high arctic. The “Captain’s Welcome Dinner” followed immediately after, and many conversations centered on the probable ice-conditions and what kind of wildlife-sightings we would have. Everyone went to bed excited for what tomorrow would bring at Bear Island.